The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong

L Tam Holland, Author
L. Tam Holland. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4424-1264-4
Reviewed on: 05/20/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
Paperback - 357 pages - 978-1-4424-1265-1
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4424-1266-8
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An assignment to write an essay on family history kickstarts a high school sophomore’s mission to understand his hyphenated identity in this funny and profane first novel. All Vee knows about his Texas grandparents is that their annual Christmas card always makes his mother cry; his father, meanwhile, left China for college and never looked back. Already in trouble for lackluster academics, Vee can’t get his parents to talk about their pasts, so he completes the essay by inventing a backstory for his father’s family in a fishing village along the Yangtze. After he gets away with that, he’s on a roll. The question of when Vee’s lies and machinations will catch up with him gives the second half of this novel some much-needed tension. Vee is intelligent and self-effacing, and he’s also the yin to Sherman Alexie’s yang. Whereas Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was determined to better himself despite poverty and a dysfunctional family, Vee is a privileged kid with wonderful parents who travels a long, tortured path to find there’s no place like home. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joëlle Delbourgo, Joëlle Delbourgo Associates. (July)
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