A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Presents a detailed portrait of modern-day Vietnam, especially the cuisine enjoyed there. Vietnamese phrases pepper the dialogue.
It's important that people be honest with themselves about what they truly believe. Families can be a source of great joy and great sorrow.
Positive Role Models
Although she often acts impulsively and against her own best iterests, Jade can be said to be a good role model in the way she has the courage and curiosity to explore a dangerous situation. Her relationship with Florence is loving and supportive.
Jade and her immediate family are Vietnamese American, as is author Trang Thanh Tran. Jade's father returns to Vietnam to renovate the family's home in order to open a bed-and-breakfast-like lodging. Jade often feels stuck between her identities -- not Vietnamese enough, not sufficiently American. Through her research in her father's house, she learns how colonialism affected her family before and after the Vietnam war. Jade identifies as queer and wishes her mother would stop her denial. Jade and Florence are in a loving relationship.
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Violence & Scariness
Features creepy supernatural events from the start. Jade and her family encounter ghosts, hordes of insects,and weapon-wielding intruders, leading up to a fiery conclusion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jade identifies as gay, although she is attracted to some boys. In Vietnam, she falls hard for Florence, who is queer. The girls form a strong bond -- flirting, spending time in bed together without having sex -- and they resist restrictive labels.
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Frequent swearing includes "damn," "hell," "a---hole," "s--t," "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Jade craves burgers from McDonald's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink beer at a party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that She Is a Haunting is the story of a 17-year-old Vietnamese American girl who returns to Vietnam for the summer to help her father renovate the family's French colonial mansion to open it as a bed-and-breakfast-like lodging. The main character, Jade Nguyen, identifies as gay and has come out to her father. There are creepy scenes involving ghosts, insects, and supernatural possession, and a fiery conclusion. Frequent swearing includes "damn," "hell," "a--hole," "s--t," "f--k." The romance between Jade and Florence consists of flirting, kissing, and cuddling, and is mutually supportive.
Is It Any Good?
This smart and twisty ghost story delivers a wealth of sinister shocks. Debut novelist Trang Thanh Tran packs She Is a Haunting with plenty of ghoulish surprises and spooky revelations, as well as social commentary about Vietnam at the start of a new century. Darkly funny and surprisingly touching, She Is a Haunting should appeal to fans of The Shining.
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