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by Justina Chen Headley


School Library Journal:

Gr 9 Up –This novel is a mostly successful exploration of teen “hapa” (half white, half Asian ) life and the struggles unique to those who live between two distinct cultures. High school sophomore Patty Ho feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere: in her family, she is a distant second to her older brother; she sometimes feels out of place among her white friends; and she is decidedly concerned about fitting in at the math camp that she’s getting ready to attend. When she arrives at Stanford University, however, Patty starts to see her situation a bit differently. The good-looking Asian boy she meets on the first day just might meet her strict mother’s approval, and her new roommate is someone who, Patty notes, “breaks all the rules.” Just when she’s starting to enjoy math camp, her domineering mother arrives and, convinced that Patty is spending more time having fun than studying, threatens to bring her home. There are some funny and thoughtful moments in the narrative as the teen undergoes significant changes in her feelings about herself and her family. The first 75 pages set up her situation at home and at school; they are both funny and telling. However, some readers might be disappointed because they can’t see Patty back in her “real world,” and how her life has changed. In spite of these drawbacks, Headley’s voice is a new and much-needed one that shows great promise.–Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston –Amy S. Pattee (Reviewed July 1, 2006) (School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 7, p104)


  • Asian  Pacific American Award for Literature: Young Adult Literature
  • Humor Me: Funny, Fantastic and Witty Reads (2014)
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: What Makes a Family? (2008)


10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 9th Grade, Identity, Mixed Race, Teen