Justina Chen Headley is on blog tour this week. She's stopping by tomorrow, which is awesome, because this entire week has been about hanging out with awesome women. Even if the other kickass women I hung out with this week are from college and Justina went to Stanford instead of Grinnell. But when you can take a few days off work to stay up until 5 am to hang out with some of your favorite people in the world? We didn't even care when, for some reason the power went off from 2 until 3.
But, just like I cleaned the house for my in-person friends, I'm madly preparing (of course, at the last minute) for Justina's visit, by reviewing 2 of her books! (I reviewed Girl Overboard last spring, here.
North of Beautiful
On the outside, Terra is an almost perfect specimen, except for the port wine stain on her face. She even has a boyfriend that she doesn't deserve. Her father is an asshole and her mother eats in rebellion. Terra's older brothers have, for all intents and purposes, fled. Terra works on her body to avoid her father's barbs. She works in her art studio to find the truth. Then, she meets Jacob, the adopted Chinese goth boy with a cleft lip. Jacob sees through all of Terra's defenses and calls her on them. What follows is a trip to China and an exploration of true beauty.
This is totally Justina's best book to date and deserves all the starred reviews it's been receiving. There is a lot in this book--family, beauty, love, geocaching, modern China, and finding and accepting yourself. All without being cheesy or trying to cram too much in. I most appreciated the family dynamics and how each member dealt with Terra's father, especially the tensions between her parents. And, being the Sinophile that I am, I really loved China parts. They capture perfectly the frenetic pace of Shanghai today, as well as some finer moments of Chinese society (and some of the more frustrating differences in cultures.)
Be sure to stop by tomorrow! Justina will give away an autographed copy and we'll talk about modern China!
(Full disclosure: ARC provided by publisher)
Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies)
Patty is half-Taiwanese, half-white, but her white father ran off years ago. She doesn't know how to fit in her skin, embarrassed by her mother's weird Chinese things, but feels like she's betraying her when she disses them. Really, Patty just wishes she was white.
Then, her mother sends her off to Stanford math camp, where she discovers that in many places, being Hapa (half-Asian, half-white) is considered beautiful and meets some really hot Asian guys. Maybe she's cooler than she thought...
Patty is hysterical, and I especially loved the Mama Lecture Series and when she tries to prove life lessons with geometric proofs:
The Patty Ho Happy Camper Theorem
Given: Math Camp is a done deal.
Prove: It is the open door I'm supposed to run through this summer
She then proves it, but I can't figure out how to do columns on this thing, so you'll just have to read the book to check out the awesomeness.