Friday, September 08, 2006

Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley

Patty Ho is trying to figure out what it means to be Patty Ho. Half white, half Asian, she's uncomfortable with both, since her white father left them and her Taiwanese mom is stricter-than-strict - and (thanks to her dad) very suspicious of white guys. This means Patty can't date, and when a Chinese fortune teller tells Patty's mom that Patty will marry a white guy, her mom decides the best place for Patty this summer is math camp at Stanford - where she's sure to meet a nice Asian boy.
And she's right. Patty doesn't want to be at math camp, but she's surprised by the people she meets there. Although unnaturally fond of math, most of the other kids at camp are fun, and when Patty meets Stu, a nice Asian boy who's going to be a doctor, math camp might turn out to be just what her mother ordered...
At first I thought this book tried too hard, and I didn't really like Patty. But I kept reading, and while I still think the author sometimes strains to be witty, I really liked the "hapa" Patty becomes. I loved the fact that this book makes being smart and going to math camp look cool, and I loved it that Patty didn't just start to figure out who she is, but that she's worth standing up for.

What I'm reading: Anyone But You by Lara M. Zeises
On My Bookshelf: Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman


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