Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1) Details

TitleLoveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 7th, 2020
PublisherSimon & Schuster Children's UK
ISBN-139781471192852
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Romance

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1) Review

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    January 1, 1970
    This was an excellent debut! I loved every bit of it. It's such an addictive read full of well built up characters & a plot full of surprises. There was so much drama going down and that's honestly what kept me reading. There was a great display of character growth with each of the characters and all the complicated relationships. I loved the group of characters that we spend time with & seeing how they all had come into their own by the end of the book. I can't say this book is perfect This was an excellent debut! I loved every bit of it. It's such an addictive read full of well built up characters & a plot full of surprises. There was so much drama going down and that's honestly what kept me reading. There was a great display of character growth with each of the characters and all the complicated relationships. I loved the group of characters that we spend time with & seeing how they all had come into their own by the end of the book. I can't say this book is perfect by any means, but if I were to rate this book on entertainment alone, I would give it 5/5 stars! I can't wait to read Abigail Hing Wen's next book!
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this so much. This really is a love letter to belonging and seeing all your different parts, and the parts you came from, and exploring those parts and connecting deeper to your culture. This is also a story very much about what it means to be asian american and how sometimes those two parts can make you feel not enough for either half. This was beautiful, and the story was so good, the romance (and love triangle) was everything, and I feel so honored to have read this. <3Youtube | I loved this so much. This really is a love letter to belonging and seeing all your different parts, and the parts you came from, and exploring those parts and connecting deeper to your culture. This is also a story very much about what it means to be asian american and how sometimes those two parts can make you feel not enough for either half. This was beautiful, and the story was so good, the romance (and love triangle) was everything, and I feel so honored to have read this. <3Youtube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | TwitchContent and Trigger Warnings: abuse (side characters), natural disasters, codependency, depression, drinking, talk of a susicde attempt in the past, racism (always in a negative light and challenged), and the leaking of private pictures. Buddy Read with Joce! ❤
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  • Warda
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I’m glad this is now over. In reality, I should’ve DNF’d this book. I knew it wasn’t going to be for me, but I thought the story would’ve developed more substance as it went on. But it didn’t. It felt so lacklustre overall, even though I appreciated what this book was trying to do. I related to Ever in a way. The immigrant story, the guilt, your parents, the expectations they place on you, identity, the disconnect etc. All of us who come from an ethnic background have experienced this in Well, I’m glad this is now over. In reality, I should’ve DNF’d this book. I knew it wasn’t going to be for me, but I thought the story would’ve developed more substance as it went on. But it didn’t. It felt so lacklustre overall, even though I appreciated what this book was trying to do. I related to Ever in a way. The immigrant story, the guilt, your parents, the expectations they place on you, identity, the disconnect etc. All of us who come from an ethnic background have experienced this in one way shape or form. But these issues felt like they were glanced over, too rushed. The story was trying to do too much of everything and it left me feeling empty reading it, because they weren’t expanded and built upon. Instead we got a meaningless love triangle. It was all just so underdeveloped, ugh. It’s a no from me. Thank you to Dark Room Tours and Simon & Schuster UK for providing me with a copy of this book.
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  • Chloe
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars*
  • monica kim
    January 1, 1970
    “I would die for my family if I needed to. I would emigrate to a foreign country and give up dancing to unwrap blood-soaked bandages every hour of every day if it meant food and shelter for my family. But because of them, I don’t have to.”this book hit me hard.
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    Loveboat, Taipei is like Crazy Rich Asians meets American Panda, but is also very much a contemporary YA that stands all on its own. Ever Wong’s summer plans are completely disrupted when her parents send her off to Taipei to attend Chien Tan, an educational program meant to help Ever with her Mandarin skills and appreciation of her culture. But what Ever discovers is that the program is affectionately known as Loveboat, a summer-long party where adults turn a blind eye and teens have the Loveboat, Taipei is like Crazy Rich Asians meets American Panda, but is also very much a contemporary YA that stands all on its own. Ever Wong’s summer plans are completely disrupted when her parents send her off to Taipei to attend Chien Tan, an educational program meant to help Ever with her Mandarin skills and appreciation of her culture. But what Ever discovers is that the program is affectionately known as Loveboat, a summer-long party where adults turn a blind eye and teens have the freedom to pursue nights out and hook-ups as much as they want. Ever is about to have an unforgettable summer that might just change the rest of her life... It’s worth noting that this novel has a couple of elements I’m partial to - a life-changing summer, a foreign ‘educational program’ setting and cultural details I’m personally unfamiliar with (Taiwanese and Chinese). I was predisposed to enjoy this one, and I’m happy to report that I loved it! It was fun to read about all the shenanigans (good and bad) that occur, and the experiences and relationships Ever makes in Taiwan. But what really made this novel a cut above the rest had a lot to do with Ever herself. Ever is upset with her parents, who never seem to understand or really see her, who are constantly boxing her into an ideal future that they’ve sacrificed everything for. This summer away is a chance for her to really be on her own, to rebel against the constraints placed against her and to decide who and what she really stands for. While I’ve never specifically had Ever’s experiences, the heart of them really resonated on a personal level (so much so that it made me emotional). I really loved Loveboat, Taipei, and I can’t wait for other readers to get their hands on this story and fall in love with it too!** I read with one with Rachel for Friends with ARCs.Blog | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter
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  • Lily ☁️
    January 1, 1970
    If this book doesn’t end up being my favorite read of 2020, I shall perish.But in all honesty, this is the rep I’ve been waiting for my entire life?? Someone pinch me.Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr |Bloglovin’ If this book doesn’t end up being my favorite read of 2020, I shall perish.But in all honesty, this is the rep I’ve been waiting for my entire life?? Someone pinch me.Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’
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  • Nursebookie
    January 1, 1970
    Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen I was beyond excited to be one of the first chosen to read this ARC. I have been waiting for something like this to be written, specifically about the young adult Taiwanese American experience - not just about the Chinese or Asian experience growing up in America, but as a Taiwanese specifically and to have it written ever so accurately by someone who understood, is pretty special. College bound Ever Wong was sent to Taiwan the summer before entering college Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen I was beyond excited to be one of the first chosen to read this ARC. I have been waiting for something like this to be written, specifically about the young adult Taiwanese American experience - not just about the Chinese or Asian experience growing up in America, but as a Taiwanese specifically and to have it written ever so accurately by someone who understood, is pretty special. College bound Ever Wong was sent to Taiwan the summer before entering college to study medicine. Ever’s parents feel she is too American and a cultural immersion experience in Taiwan is just the answer. In Taiwan, Ever discovers her true passions and matters of the heart. Ever’s parents were immigrants and her father, though a doctor in Taiwan, struggles here in America. The hopes and dreams of immigrant parents are passed on to their children dictating their future - this was not unusual. Ever deep inside would rather be performing as a dancer, and is struggling with the decision of going to Art School instead but fears the disappointment of her parents. Wen wrote an amazing story! The book is absolutely enjoyable and read very quickly despite it being over 450 pages, and I almost didn’t want it to end. Wen created characters that I was immersed in, and fell in love with. I felt the angst, tension, love of a parent to a child, the sacrifices, and strength to be honest with each other, throughout the book. Additionally, Wen writes masterfully about friendship, first loves, challenges and the competitive drive to be better. For many they really just want to experience love and understanding from their family. Asian or not, these themes are relatable and will be enjoyed by a wide variety of readers who enjoy YA, New Adult, and coming of age stories. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Kayla Brunson
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted this to be as beautiful as that cover, but I was sadly disappointed. I seriously felt like I was maybe too old for this and most of the scenarios that take place in this book. I was all for our main character Ever for about 40% of the book. From there I went from being hesitant about what her character would do to straight up disliking her. That’s right, I don’t like our main character. She does a few things that rub me the wrong way and I have no shame saying that I wanted to I really wanted this to be as beautiful as that cover, but I was sadly disappointed. I seriously felt like I was maybe too old for this and most of the scenarios that take place in this book. I was all for our main character Ever for about 40% of the book. From there I went from being hesitant about what her character would do to straight up disliking her. That’s right, I don’t like our main character. She does a few things that rub me the wrong way and I have no shame saying that I wanted to slap her. Some of her actions were completely selfish and she treated some characters so terribly. The only character I liked and cared for was Xavier. Everyone else was either cookie cutter, forgettable, or terrible characters. Which leads me to my next issue. So many things that happen in this book are glossed over. We have situations such as nude photos, cheating, depression and even talks of suicide. And when I say glossed over, I mean that everything worked out so easy or was never brought up again. I’m sorry what? You can’t just bring that up and not say anything else about it. I do feel like the author did a good job of talking about racism and parents’ expectations. I’m not Asian but I do have Asian friends who tell me how stressed they feel about letting their families down. So many of these kids were feeling that stress and reacting in different ways. All in all, I feel like maybe this book wasn’t for me. The characters were terrible and immature and I didn’t like how a lot of issues were glossed over. I see that there will be a second book but I’m really confused about what else there is to write about. I received an ARC via Edelweiss for an honest review.Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • ✨ A ✨
    January 1, 1970
    This. This is the content we need. ARC provided by publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    It's hard to know where to start with this review - I usually have the hardest time reviewing books I love (knowing I'll never do them full justice), but I'm going to try my best. Because I need to convince EVERYONE to read this book! Yes, that means you.I'm going to go with a totally cliche line, but it's so so true. This book made me feel seen. Growing up, I never thought about the lack of Chinese American characters in books... until I read my first Amy Tan novel. And still, every time I read It's hard to know where to start with this review - I usually have the hardest time reviewing books I love (knowing I'll never do them full justice), but I'm going to try my best. Because I need to convince EVERYONE to read this book! Yes, that means you.I'm going to go with a totally cliche line, but it's so so true. This book made me feel seen. Growing up, I never thought about the lack of Chinese American characters in books... until I read my first Amy Tan novel. And still, every time I read a book with a Chinese American main character, I'm reminded once again of that moment. That realization. Oh, there others who share my experiences. There are others out there like me.Loveboat, Taipei made me tear up for many reasons, but especially for the personal cultural connection. There were things in the story - little things - that made me realize _____ is actually a cultural thing, not just a quirk of my family. It was shocking to realize that I honestly don't know whether a lot of things my family does are "Chinese" things or "my family" things.I read Loveboat, Taipei over Thanksgiving weekend, while I was visiting my family. My mom is from Taiwan, so of course I talked her ear off about the book. Those conversations actually led to her telling me more about her childhood. I told her the premise of the story and she told me her best friend from college had gone to one of these programs and came back with a boyfriend! I'm forever grateful to Abigail Hing Wen for writing a book that sparked those conversations. Conversations that allowed my mom to reminisce and me to listen and learn.I should add that my parents weren't nearly as strict as Ever's parents, but I had Chinese friends whose parents were. I thought that aspect was written really well, with a lot of compassion for both sides (teen and parent). I love how that element played out.And beyond all of the personal cultural connections for me (that won't be relevant to a lot of readers), this story is just plain fantastic. Romcoms are really far from my usual genre choices and I tend not to enjoy romance plots or subplots in general. I accepted this book from Epic Reads because it's an #ownvoices story set in Taiwan, but I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the romcom aspects. Wow, was I wrong!This romcom is anything but frivolous. It's ridiculously fun, but it also touches upon a LOT of powerful themes. True to the genre, the book doesn't really dive into "gritty" issues (nothing on screen), but they are deeply emotional and relatable themes. I'm in awe of the author for balancing entertainment and depth so, so well. It's fun and important. That is HARD to do.I think the only thing I wish there'd been more of is local Taiwan. I wanted to experience the city more. But I also understand that this is just my personal desire because of my own family's background and that this book was SO packed that it would be hard to add in much else.Anyway, as with most reviews I've written about books I love, this review is all over the place. It's just hard to figure out what to put in specifically without listing every single element and telling you how well done it was. Instead of a big list, I'll sum it up for you: this book is compassionate, entertaining, powerful, and phenomenal and you need to read it!It's out January 7, 2020, and I highly recommend pre-ordering!
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  • Yna the Mood Reader
    January 1, 1970
    "My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be." Series: Yes, according to Goodreads. Genre: YA Contemporary POV: First Cliffhanger: No Content Warnings: Love square/quadrangle. Asian stereotyping. Racism. Graphic description of injuries. Leaked nude photos. Mentions of depression & self-harm. Sexual content. Read if: you love Crazy Rich Asians and/or American Panda.Let me start this "My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be." 📚 Series:  Yes, according to Goodreads.📚 Genre: YA Contemporary📚 POV:  First📚 Cliffhanger: No⚠ Content Warnings:  Love square/quadrangle. Asian stereotyping. Racism. Graphic description of injuries. Leaked nude photos. Mentions of depression & self-harm. Sexual content.⚠ Read if: you love Crazy Rich Asians and/or American Panda.Let me start this review by saying, I absolutely loved this book and I am wishing for more Asian rep in the YA & NA umbrella genres.Loveboat Taipei tells the story of the Taiwanese-Western young adult journey. It's of finding oneself and identifying how both of your cultures had the power to make you who you are.The books tells the story of Ever Wong, who was sent by her parents to take part in Loveboat, a culture immersion program in Taiwan, because they felt she needs to learn more about that other side of her.Ever is joined by around 500 other teens in this experience. So, she attempts to face this new world, while struggling to let her parents know that she does not want to go to med school, but she wants tondance instead.This book showcased the Asian Tiger Mom character, where Asian parents try to control the decisions of their children, especially with their careers and love interests. I resonate with this one a lot, as many Filipino parents also have the same principles.I also enjoyed the glimpses of Taiwanese culture showcased in the story, including food, art, language, and places to visit.One of the great parts that I liked about this read is how Ever transformed and grew as a person. Eventhough technically, she is disobeying her parents, I loved how the author wrote her thought process and how her love for her family has shown, even when she was trying to stand up for who she really is.In terms of the romance arc, this book did not only came with a love triangle, they also involved another person in the mix!Focusing on the love interests part, though, I have to say that I disagree with Ever's choice. It makes me so crazy that she did not choose this character, of whom I felt she had better chemistry with! Sigh.This frustrating romance part was redeemed by how amazingly the author dealt with serious topics scattered throughout this book. I appreciate the sensitive approach the author have made and I wish she delves more on these topics in the future.In totality, I have to say I am so happy to have found my first 5 star read of 2020! Loveboat, Taipei is a wonderful debut that showcases family, friendship, finding oneself, fun, and first love.☁ THE CRITERIA ☁🌼 Blurb:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Main Character:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆🌼 Support Characters:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Writing Style:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Character Development:⭐⭐⭐⭐☆🌼 Romance: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Pacing: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Ending: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Unputdownability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🌼 Book Cover:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ☁FINAL VERDICT: 4.81/5 ☁ Much thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club and Harper Teen for this complimentary copy. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may be different in the final published copy. 📚 Blog ♡ Bookstagram ♡ Facebook ♡ Twitter 📚
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    Super cute - loved the setting, the themes of family, friendship, and following your dreams.The romance situation is messy so if that is an issue for you, be warned. But this was really fun!Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
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  • Lance
    January 1, 1970
    "I would die for my family if I needed to. I would emigrate to a foreign country and give up dancing to unwrap blood-soaked bandages every hour of every day if it meant food and shelter for my family. But because of them, I don’t have to." "I never talk to my parents about the books I read or the music I love or the dances in my head. I can't trust them not to take what bit of soul I offer them and not throw it away into a dumpster.""And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient "I would die for my family if I needed to. I would emigrate to a foreign country and give up dancing to unwrap blood-soaked bandages every hour of every day if it meant food and shelter for my family. But because of them, I don’t have to." "I never talk to my parents about the books I read or the music I love or the dances in my head. I can't trust them not to take what bit of soul I offer them and not throw it away into a dumpster.""And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drum beats, I feel all the parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American, and all of me is simply me." 5 full stars. Loveboat, Taipei is at once a dazzling romp through Taiwan and a love-letter to growing up Asian-American. I went into this novel with little-to-low expectations; I'm still not over how fucking good this was. Abigail Hing Wen somehow managed to write a novel that is the perfect amalgamation of an Asian Gossip Girl/Teenage Crazy Rich Asians and a coming-of-age narrative that tackles important, timely topics ranging from the fetishization of Asian women to the guilt Asian-Americans feel for pursuing their dreams because of all of the sacrifices their parents made for them in coming to America. While this is an entertaining foray into Taiwan, snake-blood sake and late-night clubbing included, it also manages to include conversations about issues relevant to Asian-Americans without feeling forced or overly heavy. While this book isn't flawless, I loved almost every aspect of this novel: from prose, to characters, to plot, and more.The prose of this book snuck up on me. When I read contemporary, unless I know otherwise, I don't really expect much out of the prose apart from the fact that it is readable and captures the voice of the character whose POV the the story is from well. Not only is this book's prose compulsively readable, but it managed to so perfectly capture Ever's voice as a young, talented Chinese-American girl just trying to find her footing both externally and internally. Her thoughts are beautifully expressed with a prose that just barely verges on purple; the best way I'd describe this Wen's writing is graceful. She paints the world through Ever's eyes in such a vivid way. All the imagery in this book is described with same finesse that Ever has when she dances: it's fluid, intricate, and detailed perfectly. I also firmly believe the prose is at its best when describing Ever's thoughts on being Asian-American. Every single thought, passage, and sentence describing Ever's thoughts on her being Asian-American and the burden she feels destined to carry as the child of immigrants who sacrificed everything to get here felt like they had come straight out of my head. Some of the passages of this book felt like someone saying "I understand you" and I can not emphasize how amazing that feeling is. Plot and pacing. Interesting and paced in a way that zips along. One of my favorite things about this novel is that as you go on throughout the novel, at least in the first half, you don't have a clear idea of what direction the plot is going (in a good way). The events are thrilling and exciting, and Hing Wen avoids falling into a repetitive structure by having events such as clubbing and dancing and performances and more happening, but not having them occur right after one another in any particular order. I also did love the final direction the plot took: (view spoiler)[Ever's dance performance at a large theater in Taipei being the end of this novel worked well on a narrative, thematic, and character level. (hide spoiler)] There was also brief fake-dating in this! Now for characters. Every single important character in this novel is intricately characterized in a way that I envy as a writer. The four "main" characters of this novel I'd argue are are Ever, Rick, Sophie, and Xavier. Each one of them has layers that the narrative takes care to explore. Ever is a fish-out-of-water, a young woman trying to figure out her place in the world as she is forced to attend a summer program in Taiwan; Rick is the child genius that has been the gold standard for Ever ever since she was young that is hiding a dark secret. Sophie is a fashionable, powerful young woman who has much more to her her beautiful appearance than you'd expect while Xavier is one of the best takes I've seen on the "YA bad boy player" I've seen in recent memory. In particular, I love how each of their character arcs are intrinsically related to being Asian-American. Ever's obvious conflict with her wishing to follow her dreams, but worrying she is wasting all of the sacrifices her families made for her is one thing, but the other three's character arcs are also very heavily related to being Asian-American. (view spoiler)[Sophie is "boy-crazy" because of the remarks from her parents that she'll never find a good husband because of her strong personality, while Xavier's narrative is a commentary on Asian attitudes towards mental health since he is autistic, never got the help he needed, and such thought he was intrinsically lacking but just lacked the resources he needed. As for Rick, his narrative with Jenna and the way it relates to mental health and the reasoning behind while he plays football... chef's kiss. (hide spoiler)] All of them grow and develop over the course of this novel. I'd say this novel, at its core, is a character study of Asian-American teens set against the backdrop of Taiwan. As you can guess, one of the key components of this novel is the romance. Yes, there is a "love triangle." However, I believe it was done in a way that befitted the story and allows each of the characters to retain the integrity they deserve. In my eyes the "love triangle" between (view spoiler)[Ever, Rick, and Xavier (hide spoiler)] isn't really a love triangle as two of the people involved don't love each other, romantically or otherwise. It's not a true love triangle unless all the legs of the triangle do, at least in my opinion. However, I will say that what I liked about this novel is that the narrative takes time to show the reader that Ever doesn't have an obvious choice, and I changed ships several times throughout this novel. I won't spoil who she ends up with, but I was satisfied by who she did at the end. Conclusively, I highly recommend this book and I know we're only in January, but I think this is may be a contender for my favorite book of the year already. It was such a joy seeing the Asian-American experience reflected on page in what on the surface levels, appears to be a fluffy, escapist story about partying in Taiwan. Thank you, Abigail Hing Wen for writing a story that expresses so many of the thoughts I've had but could never put into proper words.
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  • caitlin ✶
    January 1, 1970
    And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drum beats, I feel all the parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American, and all of me is simply me. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen is one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. From its absolutely riveting cover, to its own voices Asian representation, there was no way I wasn't gonna read it.A big reason why I wanted to read Loveboat, Taipei so much was because it centers on And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drum beats, I feel all the parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American, and all of me is simply me. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen is one of my most anticipated 2020 releases. From its absolutely riveting cover, to its own voices Asian representation, there was no way I wasn't gonna read it.A big reason why I wanted to read Loveboat, Taipei so much was because it centers on characters spending the summer in Taiwan learning Mandarin. In 2019, I did the exact same thing, except I went to China and not Taiwan! Reading about Ever and her friends' experiences made me remember my memories from my own trip. I even found myself relating to a few of the shenanigans they went through!Fair warning: This book features a love triangle. But fear not! In my opinion, it was handled super well. For a while, I genuinely had no clue who Ever was gonna end up with, and both men in the love triangle had their own "pros and cons."The main reason why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I could've was the pacing. At 423 pages, this book is on the long side, especially for a contemporary. I didn't think that it needed to be that long. There were many parts wherein what's going to happen next is fairly obvious, yet the book dragged instead of getting to Point X already.Loveboat, Taipei stars a huge cast of all-Asian (!!) characters, and I loved that every character, even the minor ones, were properly fleshed out.Ever Wong, the main character, is the child of first-generation immigrants. Her parents have sacrificed everything for her, and they've planned for her to go to med school her entire life. However, Ever can't handle the sight of blood, and all she wants to do is dance. Why give me honey when you knew my future was diabetic? It was so easy to empathize with Ever's struggles, because on one hand, she knows what her heart wants, but her parents have also done so much for her. The passion she felt for dancing was palpable on the page, and you could tell how happy dancing---or even just choreographing a dance---made Ever. At the same time, she (and, to be honest, most of the characters) made a few choices that were a tad frustrating, but I loved that this added realism to their characters, because we can't expect teens---or anyone, really---to be perfect human beings.Xavier Yeh is the brooding bad boy we've seen about a million times in fiction, and I wasn't here for it. His character was given more depth in the end, but I honestly didn't care. :/Rick Woo is every Asian parent's dream child---smart, sporty, charismatic---but we get to see what's hiding under his seemingly perfect exterior. Undoubtedly my favorite character in the book, he was the perfect balance between nerdy and charming, and some of his moments with Ever made me swoon so much.Set against the backdrop of Taiwan, this unapologetically Asian story is about love and finding yourself. It tackles so many relevant issues: financial privilege, Asian stereotypes, beauty standards---too many to count. I would've loved it so much more if I hadn't had such a hard time with the pacing. But take my rating with a grain of salt, because a lot of early reviewers have given this 4 or 5 stars! Thank you so much to the publisher for granting me an e-arc via Edelweiss! Content Warnings: sexual content, drinking, attempted sexual assault, abusive parent, depressed side character, slut-shamingBlog | Twitter
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  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this so much, but unfortunately I found the story so disjointed and rushed it was a struggle for me to get through it. While Ever's passion for dance was powerful and I really enjoyed her exploration of her Chinese American heritage and the pressures of family responsibility, the story did nothing to hold my attention. I thought the characters were kind of all over the place without satisfying growth and there were quite a few heavier topics that were mostly glossed over. I wanted to love this so much, but unfortunately I found the story so disjointed and rushed it was a struggle for me to get through it. While Ever's passion for dance was powerful and I really enjoyed her exploration of her Chinese American heritage and the pressures of family responsibility, the story did nothing to hold my attention. I thought the characters were kind of all over the place without satisfying growth and there were quite a few heavier topics that were mostly glossed over. Loveboat, Taipei didn't quite meet my expecatuions, but I'm sure others will connect and find themselves in the story so make sure you still give it a try if you're interested - and I hope you enjoyed it more than me.
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Tracy TrufflesA concept in books that I personally adore and think a lot of authors should incorporate more into their novels are important themes that can create change in the real world for readers. Topics that are important to communicate and talk about to the young adult audience whether they can directly relate to it or not, and Loveboat, Taipei definitely came through with some of those themes.We are introduced to Ever Wong, this young, Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Tracy TrufflesA concept in books that I personally adore and think a lot of authors should incorporate more into their novels are important themes that can create change in the real world for readers. Topics that are important to communicate and talk about to the young adult audience whether they can directly relate to it or not, and Loveboat, Taipei definitely came through with some of those themes.We are introduced to Ever Wong, this young, passionate character who loves dancing more than anything else and wants to pursue it as a career. Unfortunately, coming from a strict Taiwanese family who immigrated to the United States, she is somewhat forced into studying and going into a career in Medicine even though she faints at the sight of blood. Out of nowhere, instead of spending her last summer with her friends, she’s shipped out to Taiwan for a program (which is actually a real program!) called Chien Tan. This program brought a lot of fun to this event, as she finds out that it’s mostly used for matchmaking rather than teaching young Asian-Americans Mandarin and more about their ancestral Taiwanese culture.This book was just so plain interesting and relatable. Although I don’t come from a family forcing me to study medicine at college, I’ve had friends who were thrust into careers they were not passionate about. The idea of children living out the dreams of their parents seems relatively common in many families, especially of immigrant families trying to get by in a new foreign country. It really hit me many times when Ever spoke about her gratitude towards everything her parents sacrificed for her and her sister, but it can be said that there is a line and it can be crossed when it comes to trying to dictate someone’s future.The writing in this was so easy to read, you could easily speed through this contemporary and because of that, you can really feel the rush and the excitement as things happen. It did not feel like a book over 400 pages for sure but it was not necessarily fast-paced – this novel just showcased the idea of ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ really well, especially when the worst happens and the story visibly slows as Ever has to navigate her new and alarming situations.The plot was interesting because it wasn’t solely based around Ever finishing or surviving through this program (without getting caught going out with her friends) but also about how she can find a way to still pursue her passion of dancing in Taiwan while she was there.I also really loved the character development in the book, which there was more than I originally anticipated. We get to see Ever learn from her mistakes, especially when she realises that breaking every rule in her parent’s book doesn’t mean it’ll make her happier. That defiance isn’t the answer to feeling real freedom and that things don’t always seem like what they appear when it comes to friendships and family relationships. It’s truly a coming-of-age novel and emphasised the importance of communication among family, friends and having the courage to put your trust in someone, whether it’s about telling a secret, telling the truth or just staying true to yourself and your beliefs.My only qualm with this book is that I’m not a fan of love triangles at all, and there was kind of one in the book – almost a love quadrangle too at one point. It was the worst and best way to represent complicated relationships in an environment where these teens aren’t entirely expected to find their future spouses but there is the underlying expectation that you’ll at least find or experience love there.Finding out that this program is real also made this more exciting; as if I’m reading a story that is partially and/or has potentially actually occurred in real life. A dramatised version of it obviously because the drama was real in Loveboat, Taipei. It made me more aware of how cool it would be if more countries did this to first-generation or second-generation teens, to learn more about their family’s culture and ancestry. It’s definitely something I’d sign up for!Overall, this was such an enjoyable, fast read. I’d say it has some great representation, specifically for dyslexia which I don’t see often in YA books and it is a very strong debut for Abigail. Definitely, recommended!
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    January 7, 2020 Loveboat, Taipei is a well put together mix of Asian-American representation and young adult themes. It uses tropes from its genre but doesn't let it be a cliche: a teenage moving far from her parents, finding new friendships, a love triangle and coming of age. A great YA contemporary romance that can effectively tug at the reader's heartstrings and be swoon-worthy at bits. Sum it up in points!- Asian-American representation- overseas summer school program- parental pressures, January 7, 2020 Loveboat, Taipei is a well put together mix of Asian-American representation and young adult themes. It uses tropes from its genre but doesn't let it be a cliche: a teenage moving far from her parents, finding new friendships, a love triangle and coming of age. A great YA contemporary romance that can effectively tug at the reader's heartstrings and be swoon-worthy at bits. ➝ Sum it up in points!- Asian-American representation- overseas summer school program- parental pressures, especially of immigrants- first love, first romance- intimacy with consent- hot but emotional guys- making new friendships- passion: dance & art- finding individuality- familial expectations in Asian communities- making the choice between dreams and legacy➝ Trigger Warnings- tiger parents- first-time drinking- rebellious night-out- judgment from community- possible fatality on the road- leaked nudes- friend breaking trust- abusive parent (off page)- depression & suicidal side character- unwillingly stuck in a relationship➝ PlotLoveboat, Taipei creates an expected scenario where a daughter of Asian immigrants in America is scolded for secretly applying to her dream course in dancing—despite being granted admission—and for not pursuing the path of medical studies. As a result of this, the parents decide to send Ever, their daughter, to an overseas summer program in Taiwan where she can better her knowledge of Mandarin and possibly learn the essentials of being a perfect student; and maybe to understand her Asian roots before fulfilling her American dream—her parents' American Dream.The best thing about the plot is how relatable it is for every Asian, especially those who are born to immigrants. At the same time, it creates a different spark by creating this idea of placing a recent high-school graduate in a setting where everything is new but everything can also be fun. It gracefully interweaves the easy-to-connect plotline and empathetic themes.⇾ SettingThe story spans over eight weeks and is set against a background of beautiful Taiwan and a very-much-real summer program for Chinese-Americans called Love Boat. Not only does the book guide you through various heritage and cultural gems but it also lights up the pages through the night-life of Taiwan. Through words, Loveboat, Taipei successfully proves to highlight not just a stunning summer school but also shine a limelight on the beautiful city.⇾ RepresentationThe strongest aspect of this story is its representation. A Taiwanese-American main character, Ever Wong, is carving the story of her passion for dance clashing against her parent's expectations as immigrants; of her newfound freedom versus the values instilled in her by the community she belongs to; of the friendships she discovered and the love she felt. Loveboat, Taipei authentically knits together the Asian identity and the American identity of an Asian-American—and how those two identities can be blended together according to one's own identity. Ever surely gives a commendable voice to the many Asian-Americans. With three East-Asian-American characters accompanying Ever through this story, the representation becomes a delight. A perfect poster-boy: good grades, extra-curricular enthusiast, sports champion, well-mannered, handsome; exactly what every Asian parent wishes for. A boy with a bad reputation is brooding, hates rules, loves art, and flaunts a personality that doesn't belong to him. A girl with simple dreams, brave & fun personality searches for true love. When these three and Ever's lives fuse together, it's a young generation of Asians trying to make their own path while also letting their roots lie bare on this path. ⇾ RomanceA love triangle that isn't easy to decide on is exactly what Loveboat, Taipei offers. A golden boy and a mysterious boy, both develop feelings for this rebellious yet grounded girl who can drink snake-blood sake upon being challenged and can dance like there's nothing more addictive in this world. This triangle paired with the themes of first love, intimacy, teenage sex, finding one's individuality in a community that asks you to walk the same path, the story is bound to leave your heart skipping.⇾ OverallThe writing is simple with first-person narration and along with crisp pacing that runs through quick scenes across different settings, it develops emotions through every character and subsequently pulls the reader's emotions in it too. A definite recommendation for those who love an accurate representation and a young romance that is set against themes of distinctiveness. Win one of 2 copies of Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen! US only and ends on 14 January, 2020! Enter here. January 2, 2020 Dec 14, 2019: I loved it so much, I can't even. From the Asian representation to the love triangle to all the romance tropes I never thought I needed, this book is amazing, for sure. RTC.Nov 15, 2019: I can never get enough of POCs on book covers! Ahh, this is giving me life. Also, rebellion meets romance? I'm totally up for it! Can't wait to read this OwnVoices YA rom-com with Asian rep. Thank you HarperTeen for a digital copy via Edelweiss!
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  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    FOR FANS OF CRAZY RICH ASIANS YOU SAY?#sold
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received in exchange for an honest review Loveboat, Taipei is a story about discovery - finding out who you are when you’re defined by a culture you don’t understand. And it’s also about escaping the suffocating pressures placed on you from well meaning, but overbearing parents. Ever is one such girl. Forced to give up her dreams of studying dancing, when her parents discover her wearing a leotard and practicing dance instead of studying for med school, they send her to ‘discover her ARC received in exchange for an honest review ❤️Loveboat, Taipei is a story about discovery - finding out who you are when you’re defined by a culture you don’t understand. And it’s also about escaping the suffocating pressures placed on you from well meaning, but overbearing parents. Ever is one such girl. Forced to give up her dreams of studying dancing, when her parents discover her wearing a leotard and practicing dance instead of studying for med school, they send her to ‘discover her heritage’ at an infamous school in Taipei. But what her parents don’t know is that this school is secretly known amongst the pupils as ‘Loveboat’ - a hot bed of rule breaking and sexual tension, where relationships are made and broken. And free for the first time in her life, Ever is determined to break all the rules. It took me a while to warm to Ever. At first I found her painfully naive, overly trusting and she gives her heart and friendship too easily. It’s simple to think that Ever is like this because of her closeted upbringing - she’s in surroundings completely out of her comfort zone, but at times her behaviour during the first part of the book is just irritating. However, we see a lot of growth in her character which I really appreciated. She makes a lot of mistakes, and with each one we see her struggle with her guilt but also her acceptance of her decisions. It made her relatable and realistic. I also found that the novel managed to cover a number of interesting and insightful topics, including casual racism (for example adopting Westernised names instead of using their traditional Chinese names, which were beautiful), pressures from being first generation Asian Americans and the cultural divides this creates between parents and children, and many others. I found these topics incredibly fascinating to read about, and they’re handled in an intelligent way. The plot starts out really strong, with the students exploring Taipei through a cat and mouse game to break out each night to go clubbing. They dance and drink the night away, with hedonistic carefree tendencies and close knit friendships that really propelled the story forward. I also found the descriptions on Taiwan and its culture, which are scattered throughout, very descriptive and immersive. I will say however that the pace slows a lot at the half way mark, and a number of cliche trophies start creeping in - including a love triangle that I didn’t really enjoy and a ‘fake dating’ aspect that I personally don’t like. I also wasn’t keen on the love interests, and thought Ever treated one of them particularly badly (although she does at least admit to her bad behaviour). I also didn’t like some of the mental health representation. It felt a little forced, and used mainly for plot advancement with no redeeming aspects to it. It felt like it was used to demonise a character rather than show it in a positive, healthy light. A decent contemporary that I applaud for its diversity. The first half was definitely on to a winner for me, but unfortunately it falls victim to a few too many tropes for me to rate higher. I’d still be interested in this author’s future work though, as there was a heap of potential here.
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  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 - 4 starsLOVEBOAT, TAIPEI had a narrative voice that just shouted ‘give me more’ vibes and I enjoyed the reading experience. I’ve heard this book heralded as a more mature & Taiwanese ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ and it did give me some of those vibes at times. This is a more mature YA from a sexual perspective but the characters weren’t always mature in their decisions and actions.This book brought an enjoyable coupling of American-Asian and authentic Taiwan culture as the 3.5 - 4 starsLOVEBOAT, TAIPEI had a narrative voice that just shouted ‘give me more’ vibes and I enjoyed the reading experience. I’ve heard this book heralded as a more mature & Taiwanese ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ and it did give me some of those vibes at times. This is a more mature YA from a sexual perspective but the characters weren’t always mature in their decisions and actions.This book brought an enjoyable coupling of American-Asian and authentic Taiwan culture as the protagonist Ever was sent to a summer school in Taipei. The students were all sent by their parents for a summer immersion into the language and customs, but that was not the focus for the students. They were rebellious rabble-rowsers, looking to hook-up, drink alcohol, have fun and break the rules. Ever had a list of rules from home.Straight A’sDress like a NunCurfew of TenNo DrinkingNo Wasting MoneyNo Dancing with a BoyNo Kissing BoysNo BoyfriendA triangle emerged that I wasn’t super excited about but in actuality, it was pretty palatable. Xavier and Rick were two very different characters and the more I got to know them both, the more I thought they were both great friends and potential boyfriends for Ever. There was a lack of tying up of ends in one direction and I am really hoping that book two will journey down this character’s path.There were friendships that seemed empowering and positive and there were friends to hate with a passion. I struggled a little with Ever’s quick forgiveness and I’m still holding a grudge.This book is generally fun but it did tackle some serious topics of domestic abuse and exploitation (of which, I’m not going to elaborate on). I appreciated that Abigail Hing Wen actually ‘went there’ with sexual relationships rather than glossing over or pretending that things wouldn’t go that far. This made it a much more tangible story.I think this was a great author debut and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book. I enjoyed the Taiwan context as I knew little about the country but I now know just a little more.Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the early proof copy.This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities.
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  • Tiffany Chiang
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEWWhen I first heard the plot and storyline for Loveboat, Taipei, my heart immediately grew 10x as this was the representation I had always been dreaming of my entire life. After flying through the pages in less than a day, I’m so happy to say that Abigail Hing Wen’s story not only met my expectations, but she went above and beyond, crafting a plotline that kept me continuously on my toes and yearning for more. From the heart-skipping romance to moments of self-discovery, this book was FULL REVIEWWhen I first heard the plot and storyline for Loveboat, Taipei, my heart immediately grew 10x as this was the representation I had always been dreaming of my entire life. 💖After flying through the pages in less than a day, I’m so happy to say that Abigail Hing Wen’s story not only met my expectations, but she went above and beyond, crafting a plotline that kept me continuously on my toes and yearning for more. 😍 From the heart-skipping romance to moments of self-discovery, this book was simultaneously full of fun and life yet also incredibly thought-provoking and reflective, exploring both the complex dynamics of culture and family. Loveboat, Taipei follows the story of Ever Wong, a Taiwanese American girl who is sent by her parents to Chien Tan, an educational summer academy in Taipei notoriously known as Loveboat for its lack of adult supervision. Although Ever is initially hesitant to be placed in this new setting, she quickly finds friendship amongst the other students and even some unexpected romance along the way. Throughout the 8 weeks at the program, she learns more about her heritage and culture while also finding a creative outlet to further explore her passion for dance. ✨Abigail Hing Wen’s writing completely immerses you in the gorgeous setting of Taiwan and with each page, I felt closer and closer to home. In some ways, it felt like reading a really good Asian drama with its subtle plot twists and intense moments where I needed to fangirl to the world. For those who consider 400+ page books to be on the longer end, I found the story to be perfectly paced—there was never a dull moment, but I also didn’t feel rushed. Most notably, I was blown away by how Wen captured Ever’s passion and heart for dancing with descriptions of movements that tell a story. “And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drum beats, I fell all the parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American, and all of me is simply me.” Now, let’s talk about the romance in this story because I was LIVING for each and every second of it. 😭💘 My heart was bouncing all over the place from my newest favorite literary love triangle (tied with Tessa/Jem/Will from The Infernal Devices), and these characters have become my children whom I must protecc(!!) **mild spoilers** On one end, we have golden boy Rick Woo, a Yale-bound/chess prodigy/football star who is everyone Asian mother’s dream son (or dream son-in-law), and on the other end, we have mysterious, brooding bad boy, Xavier Yeh. I don’t want to give too much away, but I adore these perfectly imperfect characters so so much. It’s been two days since I’ve finished this book, and I honestly tear up thinking of how much I adored it. (am I being dramatic? yes. do I care? do.) As a Taiwanese American and a former ballet dancer, I felt such a strong connection to Ever, and it was so easy to fall in love with every other character as well. In 493 pages, Loveboat, Taipei, covers a range of thought-provoking topics from financial privilege, expectations of first-generation immigrants and children of diaspora, the intimacy of sex and love, the clashing messages of individualism and community amongst Eastern and Western culture, and so much more. “We are powerful. We can be anyone we want to be—daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, citizens, human beings. We showed Taipei that tonight. And in the days to come, we will show the world.”I sincerely hope you decide to pick up this book because I promise you won’t be disappointed! Abigail Hing Wen’s debut novel was a heartwarming showstopper, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. 🥰🎉 Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin
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  • Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
    January 1, 1970
    Let’s Share Culture as we go ‘Teens Gone Wild’ on Loveboat, TaipeiTaiwan isn’t written about a lot in young adult fiction, but is a place and culture that I’d love to learn more about. As a part of China Taiwan is and isn’t Chinese. It has a melting pot feel that nicely bridges Chinese and American cultures. Loveboat, Taipei gives us a glimpse into what it means to be an Asian American teenager getting back to their Taiwanese roots.Did Loveboat, Taipei get too crazy for this Fangirl to handle?I’ Let’s Share Culture as we go ‘Teens Gone Wild’ on Loveboat, TaipeiTaiwan isn’t written about a lot in young adult fiction, but is a place and culture that I’d love to learn more about. As a part of China Taiwan is and isn’t Chinese. It has a melting pot feel that nicely bridges Chinese and American cultures. Loveboat, Taipei gives us a glimpse into what it means to be an Asian American teenager getting back to their Taiwanese roots.Did Loveboat, Taipei get too crazy for this Fangirl to handle?I’ve got to start with the fact Loveboat, Taipei is more new adult than young adult. It (should) change what you expect from the story and these expectations will effect whether you enjoy Ever Wong’s journey. My own expectations were leaning toward experiences in Taipei and less girl gone wild. Not that the night life and party scene isn’t part of Taipei culture but I was looking for more root finding and less rebellion. However, if you want a story about a repressed Asian teen figuring out how to rebel one wild summer with fellow Taiwanese teens… then you’ve got to read Loveboat, Taipei.We’ve got friendship… on dance party love shots.Ever isn’t new to friendship. She has a stellar bff back home. Unfortunately her parents want her to experience what it means to be Taiwanese. And that means making new friends while on the Loveboat. Sophie was like a first college roommate. You click but you kind of have too because you’ll be miserable if you don’t. She doesn’t really have your best interests at heart so much as she needs a great wingman. It’s a challenging relationship and was well explored here.Sophie isn’t the only friend Ever makes, just one of the most influential and unique. I also loved the boy group who worked on proving Asian American stereotypes false. There are also the other girls who come together in a fun way with Ever. You get a real college feeling setting because of the cross section of friendships while not being set in college.Plus a drunk and confused friends to lovers romantic love triangle.Friendship with guys always has the potential to go romantic. Especially on this trip as the Loveboat has a couple making reputation. I’ll be upfront about the love triangle. It actually makes a lot of sense that a love triangle exists and that they both start out strong on the friendship front. With this college feel to the story, with a bunch of strangers coming together, there are bound to be first meeting attractions, rumored hotties and already taken boyfriends.Both men were quite well developed and felt very different to me. I personally leaned toward one over the other. I really loved his back story and the connection he felt toward Ever. But I also understood Ever’s attraction to the guy she chose. There is a deep seated bond there that never went away. I was a little disappointed in how Ever used and abused the rival love interest, but I also understand that is part of growing up and making foolish mistakes.Wrapped up in a modern look at Taiwanese youth culture.The Loveboat is meant to be a school like setting where Taiwanese heritage teens can get a shot of culture. They learn the language, both writing and speaking. As well as dancing, calligraphy, sparring and a handful of other cultural hobbies. This is what the parents want for the teens they send here. And it’s all topped off with a trip that gives us a sense of historic Taipei.Then we have the things the teens love about the Loveboat, these are the real reasons they agree to go. I’m talking late night runs to night clubs. Hookups with other Taiwanese heritage teens. And bargain shopping in the night markets. We get a cross section experience of what it means to be a Taiwanese teen.Loveboat, Taipei is a strong entry in the new adult genre.When I started Loveboat, Taipei it felt very young adult and I was confused where this story was going. We meet her tiger mom, a best friend who kept her sane and a crush Ever wasn’t able to act on. Blessedly by 10% we meet Sophie, a pivotal character for Ever and have already arrived in Taipei. That setup was so tight and was a great jumping off point. We needed to understand the life Ever Wong has been living in high school so we could sympathize with her need to rebel. From this point we jump into a new adult pre-college environment.And Ever gives us a wild, confused journey of awakening.Ever was certainly repressed growing up. Not that her parents didn’t love her, but they constricted her choices. One of the best things about Loveboat, Taipei is that we get to see Ever learn how to make choices for herself. Most teens first experience this in college. I appreciated how Ever needed to learn to challenge her parents before college and Taipei made the perfect opportunity. With their rules as her starting line. I didn’t always agree with her choices but I liked that she grew from the consequences.Loveboat, Taipei gave us real Asian American teens with the shared cultural heritage of Taiwan. Ever makes mistakes, runs afoul of new friends and comes into her own. Her future will be bright as long as she remembers to stay true to herself. This is a teen contemporary at its best!
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  • Simone
    January 1, 1970
    It's Lunar New Year and some folks on the Internet's put together a wonderful little readathon featuring Asian authors for the occasion. Of course I wanted to participate because I love my friends and I love reading Asian authors. The book I chose for my readathon was Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen.Loveboat, Taipei follows Ever Wong, an 18-year-old overachiever who was just admitted to Northwestern's prestigious medical program. She's also been accepted to the Tisch School of the Arts in It's Lunar New Year and some folks on the Internet's put together a wonderful little readathon featuring Asian authors for the occasion. Of course I wanted to participate because I love my friends and I love reading Asian authors. The book I chose for my readathon was Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen.Loveboat, Taipei follows Ever Wong, an 18-year-old overachiever who was just admitted to Northwestern's prestigious medical program. She's also been accepted to the Tisch School of the Arts in NYU for dancing. Two major worlds within Ever's life, she's currently in the midst of making her decision. Does she want to go to Tisch or does she want to go to Northwestern? Of course, there's a little bit of conflict for which school she chooses coming from her parents. Her parents want her to go to med school, become a doctor, and have a respectable career. There's no money in dancing. However, this is something many 1st generation Americans face. We want to create our own dreams, but also have to keep in mind the dreams our parents have for us. I guess that's a story anyone can really understand.In the midst of making the biggest decision of her young life, her parents decide to send Ever to Taiwan for a cultural immersion program. This eight-week program will allow her to learn more of her Chinese culture in the actual country it originates. When Ever finally makes it to Taiwan, she thought it would be a summer of studying Mandarin and seeing all the tourist spots in Taipei, but it turns out that the kids in the program lovingly call it "Loveboat." Why? Because of how much hooking up happens in this program. Seriously, parents send their kids to Loveboat to find a suitable match to marry. They know the deal. But sadly, Ever doesn't and while she's been such an obedient kid with her family, it's finally the summer of freedom and tasting what it feels like to be a teenager in a strange world.Wow, this book was everything I was looking for in an own voices story. There was so much covered here and it was wrapped up in a contemporary YA romance filled with tons of food and the exciting sights and sounds of Taiwan. When they went to go see the jade cabbage and the jasper pork belly, I might have salivated at it (btw, these are real and you should google them because they're breathtaking works of art). Taiwan is one of those places I've been wanting to see my entire life and getting a glimpse of that through this book was a lot of fun.However, this book also discusses a lot of the things many Asian Americans experience in their world. We straddle two worlds in America; the country we came from and the country we're born into. Growing up both Korean and American was a lot of juggling not only with the culture, but language, religious affiliation, where we ate, what school we went to. Both of these made up a huge part of my upbringing especially when it came to making yourself happy vs making your parents happy.The experiences Ever and her friends have in this story were similar to the ones I had as a kid. With an ounce of freedom, you can accomplish so much and Ever takes her unique opportunity in her hands and learns to grow up a little along the way. The conflict was average when it comes to YA contemporaries recycling the same tropes you see. Complicated relationships, friendships are tested, grown up decisions need to be made, and everyone goes home happy. Despite all the tropes, it was well-balanced and made the story seem more real than cliched.Abigail's writing is also pretty easy going. The language is not overly done and it didn't read like an annoying teenager is telling this story (which I'm not a huge fan of). Ever felt real and a friend; like someone I've known and grew up with my entire life. And despite not being Chinese or Taiwanese or knowing that life, I resonated deeply with the story. That's the important part; that the story feels and looks true despite it being fiction. It's about sharing the truth behind the fantasy and connecting with a group you may not normally connect with.I highly recommend if you're fans of Jenny Han or Nicola Yoon or David Yoon. It's a great contemporary YA romance set in a beautiful city.I received a copy of this book from Epic Reads for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.
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  • Merb
    January 1, 1970
    Loveboat, Taipei follows dancing enthusiast Ever, who has spent all eighteen years of her life following the strict guidelines and lifestyle of her parents, forcing her to have the dream of being a doctor, when all she wants to do is dance. Her parents send her packing her bags from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin, without realising that the students at this school do not have the same ambitions as her parents - they want to drink, party, have sex and find a lifelong partner. Tentative at Loveboat, Taipei follows dancing enthusiast Ever, who has spent all eighteen years of her life following the strict guidelines and lifestyle of her parents, forcing her to have the dream of being a doctor, when all she wants to do is dance. Her parents send her packing her bags from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin, without realising that the students at this school do not have the same ambitions as her parents - they want to drink, party, have sex and find a lifelong partner. Tentative at first, Ever dives into the crazy shenanigans of Loveboat, whilst harbouring guilt towards her parents. Loveboat, Taipei proved to be a rather average contemporary, with lacklustre, dull characters but a good theme and discussion on relevant contemporary issues. My personal disappointment with this book and what took it from a 3.5 stars to 3, was how easily problems were resolved. This book was tackling mature, adult trauma and cultural expectations, and did not do that justice. After what Ever's parents had been through and how they treated her their entire life, the disconnect and behaviour between them would not have been resolved that easily. I get this story wanted to focus on Ever finally being able to live a little, but it did this book a disservice to neglect the amount of time and challenge it takes for adults to change systemic beliefs. Just my two cents, maybe I am wrong.Ever could easily have been a spoilt and ungrateful teenager, but she constantly harboured guilt and determination, so she was a likeable character to follow. She lacked personality traits that did not work to create or further the plot. There was an annoying love triangle, and a guy that creepily drew portraits of her, which was deemed romantic? Odd. There was a negative friendship dynamic where someone treated their friend repulsively, and was very easily forgiven. Not a great message for teenagers who often suffer from toxic friendships. I liked the discussion on being in a relationship with someone suffering from a mental health disorder, and how that should not dictate the discourse of unequal treatment within said relationship. Of course, this book also tackled the struggles and detachment young people face when their parents migrate to a different country, but still harbour strict beliefs and values of their origin country. At the end of the day, I enjoyed this but think it needed some more serious editing on what to focus on. I guess this was just another book with potential that tried to tackle way too much. Less is always more.
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  • Mimi
    January 1, 1970
    Me: the perfect YA book doesn't exist.Loveboat, Taipei: Hold my beer.Do I dare say, three days into the new year, that this is already one of my favorite reads of the year? I do!Listen, I picked this book up because someone pitched it to me as "Gossip Girl, but make it diverse and add realistic drama" (you know, not things like selling a girl for a hotel but rather trying to meet your parents' expectations while forging your own way in life). And boy oh boy, were they right. This was the perfect Me: the perfect YA book doesn't exist.Loveboat, Taipei: Hold my beer.Do I dare say, three days into the new year, that this is already one of my favorite reads of the year? I do!Listen, I picked this book up because someone pitched it to me as "Gossip Girl, but make it diverse and add realistic drama" (you know, not things like selling a girl for a hotel but rather trying to meet your parents' expectations while forging your own way in life). And boy oh boy, were they right. This was the perfect blend of drama, funny and heartfelt moments and a dash of steamy romance. Following Ever as she is (forcibly) sent to Taiwan by her parents to attend a highly acclaimed program to learn Chinese and solidify her position as one of the soon-to-be great doctors of her generation, things take a turn for the hilarious when Ever finds out that the program is one big hook-up place used by teens to live out their wildest fantasies for eight weeks away from home. Not used to not being censored by her parents at every turn, Ever soon blossoms into she always knew she wanted to be. I loved Ever so much. She's quickly become one of my favorite protagonists in YA contemporary. She was just so real!! Her struggle to hold on to the things she loves while also not wanting to disappoint her family that's been controlling every one of her decisions for the better part of her life was heartbreaking. During her time in Taiwan, she learns that breaking the rules her parents set for her isn't what matters and instead learns to follow her heart and set her own rules. What I loved most about this book is that no character is one-dimensional. Everyone has their own fears, their own aspirations, and they all make mistakes. But instead of holding grudges or becoming annoying characters, everyone learns from their mistakes and grows. Everyone has flaws but this story showed that it isn't important to be perfect but to be able to grow.If you've been feeling like me lately and need a breath of fresh air from your contemporaries, I highly recommend reading this one. At the end of last year I was ready to give up on YA because it felt like it had become a genre that read like run of the mill tropes and books. Loveboat, Taipei reignited my love for the young adult genre and gave me hope.A beautiful, addictive and diverse read. Cannot wait to pick up whatever Abigail Hing Wen writes next.*Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own*
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as i did to be honest. I requested it on a whim and i'm very pleased I did!The characters are great and the plot is a whole lot of fun. Would recommend!
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I figured I would love Loveboat, Taipei based on its comparison to Crazy, Rich Asians. Not to mention my current mood for some YA contemporary. But what I didn't realize is how much I would love Loveboat, Taipei. Wen manages to balance this romantic thrum with important discussions of tropes and beauty standards. Loveboat, Taipei strikes the perfect balance between introspective, (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I figured I would love Loveboat, Taipei based on its comparison to Crazy, Rich Asians. Not to mention my current mood for some YA contemporary. But what I didn't realize is how much I would love Loveboat, Taipei. Wen manages to balance this romantic thrum with important discussions of tropes and beauty standards. Loveboat, Taipei strikes the perfect balance between introspective, thoughtful, and fun. Because of the sacrifices her parents have made for future, Ever is stuck between their images of her future and her own heart. With dance in her blood and her inability to see blood, Ever has to figure out how she can fight for her future and her family. Loveboat, Taipei isn't only about Ever's future, it's also a story full of romance, stolen nights, and characters who tackle tropes. Firmly rooted in Ever's identity as the child of her immigrant parents, Ever struggles with the weight of their dreams. The guilt from their expectations on her shoulders. The way the sacrifices of our parents pull us towards a future without the essence of ourselves. Not only does Ever struggle with family expectations, but Wen portrays a variety of characters struggling with this very issue. With our family's expectations for our romantic future, for the dreams, for the ways we disappoint them. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/blog...
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    I HAS IT -----------------------A POC ROM-COMMMM I HAS IT 😭🙌 -----------------------A POC ROM-COMMMM
  • Katie☆
    January 1, 1970
    This was just a great read, I loved it so much!! I was waiting for this book to come out since it was announced and I’m so happy that I have read it! The book gave me a Crazy Rich Asians and a little bit of a To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before vibe which I loved! I thought that it was so cool that the book was inspired by an actual summer programs attended by thousands of Asian-American teens since the 1960’s!! I would definitely recommend this book and hope everybody reads it. This was just a great read, I loved it so much!! I was waiting for this book to come out since it was announced and I’m so happy that I have read it! The book gave me a Crazy Rich Asians and a little bit of a To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before vibe which I loved! I thought that it was so cool that the book was inspired by an actual summer programs attended by thousands of Asian-American teens since the 1960’s!! I would definitely recommend this book and hope everybody reads it😃.
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