Book Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Friday, November 20, 2020

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Young Adult Fiction // Categories: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Format: Audiobook • 11 hours 3 minutes
Rating: 3 stars

Please prepare yourselves, I have an unpopular opinion 😬

Loveboat, Taipei follows a Chinese American girl named Ever who wants to become a dancer, but her parents reject her dream and push her toward going to medical school and becoming a doctor. To assure obedience, they send her to Taiwan for the summer to attend an educational program—but Ever quickly realizes that this program (nicknamed "Loveboat") is actually the hottest place for teens to meet, party, and hook up. Ever enjoys this freedom away from her parents by breaking all of their rules (no drinking, no boyfriend, dress appropriately, etc.), and of course, consequences follow.

Ultimately, I gave Loveboat, Taipei three stars because I didn't like how the characters were written. One was TOO perfect and equally boring (we were told a lot of great things about him, but I personally did not see the appeal of anything he said or did), and the only person that had a good level of depth was done so dirty ... WHO HURT ABIGAIL HING WEN!!! He had the most impressive and intriguing backstory, but nothing happened with it ..........

I really wish this book worked for me because I love this theme of trying to balance "doing what you love" vs. "doing what your parents want for you." Being a Chinese American with immigrant parents, I understand this conflict and I LOVE that there's a book for teens exploring this. Ever recognizes this privilege she's been given because of her parents' sacrifices, but she doesn't believe that gives them the right to dictate her future. (Side note: Isn't it ironic how Asian parents want their kids to do all these extracurricular activities—musical instruments, sports, dance, art, etc.—but oh no, you are NEVER to pursue it as a career!!!)

Even though the plot was fun and had a lot going on (read: DRAMA, my favorite), it lacked the character development I wanted. I think "the punch" of this book could've been more impactful if the characters were better defined, especially because the conflict that Ever deals with is something that many Asian American teens face.


What did you think about Loveboat, Taipei? If you haven't read it, please recommend some of your favorite books that follow a Chinese American main character!

1 comment

  1. ooh I definitely agree with the character development aspect! the story itself is so fun to read but i think there was so much potential that abigail hing wen could have done with specific characters and the overall theme about balancing parental expectations and personal interests! :)

    riv @ small stained pages