Skip to main content

Bitter Melon


Bitter Melon is a YA literary fiction novel, written by debut author Cara Chow.

Frances needs to get all As in her classes. She needs to improve her SAT score. She needs to take calculus. She needs to get into Berkeley and become a doctor. She needs to do this, because this is what her mother has been working towards all these years and set her sights on. Frances accepts this and recognizes how hard her mother works, how bad her mother's health is becoming, and tries her best to meet the standards her mother demands.

But when Frances finds herself electrified and inspired by a new teacher, she's nearly devastated to realize she's in the wrong class. Instead of calculus, she was enrolled accidentally into a speech class. She knows she should fix it right away, and get into the calculus class that may be her key to getting into Berkeley, but this is the first class Frances has ever been interested in. And soon she realizes she has a talent she'd never known before. A talent her mother would find inconsequential and distracting to their goals.

Yet... Frances begins to question whose goals she is desperately trying to fulfill - hers, or her mother's? Does she even want to be a doctor? How come she can never date or get a part-time job? How come nothing she does ever seems good enough?

The speech class acts as a catalyst to changing thoughts - changes that may completely take Frances on a different path than the one that has been set up for her since birth... if she can only find the courage to follow through.

Bitter Melon was amazing. A truly astounding first novel from an author I will keep an eye on from now on. Fellow book lovers, you seriously need to read Bitter Melon!

It's stark and believable, a family drama that presents a raw portrait of love, control, and the unbearable pressure of expectations. There's a sad realism to Bitter Melon, almost making it hard and uncomfortable read at times - but to tear your eyes away from it would be to deny yourself the story of Frances, a character who's strength seems to be simmering below the surface.

This lovely YA novel is tense and suspenseful in that agonizing human way - dramatic without losing its groundedness. Bitter Melon is blistering with truth and integrity - an inspiring, uplifting, honest coming-of-age journey. Cara Chow writes beautifully and lyrically - keeping everything simple but powerful. She has an interesting way of letting the reader consider both sides to every issue presented, and making my own opinion of the matter sway and bend.

Sometimes searingly painful to read, right up to its hurtful, bitterly realistic, part-victorious, part-questioning end, I found Bitter Melon to be a stunning book - giving me chills and tears in my eyes at its magnificent, riveting end. This is literary fiction at its best.

Yeah, you've gotta read this.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reckless

Reckless is a YA fantasy adventure by the ever-revered (for good reason) Cornelia Funke.

Jacob Reckless has been passing through a mirror portal in his father's forgotten (or, rather, ignored) study for years now. After his father disappeared and his mother became a shell of her former self, he found it. Since then, it's been hard to stay tethered to his world - instead, he's become more and more connected to the alternative option.

In fact, he's managed to make a name for himself as a treasure hunter. And always by his side is a loyal vixen named Fox, a shape-shifter. She's probably the closest thing he has to a friend - but Jacob still considers himself a loner. But he's become comfortable with the different creatures, monsters, and magic this world has to offer - even though right now they are at war with a stone people called Goyl. None of that interests him. He just seeks out his mysterious objects and fetches good prices.

But that's all about to change. …

Real Live Boyfriends

Real Live Boyfriends is a YA contemporary novel by E. Lockhart, and the fourth novel in the Ruby Oliver quartet.

Here we are on the last day of “Ruby Oliver Week” and if you aren’t already reading these books – well, why not?

But I’m more than sure most of you are – and hopefully you’re all caught up, and therefore not at risk of being spoiled by my review of Real Live Boyfriends. You’ve been warned!

Ruby Oliver is beginning her senior year of high school with a real live boyfriend: Noel.

At least she thought she was.

After having spent the rest of junior year and the beginning of summer being fully in love (okay, they never actually said the word, but the vibes were strongly in that direction), Ruby is now confused.

Again.

When Noel went to visit his brother in New York for a while, almost every day they talked on the phone and exchanged funny emails. She never once felt insecure.

Until all of a sudden – communication stopped. Ruby would call and he wouldn’t answer. She’d leave a voice mai…

Titanic: S.O.S.

S.O.S. is the third and final book in Gordon Korman's middle-grade Titanic trilogy.

This is the third book in a trilogy, book addicts! You must, I repeat, must read the first two books (Unsinkable and Collision Course) before you read this review. Otherwise you are just going to ruin all the twists! Sure, we know the Titanic sinks - but the surprises that are revealed about our characters, among other things, should not be spoiled!

But all of you that have read the first two books (which I hope are many of you, because this a great series), can rest assured that I won't spoil anything from S.O.S. itself - just a basic recap and my opinion.

Here goes:

The Titanic is sinking. No one wants to believe it, but the bow is almost imperceptibly starting to dip into the freezing Atlantic Ocean - and our four main characters are thrown into a race for survival.

Paddy is locked up below deck, having finally been caught as a stowaway. In one cell over are the very criminals that wish him dead…