Loveboat, Taipei

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Loveboat, Taipei Book Poster Image
Taiwanese American teen finds love and freedom in fun tale.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will learn about Chien Tan, a cultural and language immersion program attended by teens from around the world, as well as Taiwanese culture, food, and history. There are also words and phrases in Mandarin and other Chinese dialects. The book also deals with dyslexia, mental health issues, racism, and abusive relationships.

Positive Messages

Courage, communication, and friendship are important themes. Don't be afraid to follow your dreams. No matter how bad things may seem, find the strength to get back on your feet.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Every character has flaws, but they come to learn the importance of friendship, generosity, humility, and kindness. They fight against racism and try to break Asian stereotypes.

Violence

Boys fight and get bloody noses. A boy hits his girlfriend, resulting in a black eye. The girlfriend says she bit him in self-defense.

Sex

Teens flirt, kiss, and make out. Some lose their virginity and engage in oral sex. Two girls take nude photos, and some are distributed as revenge after they get into a fight.

Language

Strong language includes uses of "s--t," "f--k," "slut," "ass," "bitch," "bastard," "cock-tease," "chink," and "baichi," which is Mandarin for "idiot."

Consumerism

Most of the teens in the program come from wealthy families and spend money without thinking about it.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink beer and snake-blood sake, sometimes heavily, resulting in hangovers.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Abigail Hing Wen's Loveboat, Taipei is a fun, fast-paced, and dramatic coming-of-age story that deals with first love, friendship, family, culture, and identity. Readers will learn about Chien Tan, a cultural and language-immersion program attended by teens from around the world, as well as Taiwanese culture, food, and history. There are also words and phrases in Mandarin and other Chinese dialects. The book also deals with dyslexia, mental health, racism, and abusive relationships. A boy hits his girlfriend, giving her a black eye. Teens flirt, kiss, lose their virginity, and engage in oral sex. Two girls take nude photos, and some are distributed as revenge after they get into a fight. Strong language includes uses of "s--t," "f--k," "bitch," "bastard," "chink," and "baichi," which is Mandarin for "idiot." Teens drink beer and snake-blood sake, sometimes heavily, resulting in hangovers.

User Reviews

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There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 15 years old Written bysc9rpio October 4, 2020

my favourite book ever.

its so amazing. ive read it over 3 times and every time im swooned by the character's descriptions, the plot and most importantly the thick and consisten... Continue reading

What's the story?

Eighteen-year-old Ever Wong wants to pursue her passion for dancing after high school at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, but her parents expect her to become a doctor. So when she's forced to attend the Chien Tan program in Taiwan, she believes the cultural and language-immersion program will be as strict as her parents and purely educational. But to her surprise, she finds LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI, where the supervisors look the other way, and the overachievers surrounding her are more interested in sneaking out, hooking up, and breaking the rules. Without her overbearing parents watching her every move, Ever's on a mission to make this summer the best one yet.

Is it any good?

Abigail Hing Wen has created a fun, fast-paced, and dramatic coming-of-age novel about a Taiwanese-American teen who finds love and freedom in an unexpected place. She pulls from her own experience attending the infamous Chien Tan program as inspiration for Ever's story, and her rich, detailed descriptions will transport readers to Taiwan. As in other Asian/Asian American tales, such as American Panda or Frankly in Love, Ever is caught between two cultures and is struggling to please her parents while staying true to herself. And while there are plenty of entertaining moments in Ever's love life, Loveboat, Taipei also delves into some heavy themes, including mental health issues, abusive relationships, and racism. It can be a lot to process at times, but as Ever learns more about herself and begins to embrace her culture, readers will understand how important open, honest communication is in healthy relationships.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the generational conflict in Loveboat, Taipei. Do your grandparents or parents have values or traditions you think are old-fashioned and have no place in today's world?

  • Talk about the various kinds of diversity in the novel. Why are diverse representations important in children's and young adult literature?

  • Does the romance portrayed seem realistic and relatable? Do YA romance novels help readers sort out their feelings and learn how to communicate, or do they create false expectations about teen relationships? 

  • How do the characters demonstrate courage and communication? Why are these important character strengths?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Asian stories and coming-of-age tales

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