Although Namioka (Ties that Bind, Ties that Break) does not seem as attuned to the nuances of her characters' thoughts and dialogue here as in her previous novels, her exploration of a cultural divide will fascinate readers. Sue Hua and her family have just moved from Seattle to a predominantly white suburb. When Sue lands a spot playing the viola in the high school orchestra, her white classmates think she's be a perfect match for Andy Suzuki, the gifted Japanese-American violinist-but Sue's Chinese-American family harbors raw emotions left over from China's war with Japan. When Andy first asks her out, for instance, she makes up an excuse (""Sue wanted to hug him and tell him she was protecting him, not rejecting him""). Namioka explains, at times in awkward expository passages, the history between the two cultures, as well as some of the more interesting subtleties, such as the differences between Japanese and Chinese chopsticks or typical dress for Chinese and Japanese women. Sue and Andy both struggle with the question of what it means to be a real American as they travel to Tokyo for a concert and embark on a journey that broadens their horizons-intellectually and emotionally. The rigidity of the narration and dialogue fades as the story progresses. Ages 10-14.
Reviewed on: 01/30/2006 Release date: 02/01/2006 Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-43356-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 217 pages - 978-0-440-23879-9