Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SEEING EMILY by Joyce Lee Wong

SEEING EMILY

By Joyce Lee Wong

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8109-5757-4
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

In this coming-of-age montage, a Chinese-American teen discovers her world is “richer with the music of two languages, the rhythm of two cultures.” American-born Emily has loving Chinese parents, two best friends, good grades, artistic talent and her first boyfriend, yet she’s “yearning for something new.” A devoted, obedient daughter, Emily helps out in her parents’ Chinese restaurant. Her American girlfriends urge her to be more “elegant” by wearing make-up, while her shallow American boyfriend unwittingly racially stereotypes Emily by wanting her to look more “exotic.” Afraid to disappoint anyone, Emily just wants to spread her wings and be herself. She’s happiest when absorbed in her painting. Only after spending the summer in Taipei learning Chinese does Emily connect with her heritage and realize she can be at home in both worlds. Writing in free verse laden with Chinese images, Emily charts her progress from childhood to first romance to discovering her real self. The poetic form proves the perfect vehicle for Emily’s unique voice. Sensitive and finely crafted. (Fiction. 14+)