A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gloria Chao's Our Wayward Fate is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale about two Taiwanese American teens tackling racism in a small, predominately white Indiana town. Readers will learn about racism, Taiwanese culture, Mandarin words and phrases, and the 19th-century Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers. Strong language includes many variations of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "crap," "damn," "hell," "douche," and "Jesus." Characters kiss, make out, and undress each other.
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What's the story?
In OUR WAYWARD FATE, 17-year-old Ali Chu is the only Asian person at school in her small, predominately white town in Indiana. If she doesn't want to be an outcast, she'll have to blend in as much as possible by putting up with people's racist remarks and replacing her family's Taiwanese dishes with acceptable American food. But things change when Chase Yu, the new kid in school who also happens to be Taiwanese, arrives in town. Ali initially rolls her eyes at everyone's assumption that she and Chase belong together, but she can't deny that they have chemistry. They soon develop a whirlwind romance based on their similarities: kung fu, bilingual inside jokes, and fighting racism, until Ali's mom finds out and forces her to end the relationship. As Ali tries to understand her mom's disapproval, dark secrets about her family's past are revealed. Mixed in with Ali and Chase's love story is a retelling of the 19th-century Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers, which Ali eventually learns is tied to her future.
Is it any good?
Gloria Chao has once again written a heartfelt coming-of-age novel that thoughtfully explores racism and identity. It's clear Ali loves her family, despite their misunderstandings, but is struggling to juggle their expectations with her happiness. She and Chase have undeniable chemistry, and their swoon-worthy relationship is filled with witty puns, hilarious bilingual inside jokes, and a shared love of martial arts. Some might be shocked by the amount of racism -- both intentional and unintentional -- that they encounter. But, together, Ali and Chase powerfully stand up to their peers, defy stereotypes, and break cultural traditions. As Our Wayward Fate progresses and family secrets are revealed, readers will understand the importance of honest communication in healthy relationships and see that it's OK to be different.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the generational conflict in Our Wayward Fate. Do your grandparents or parents have values or traditions you think are old-fashioned and have no place in today's world?
This novel has a diverse cast of characters. 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: Gloria Chao
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, High School, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: October 15, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: October 30, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love Asian and Asian American stories and coming-of age tales
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