Tag Archives: love

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack

9781499805529

by Daniel Haack
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

Cute rhyming tale of a prince whose parents are in search of a princess for their son. Along the way, the prince meets a dragon badly in need of slaying, and he fights the dragon alongside a knight, whom he falls in love with. And they all lived happily ever after. The illustrations are delightful (and possibly done digitally? though unclear from the artist’s website).

American Panda by Gloria Chao

9781481499101

by Gloria Chao
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Mei Lu is a freshman at MIT (because her parents said so; she skipped a grade and they dictated the college); pre-med (because her parents said so; she’s a germophobe), effectively an only child (because her parents said so; they disowned her brother), but also, American (because her parents said so; they sacrificed everything for her and her brother). But when her American identity clashes with their very strict, very traditional Chinese beliefs, there’s trouble ahead. Big trouble. And not all of it is named Darren Takahashi, a fellow freshman who steals her heart.

Mei also has to forge her own relationship with her brother, change her major from pre-med to, well, almost anything else (as long as it involves math, which she loves), continue to dance and teach dance, and pursue a relationship with Darren – all without her parents finding out. If they find out, she’ll be disowned just like her brother, Xing. Of course, she starts off the book being an obedient (if conflicted) daughter, so these are not her goals at the outset, and her journey to having the strength to go against her parents is the fascinating part. I loved watching Mei grow and also feel like my own compassion for my Taiwanese friends has taken on new depths. One, a college roommate, is now an artist and I can’t imagine what she had to go through to get where she is today. I also enjoyed watching Mei and her roommate, Nicolette’s, relationship grow. Best of all, I loved hearing Mei narrate what goes on for her when she dances, even times when dancing fails to help her work through whatever’s got her down. And of course, I enjoyed seeing MIT’s campus and Chinatown here in Boston through Mei’s (and Chao’s) eyes.

There is much discussion (though not graphically) of sex and STDs, as Mei shadows her campus health center gynecologist for the day. The gynecologist, a young doctor named Tina Cheng, is an interesting if not entirely believable character, so timid she is able to be pushed around by Mei into letting her shadow for the day when some issues of patient confidentiality come up. Mei’s relationship with Darren is limited to kissing and nothing else, so there’s not much there that’s unsuitable for younger teen readers (I’d even give it to some precocious middle schoolers, honestly).

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

9781481478687

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi… he already knew they were being set up by their parents, but she didn’t. So when he led with “Hello, future wife,” she understandably freaks out, throws her iced coffee on him, and runs away. Unfortunately, they’ve both signed up for the same 6-week pre-college app coding program, so getting away from him for good turns out to be futile, as is resisting his charms. Somehow, he’s the total package: nerdy, cute, funny, sensitive, suave (well except for the future wife part). Dimple, however, is not interested. She isn’t even sure she wants to get married, ever, since it would (she thinks) detract from her life goals of coding apps and programs to help change people’s lives.

After an alarmingly short time, Rishi has won Dimple over, so clearly that’s not the real conflict of the story. The real conflict is in two parts: one in which Dimple helps Rishi discover his real career ambitions, and one in which Rishi helps Dimple realize she can be in a relationship and be a career woman. There’s also a couple of side plots involving Dimple’s roommate at the summer program, a girl named Celia whose new friends turn out to be jerks. Celia and Rishi’s brother, Ashish, have a past that comes back up, and also Celia has to figure out how to dump her new friends – and come around to the understanding that she needs to lose them.

I guess I was expecting that the main story would be Rishi winning Dimple over, but in the end I’m glad that’s not what it was. I’m glad that Dimple was a little bit more complex than that, and really grappled with commitment to a relationship AND to her career ambitions, and all at the low low age of 18. Rishi is so level-headed that he stops them from having sex on not one but two different occasions so that they can really sort through how they feel about it (it’s the first time for both of them). I was a little disappointed that neither of them walked us through their thought process at all, or seemed to give it any thought other than when actively making out and heading down that road. And it didn’t seem to have any great effect on either of them, not even, most surprisingly, for Rishi the romantic. Both of their relationships with their parents (and, for Rishi, his brother) had plenty of nuance, which I loved, and things came together neatly and satisfyingly.

Geek love like: Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

Generic love like: Anna and the French Kiss