A novel about a Chinese-American teen who is thrust into the world of Beijing high society when she is sent away to spend the summer in China.
Iris Wang is having a bit of a rough start to her summer. In an attempt to snap her out of her funk, Iris’s parents send her away to visit family in Beijing, with the hopes that Iris will “reconnect with her culture” and “find herself.” Iris resents her parents’ high-handedness, but even she admits that this might be a good opportunity to hit the reset button.
Iris expects to eat a few dumplings, meet some of her family, and visit a tourist hotspot or two. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a handsome Mandarin-language tutor named Frank and to be swept up in the ridiculous, opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite, leading her to unexpected and extraordinary discoveries about her family, her future, and herself.
*Release Date: June 2nd, 2020*
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. Thank you to Simon Pulse for the opportunity!*
This book had the makings of being a very fun and heartwarming coming of age story, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Not much happens in this book. There wasn’t much of a plot and our main character’s arc was virtually nonexistent. As someone who tends to enjoy characters that a lot of people find unlikeable, I was surprised by how hard it was for me to get on board with Iris Wang. Iris is spoiled, immature, and entitled. When she is exiled by her parents and sent to Beijing to live with her uncle and learn about her heritage, I couldn’t wait for her to have a great journey of self discovery and become a better person. That doesn’t happen. At all. There was so much room and opportunity in this story for her experiences to give her some enlightenment but she learns absolutely nothing. The plot seemed to be just a bunch of shenanigans, some that were ridiculous, that didn’t bring anything to the story because they didn’t even remotely affect our heroine. It was frustrating and I found Iris to be unrealistically clueless and stupid. Her attitude was fine at the beginning because I was expecting her adventures in China to open her eyes, but nothing does. She does make an abrupt attitude adjustment at the very end of the book, but it doesn’t make sense as literally nothing throughout the entire plot has changed her at all. It was completely unrealistic. There was a way to have her grow gradually and learn from her amazing opportunities and relationships in China, but the author didn’t give us that. I loved the idea behind this story, but it the execution of it was ineffective and disappointing.