A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
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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?
- Author: Abigail Hing Wen
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: January 7, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
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