I received American Panda by Gloria Chao through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I give it 5/5 stars.
At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.
With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.
But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels? (Goodreads)
American Panda by Gloria Chao is a funny, heartbreaking book filled with culture. Mei is a great main character; she's relatable, hilarious, smart, and sympathetic. The side characters are all three-dimensional and interesting, and her family unit is intense and engaging. The second part of the book is particularly heavy and had me tearing up at different scenes. Lastly, it was SO great to see a YA take place in college! I really recommend this book.
American Panda by Gloria Chao was published February 4, 2018.