BITTER MELON by Cara Chow

BITTER MELON

Age Range: 11 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Frances, Fei Ting to her China-born mother, starts her last year of high school with the pressure on—get perfect grades in hard classes, improve her SATs by at least 200 points and get accepted to Berkeley, where she must study medicine to become wealthy enough to support her bitter, abusive mother. She’s inadvertently enrolled in a speech class with a gifted teacher who gently guides her to take control of her own life. Frances begins lying to her mother about small steps she falteringly takes toward independence. A minor romance with a hunky student from another school, Derek, leads to further deceit, but he provides her with a bit of emotional support, something she’s never received at home. Her maturing understanding of the poisonous relationship she has with her mother is nicely portrayed in the text of speeches she gives at competitions. While the first-person narration remains narrowly self-focused, with other, rather stereotypical characters only broadly sketched, it does illuminate the demanding expectations of “stage parents” and the frustrations of their driven offspring. (Fiction. 11 & up)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60684-126-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Egmont USA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2010




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