Kelsea's Reviews > Loveboat, Taipei

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed, arc, favorites, ya-romcom

It's hard to know where to start with this review - I usually have the hardest time reviewing books I love (knowing I'll never do them full justice), but I'm going to try my best. Because I need to convince EVERYONE to read this book! Yes, that means you.

I'm going to go with a totally cliche line, but it's so so true. This book made me feel seen. Growing up, I never thought about the lack of Chinese American characters in books... until I read my first Amy Tan novel. And still, every time I read a book with a Chinese American main character, I'm reminded once again of that moment. That realization. Oh, there others who share my experiences. There are others out there like me.

Loveboat, Taipei made me tear up for many reasons, but especially for the personal cultural connection. There were things in the story - little things - that made me realize _____ is actually a cultural thing, not just a quirk of my family. It was shocking to realize that I honestly don't know whether a lot of things my family does are "Chinese" things or "my family" things.

I read Loveboat, Taipei over Thanksgiving weekend, while I was visiting my family. My mom is from Taiwan, so of course I talked her ear off about the book. Those conversations actually led to her telling me more about her childhood. I told her the premise of the story and she told me her best friend from college had gone to one of these programs and came back with a boyfriend! I'm forever grateful to Abigail Hing Wen for writing a book that sparked those conversations. Conversations that allowed my mom to reminisce and me to listen and learn.

I should add that my parents weren't nearly as strict as Ever's parents, but I had Chinese friends whose parents were. I thought that aspect was written really well, with a lot of compassion for both sides (teen and parent). I love how that element played out.

And beyond all of the personal cultural connections for me (that won't be relevant to a lot of readers), this story is just plain fantastic. Romcoms are really far from my usual genre choices and I tend not to enjoy romance plots or subplots in general. I accepted this book from Epic Reads because it's an #ownvoices story set in Taiwan, but I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the romcom aspects. Wow, was I wrong!

This romcom is anything but frivolous. It's ridiculously fun, but it also touches upon a LOT of powerful themes. True to the genre, the book doesn't really dive into "gritty" issues (nothing on screen), but they are deeply emotional and relatable themes. I'm in awe of the author for balancing entertainment and depth so, so well. It's fun and important. That is HARD to do.

I think the only thing I wish there'd been more of is local Taiwan. I wanted to experience the city more. But I also understand that this is just my personal desire because of my own family's background and that this book was SO packed that it would be hard to add in much else.

Anyway, as with most reviews I've written about books I love, this review is all over the place. It's just hard to figure out what to put in specifically without listing every single element and telling you how well done it was. Instead of a big list, I'll sum it up for you: this book is compassionate, entertaining, powerful, and phenomenal and you need to read it!

It's out January 7, 2020, and I highly recommend pre-ordering!
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Reading Progress

October 11, 2019 – Shelved
October 11, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
November 28, 2019 – Started Reading
November 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
December 3, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed
December 7, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
December 7, 2019 – Shelved as: favorites
February 15, 2020 – Shelved as: ya-romcom

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Nursebookie Kelsea what an amazing review

Nursebookie As a Taiwanese American I was waiting for something like this my whole life 😍😍🥰🥰

Kelsea Nursebookie wrote: "As a Taiwanese American I was waiting for something like this my whole life 😍😍🥰🥰"

Awww thank you so, so much!! <3 Oh my gosh, YES. This is the book so many of us have dreamt of having in our lives! Have you read The Astonishing Color of After? It's another one you might be interested in!

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