Today is a day for celebration because I have received my first EVER arc from Goodreads! I didn’t get the email telling me that I had won it, so when it came in the mail I was flabbergasted. I have never won a giveaway from Goodreads let alone an ARC! Anyways, I was so excited to get this that I read it the day that I got it – even though I’m posting this review a month afterwards. Enough about me though. Here’s the review:
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
Ladies, gents and everyone else, I present to you – GOOD PARENTS! Come closer, soak it all in. Bathe in the radiant glow of home cooked meals and functional households. Delight at the voice yelling at you downstairs. Marvel at this once in a chance lifetime in the carnival known as ‘young adult books’.
All jokes aside, I was really happy to have this representation in here. Perhaps it’s because all my friends and their parents are Asian, but I feel as though real parents are so underrepresented in Young Adult fiction these days. It’s even rarer to have healthy parental separations detailed in pages. Sure, Genie’s parents aren’t exactly on good terms – but they generally talk about each other civilly and don’t create unnecessary drama. Separation doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
There was also plenty of humour was present throughout the book, and the sexual innuendos were slyly hidden in places that those not familiar with the terms would not be able to find. The characters are young enough for those who have just reached the double digits to relate to, and old enough for those who are leaving teen years to see some resemblance of themselves in. However, the writing was a little on the young side. It was extremely fast to the point where important things found themselves rushed over. Because of this, it might not appeal to older readers who like their books to be a little more fleshed out.
This book tackled two contrasting genres. I say tackled, because if you cut the book in half and compared the two different sides – it might appear as though they were entirely different books. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy both sides. Both were enjoyable in their own right, they just didn’t mesh all that well together. The first half focused more on friends / family, while the second half went a bit haywire with the demon invasion. If you’re wondering, the second half appeared to have a lot less substance than the first.
The second half was the one that focused primarily on the demons, but it also…kind of didn’t? It was way too rushed to really learn anything or even understand what was going on. I constantly forgot the demon’s names. There was little to no family or friends involved, which is odd considering how close they had all seemed at the beginning. YES, it makes sense that they would grow slightly apart due to the whole demon thing. They shouldn’t have to become complete strangers though. However, the relationship dynamic between Quentin and Genie began to improve in the second part. They started acting more like a team and I fell in love with them. So much so that I could almost forgive the sudden change in her mother’s over protectiveness and her best friends willingness to be in her life. Ahh. If only it had been more clearly stated in the book.
I have to be honest. At the beginning of the book I was worried that it was going to turn into one of those cliche ‘gorgeous new boy walks into the room and ends up being an angel’. Well, I mean it does kind of go something along the same lines, but it has none of the abhorrent tropes that go with it. There is no obsessive, over-protective boyfriend. There is no scarily fast acceptance of said new boy stalking the main character. There is minimal presence of special snowflake symptoms. By that I mean that sure, this is a retelling, you can assume that the main character has a special part to play in that. But school work? Family life? Trying to get into uni? That’s as normal as normal can be.
I’m missing out the best part! It was so refreshing to see something other than the standard tall white brooding guy and the tiny white and friendless girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with them mind you, but they can get a little boring at times. There were lines and lines of Chinese, as well as some Spanish, riddled into the book which enhanced the story and boosted the realism of the characters. Not only that, but they mentioned BUBBLE TEA! If you have to know anything about me, just remember that this has been my favourite drink for the past five months. I felt such a rush when I found it in this book (which might be a little odd, I realise). In fact, the representation that the book portrays as a whole is brilliant. Genie’s mum doesn’t know all of the English words for everything. Genie’s an avid working, but it isn’t overpowering etc.
Despite all the praise that I have heaped upon this book, there were some things that I had an issue with. I mentioned the first under my ‘plot’ subheading. The book felt a little out of sorts with itself. The second would have to be an issue with the characters. There is a boy named Androu who appears quite frequently in the book who is, in my opinion, redundant and unnecessary as a character.
He is introduced to us as someone unattainable, but is apparently a good friend of hers? Or at least, that’s how it appears with the way he constantly looks out for her and starts chatting to her parents. However, aside from those intimate moments they have zero contact with each other. None. Zilch. It would be as if Justin Bieber suddenly started acting as though you were childhood besties, even though you only know if through a screen. Odd.
There were also other things such as: Genie being seen as an object by Quentin at the beginning. This made me highly uncomfortable while reading it, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I’m glad with the way it was resolved but still… Anyways, I gave this:
I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you read this book yet? Did you enjoy it as much as I did, or perhaps you had a completely different experience with it? Please don’t forget to follow by email / wordpress / twitter / insta if you enjoyed my content ♡