Review: Waylaid

193574
Review for "Waylaid" by Ed Lin (2002)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ok ya’ll…it’s the last entry of my ‘older’ book reviews for a while…

“Waylaid” is the story of an unnamed 12-year-old Chinese American boy who works in his family’s sleazy, pay-by-the-hour Jersey shore motel. The narrator’s obsession with sex and his fantasies with the porno mags and other sexual artifacts that he finds in his hotel rooms make up a large part of the book. The johns who routinely come by his hotel do nothing to quell his burning desire to find a girl he can sleep with. In addition to school and long nights and weekends spent working at the hotel, the narrator has very little freedom to be a kid. This gives him a wealth of knowledge beyond a typical preteen, which is played out throughout this book. Although he considers himself American, he continually faces racist comments by the guests, which he is forced to accept with a smile.

The only reason I gave this book 3 stars is because I didn’t care for the ending, which seemed kinda rushed to me. This story is definitely entertaining and funny, it’s worth checking out.

Review: Emergency Contact

35297272

Review for "Emergency Contact" by Mary H.K. Choi (2018)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This book is wildly popular right now. I follow the author, Mary H.K. Choi, on Instagram. A Facebook book club I’m in spoke in glowing terms of this and recommended it. I’ve gotten three emails in the past month from Kirkus Reviews, they also recommended this. Hell, even Rainbow Rowell recommended this. It’s like God himself was screaming at me to read IT, so I did.

And errr…this book was kinda meh for me.

Without giving away too much of the plot: Penny is a introvert with a MILF-y mom that annoys her immensely. She goes off to college an hour away and meets Sam, a tattooed hipster dude who works and lives in a local coffee shop. They bond over their personal crises, texting each other as they deal with their respective family and personal issues. Penny discovers her love of writing fiction, Sam nurtures his desire to be a filmmaker. In the end, exactly what we expected to happen between these two happens–they fall for each other.

I said I wasn’t going to give away the plot, but I actually kinda just did. I’m sorry. But honestly, that’s like, it with this book.

This book is sweet and the language is kinda cool, but there’s nothing here that I haven’t read before. I suspect that one of the reasons why this book is so popular is because it has a rose gold toned, super cute Forever 21-ish looking cover. I know that sounds harsh, but dude…seriously, what’s really here? It’s just a run-of-the-mill YA love story. While I appreciate the way that the author does try to give the protagonist some depth, I realized that after I close this book I probably won’t remember much about Penny anyway. What I most remember about Penny is her annoying tendencies, i.e., her hopeless fascination with Sam at first sight. No less than 5 times we’re reminded by Penny of Sam’s tattoos, ooooh ahhhh, as if we’ve never seen a tattooed man before. Is Penny’s fawning, otherworldly reaction to Sam even real? Of course not. Girl, have a seat please.

Once again, not a bad book, but one that didn’t really excite me either. Three stars.

Review: Chemistry

Ahh, welcome to summer, lovelies. Even though I’ll be working for most of it and don’t plan on doing much travel, I’ll still be reading, as always.
31684925
Review for "Chemistry" by Weike Wang (2017)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

An unnamed Chinese-American female grad student cuts her hair, goes into her lab and breaks five beakers, then proceeds to go on a quest to find herself. Unaffected by her indecision to accept her bf’s marriage proposal, she deals with her perfectionist parents and takes on a job as a chemistry tutor (definitely not the future her parents envisioned).

With that said, this book was just ok for me. Thankfully it’s a short book, as well as an interesting take on life, love, and work in higher education. I could certainly relate to the unnamed narrator’s struggles (I am also a full time Ph.D. student). However, this was not a very entertaining book. The writing here is sparse and there’s a lot of light-hearted, stream of conscious self-dialogue which is cool for the first part of the book, but after the first third had passed it just got to be too much, an overkill. I desperately wanted the character to come out of her head and give more of a story here.

I would read this author’s future work though. Just not my cup of tea here.