As Chloe Wang prepares to leave her University of Chicago campus for a long Thanksgiving break back home in California, she packs a suitcase, turns in her assignments, and hires a fake boyfriend to join her family’s holiday celebration.
It may seem like a familiar fairy tale. A step-mother, two step-siblings, and a girl who isn’t glamorous. But instead of Prince Charming or a fairy godmother, the object of the girl’s interest is a ghost. Western ghosts (pace Casper, who had to be explicitly labelled “friendly”) are usually malevolent in some way; two new books—one from Danish writer HS Norup, who spent four years in Singapore, and the other from Malaysian writer Hanna Alkaf—feature Asian ghosts who are decidedly more sympathetic.
Kiki, a thirteen-year-old witch in training, leaves her rural village for a bustling seaside town. With her, she takes only a bento lunchbox, a radio, and her black cat Jiji. She travels by broom, of course. Broom flight is the only magic Kiki has.
Korean American K-pop star Jessica Jung may have gotten her start as a singer and performer with the hit band Girls’ Generation, but now also has a fashion line and has modeled for make-up lines and magazine covers around the world. Her branding is reaching into film and television. And now she has a debut young adult novel, Shine.
Teens may grimace at the thought of taking SATs, but they have it easy compared with the counterparts in China where millions of children are trained from a young age to succeed in school, all for the one-day gaokao, or university admissions examination. In her new young adult novel, Like Spilled Water—the title of which refers to the notion that daughters are not as valued as sons because they will leave their parents’ home after they marry—Jennie Liu tackles the anxiety and other ramifications centered around this exam.
Orrawin is a 17-year-old high school student who goes by the name Winnie. Her twin older sisters, Bunnisa (Bunny) and Aranee (Ari) are college students at Washington University in St. Louis. Their parents made a mistake by not allowing Bunny and Ari to date in high school.
The gentle pitter-patter of falling rain intensifies into a storm: “Wetter / And wetter / The blues darker / And so do the greens…”