Author: Justina Chen Headley
Published: 2006; Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A
All her life, Patty Ho has felt incomplete. Incomplete because she's half white and half Taiwanese, and doesn't really fit in anywhere. Incomplete because her white father left her when she was two. Incomplete because her strict Taiwanese mother worships Patty's older brother (he's going to Harvard, you know). So when a fortune-telling grandmother spies a white guy on Patty's horizon, Patty's no-nonsense mom decides to ship her away to Stanford math camp. Just when Patty's sure that her summer is going to be a major bust, life starts looking up...With the help of her friends, a camp love interest, and a long-lost relative, Patty might just find herself along the way.
My thoughts: Justina Chen Headley writes meaningfully and lovingly in a way that makes me think that she based the story off of her real-life experiences. The writing was so rich and deeply written, and I loved the diverse cast of well-developed characters. Not only bi-racial teens will be able to relate to Patty: the way that she told her story really had me rooting for her to overcome all odds, and she was honest and humorous. I also loved Patty's mom and how the author totally had me thinking that she was a horrible, harsh person. And, of course, all the people that Patty met at math camp were wonderful and realistic: I loved all the adventures that Jasmine and Patty shared.
Although the book starts off very slowly, Ms. Headley had the great ability of being able to wrap it all up in the end. I closed the book with a smile, wanting more of her writing! If you're looking for a meaningful, sincere, and still funny story about acceptance and family, then I'd highly recommend Nothing but the Truth.