Let me just start with:
I’m Chinese. And this book has a Chinese main character. And this was my reaction to the book:
I loved this book, okay? This book was the combination of my utter asian self, a relatable teen, and EVERYTHING I WANT FROM A YA book.
Ergo, this book is good.
This book will be published on August 8th.
So… I loved this book.
Basically, before I read this book I heard about it from bookish Twitter. And of course, hearing that it was Asian YA, I WAS INTERESTED. (I have a slight obsession with Asian YA.) And of course, all of the goodreads reviews were raving about this book. Because it’s a great book.
Genie is a fierce character that I love and honestly, I would be honored to be friends with her and Yunie if they were real people. There’s also some Chinese used in this book*, which I loved, and it’s easy enough so that if you don’t speak Chinese you get the gist of what they’re talking about.
She PUNCHES Quentin when they meet. She is SUCH an angry asian. I WANT TO MEET HER. Except I don’t want her to punch me.
Look at this quote.
Genie’s relationship with her friend, Yunie, was so sweet and I love the all-asian cast. Yunie is mischievous and constantly loves “trolling” Genie at many turns, and it was just so relatable and I love their friendship.
Both Genie and Yunie were “unfortunately” named Eugenia, so they had a treaty where they took different halves of the name.
Everything is honestly so funny and I don’t think I’ve laughed as many times reading this book as any other.
Genie’s voice is already incredibly easy and fun to read and conversational, especially since she uses modern language, which I absolutely loved. It helped me to really sink into this world and be more drawn into the experience.
The tagline of this book is “A demon invasion is no excuse for bad grades,” and I love it! Besides the mythological aspect of this book, Genie has to focus on schoolwork and getting into a college, which is something that IS pushed upon in many Asian families.
Quentin, the male lead, was so incredibly cute. He’s short, and his relationship with Genie was maddeningly adorable. He’s great with kids, and acts so goofy sometimes.
The magical aspect of this world was also incredibly easy to understand. It incorporates Chinese mythology- specifically the legend of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, and while I was reading about it, in my mind I was going- I KNOW THAT!
Seriously, the next morning, I started asking my mom about Sun Wukong, and her response was “Of course I know that!”
The myth just brought me a sense of familiarity that I am so happy about. See, during my childhood, I was watching the Monkey King tv shows. Other people were watching Dora or Sesame Street, but I was watching old Chinese television shows.
Yep, my childhood was epic.
I would have never thought of this myth being in a YA book but F.C. Yee (the author of this book) pulled it off so well, and it wasn’t awkward at all!
The incorporation of Genie into that story was also interesting as well. I’m not going to mention Genie’s role in the legend, because that’s kind of spoiler-y, but it works. It works in a way that I would have never thought of.
As for the romance. If you look at the legend, it seems so weird, but again, this book pulled it off. Quentin and Genie are basically the ultimate duo and they’re so cute together! Quentin is short and Genie is a tall girl, and you almost never see that in books.
- Thanks to the publisher for giving me an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review! This did not impact my review in any way.
- All quotes are from the uncorrected version and must be checked against a final copy.
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
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All in all, the main idea is: I love this book very, very much and you should read it.
YES TO ASIAN YA, okay?
Do you want to read this book? Do you have an appreciation for Asian YA? Are you an angry human in general?