Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow - ADVISABLE

Chow, Cara
Bitter Melon, 309 pgs. Egmont USA, 2011. $16.99. Language – G, Sexual Content – PG; Violence - G. Frances Ching has her life mapped out: ace her senior year, attend Berkeley, earn a degree in medicine, and spend the rest of her life supporting her Chinese immigrant mother. She has never examined this plan, which was formed for her when she was very young. But when Frances is accidentally placed in a speech class instead of the calculus she needs to help her get into Berkeley, she discovers her own voice and begins to question everything her mother has ever told her about a child’s responsibility to his or her parents. Frances’s mother goes beyond tiger mother to outright cruelty, which keeps the pages turning. The lies Frances must tell in order to compete for her speech team against her mother's wishes ratchet up the suspense as the reader wonders if she’ll get caught this time and what the consequences will be. Despite Frances's situation, some readers may be turned off by her. She makes many selfish decisions and is often a very unsympathetic heroine, which makes it hard to always root for her. HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Caryn

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