Loveboat, Taipei has to be one of my favorite reads of 2019! I am so happy to share an excerpt of Abigail’s letter from the author which was at the front of my ARC!
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
Letter from the Author
When I landed as a teen in Taipei for a summer of Mandarin immersion, I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead. Chien Tan wasn’t just a language and cultural program. It was the notorious LOVEBOAT, though until then, I’d never heard of it. A thousand Chinese-American kids of immigrants, who’d spent the past ten years studying hard to get into college and living by their traditional family rules—now dropped off in a foreign land with zero supervision.
There was a lot of sneaking out into humid nights to go dancing. Eating the best street food on the planet. Dating and breaking up and making up.
Even falling in love.
Somehow in the midst of all that craziness, we still managed to absorb some language and culture, too. I made lifelong friendships who turned into a network around the United States (my future husband, as it would turn out, attended Loveboat in an earlier summer). In that summer that can never be replicated, I connected with parts of myself I hadn’t allowed myself to embrace before.
I wrote LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI to capture some of that journey.
This novel is a romp—a story of repressed teens gone wild, and of discovering one’s identity in all its facets. Between these pages live and breathe a cast of over thirty Asian Americans. Though they share a cultural heritage and are from similarly high-achieving families, they are individuals—some funny, some quiet, some timid, some outrageous. But they are all diverse, all talented and all flawed in their own ways:
Eighteen-year-old Ever Wong is working towards becoming a doctor, but nurses a secret passion to dance.
Rick Woo is the Yale-bound, child prodigy bane of her existence.
Boy-crazy Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful secret he’ll never admit.
Writing their stories as they navigate their cultures and search for their place in the world was one of the most difficult, rewarding experiences of my life. I hope that I’ve done them justice and that you find a small measure of yourself in their stories, too.
Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen (US Only)
Stars: 1st January 2020
Ends: 15th January 2020a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the Author
Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.
Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.
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