I was very excited to hear from my publisher that Dragon Chica has received its first official review, and it’s a 5-star review on GoodReads.com!
It’s gratifying after working more than a decade on a novel to know that there’s someone out there who really liked it.
I’ve posted the text here with one sentence’s ending left blank (you’ll see where) because it kinda gives away one plot point. However, if you’ve read my short story, “Saving Sourdi,” it won’t be a surprise to you. 😉
If you want to read the review on the GoodReads site, here’s the link to “Tara’s Reviews”: GoodReads.com Review of DragonChica
Tara C.’s GoodReads.com Review of Dragon Chica:
There are so many issues addressed in this novel, I’m not really sure where to start. It is about a Chinese/Cambodian family that has survived the land mines and the work camps of war torn Cambodia and ended up in small town Nebraska in the 1980s running a Chinese restaurant.
It’s about a mother trying to raise 5 children in a new country singlehanded. It’s about two sisters and their love/hate relationship. One sister had it all at one time, beauty, brains, children, wealth. Now she has nothing and must watch the sister who at one time had very little, enjoy having so much more. A new country means new opportunities. It’s about being an immigrant in small town America and dealing with prejudice in school. It’s about making choices for yourself and not letting anyone else make them for you.
Nea is eleven when the story begins. She is one of the 5 children mentioned above. Her mother, herself, and her siblings join her crazy, bitter aunt and wealthy uncle in Nebraska to run a Chinese restaurant. The aunt is the sister who one time had it all. There are a lot of issues between the sisters and Nea sees it all even tho she doesn’t always understand it. Nea has her own sister problems as she watches her own 16 year old sister… [*Note from May-lee: I cut the end of this sentence as it does give away one plot point. If you don’t mind and want to know NOW what Tara wrote, then click on the link to GoodReads]. Nea must come to terms with the loss of her best friend and companion. Who will she lean on now when things get tough at school? And they will get tough in school.
Nea grows up while working in the restaurant and struggles with her imperfections. Seems everyone is always eager to point out her flaws and not quite so quick to point out her good traits. The ending has a surprise that somewhat explains why she is treated differently. The revelation may change how Nea sees herself.
There are stories and memories of war torn Cambodia in between the scandals (don’t mess with the wrestling team!) and daily living in Nebraska. Imagine walking on dead bodies simply to avoid any live bombs. After all, where there is a dead body, there is an already detonated bomb.
I really liked this but I have made this review long enough. Even tho I didn’t agree with everything the family or characters did and at times, didn’t like some of them, the story was about real life and had a very real feel. The heroine is spunky, honest, and very likeable.
Laugh out loud moment: When attacked by some bullies in school, Nea strikes back with both fists and words, “Hey, p*ndejo! I’m gonna kick your cajones! Tu madre es p*ta!” (I read a digital galley so this may change before publication.) [Note from May-lee: Don’t worry, it’s not going to be cut.]
You gotta love a gal with that kind of fire. Dragon Chica, indeed. 🙂
[Final note: Tara was able to get an advanced galley to review through http://www.netgalley.com, which is open to bloggers and other reviewers who regularly write reviews of books. I have Tara’s full name, but as she posts online with only her first name, I have respected that. However, if I hear from her and she wants me to include her full name here on my blog, I will be very happy to do so.]
Dragon Chica will be available at bookstores and from online booksellers beginning this October 2010.