ISBN-13: 9781594485152
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: May 2011
Format: Paperback, 320pp
Source: Publisher

Do you know what's so great about coming-of-age stories? They tend to tug at your heartstring but yet at the same time, allow you to think of life in general and how one would overcome difficulties through hard work, persistence and sometimes with a bit of luck.

Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate to Brooklyn from Hong Kong after her father's passing. They are not well-off so it is Kimberly's Aunt Paula who funded for their trip. Paula had left Hong Kong after she got married and together with her husband, they manage a clothing factory. Kimberly and her mother work at their factory but despite their kinship, they are paid miserably and the apartment which Paula got them is in poor condition and is infested with roaches.

Knowing they are mistreated, Kimberly and her mother chose to stay mum as they felt they are indebted to her. As fate allows, Kimberly is an intelligent girl and she is one who is persistent and not afraid of hard work. By day she goes to school and in the evenings she joins her mother at work in Paula's clothing factory. It is also at this time that she gets to know a Chinese boy named Matt whose life is very similiar to her but he shares none of her passion in her school work or ambition. While other students at school focus on materialistic stuff and popularity, Kimberly thinks of freedom and getting good grades so she and her mother could live a better life.

At its core of this story is the relationship between Kimberly and her mother, and how Kimberly is face with a dilemma between love and her dreams. Jean Kwok skilfully weaves this unforgettable coming-of-age story through her experience as a young girl emigrated from Hong Kong and growing up between the two cultures. Through Kimberly's eyes, I came to understand more about the life of an American immigrant and the various challenges and/or difficulties she encounters. It evoked all the emotions in me as I laughed and cried for Kimberly while reading it. Girl in Translation is not only moving but is inspiring and thought-provoking as well. I look forward to Jean Kwok's future releases.

Note: Look out for Jean Kwok's guest post tomorrow as she will share with us about cycling in Holland and a Dutch courting ritual!
7 Responses
  1. Veens Says:

    Sounds like a lovely book and I love the cover too!
    I am sure to look for it here :)

  2. Anna Says:

    You've made this sound so so good! I won it in a giveaway awhile back but haven't had time to read it yet.

  3. joanna Says:

    I've been curious about this book. I love 'coming to America' stories for some reason, with all the inter-cultural problems these moves entail. I'll definitely add this to my summer reading list.

  4. Melody Says:

    Veens - It is a lovely book, Veens! And like you, I too love the cover! :)

    Anna - It's good; I enjoyed reading it so much, Anna! I hope you'll read this book soon.

    Joanna - I love reading books about other cultures and I'm glad to hear you'll be adding this book to your list.

  5. Uniflame Says:

    I have reserved this at the library. I hope I will be able to read it soon :)

  6. The Bookworm Says:

    this one has caught my eye before. It sounds good. Nice review! A book that can make you laugh and cry is always good.

  7. Alice Says:

    This is a book that's been in my wish list for some time. Thanks for the review, Melody!

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