7 hours 32 mins | Simon & Schuster Audio | Contemporary YA | 02/06/2018
I’ll admit I didn’t mean to read this book. I was listening to audiobook samples on Scribd, trying to find something to listen to when I accidentally clicked on American Panda. By the time I started driving I couldn’t change it and before I was home… I was really into it.
At seventeen years old, Mei Lu is starting her first year at MIT. She is just a few steps away from completing her parent’s plans for her to become a doctor, marry a good Taiwanese man and have Taiwanese babies. But now that she is on her own Mei is starting to feel the tension between the Taiwanese and American cultures she straddles. She starts to question the things she’s always believed and to make things worse she’s falling for a spiky-haired Japanese co-ed named Darrin.
American Panda is a story about family, empathy and discovering who you are; it’s perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, especially because of how the romance and mother/daughter storyline evolves. Darrin even has a little “manic pixie dream dude” in him. I have always struggled with YA romances but this one was perfectly executed.