When Vee Crawford-Wong's history teacher assigns an essay on his family history, Vee knows he's in trouble. His parents--Chinese-born dad and Texas-bred Mom--are mysteriously and stubbornly close-lipped about his ancestors. Read more...
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When Vee Crawford-Wong's history teacher assigns an essay on his family history, Vee knows he's in trouble. His parents--Chinese-born dad and Texas-bred Mom--are mysteriously and stubbornly close-lipped about his ancestors. So, he makes it all up and turns in the assignment. And then everything falls apart.
After a fistfight, getting cut from the basketball team, offending his best friend, and watching his grades plummet, one thing becomes abundantly clear to Vee: No one understands him If only he knew where he came from... So Vee does what anyone in his situation would do: He forges a letter from his grandparents in China, asking his father to bring their grandson to visit. Astonishingly, Vee's father agrees. But in the land of his ancestors, Vee learns that the answers he seeks are closer to home then he could have ever imagined.
- ISBN-13: 9781442412644
- ISBN-10: 144241264X
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: July 2013
- Page Count: 357
- Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-05-20
- Reviewer: Staff
An assignment to write an essay on family history kickstarts a high school sophomore’s mission to understand his hyphenated identity in this funny and profane first novel. All Vee knows about his Texas grandparents is that their annual Christmas card always makes his mother cry; his father, meanwhile, left China for college and never looked back. Already in trouble for lackluster academics, Vee can’t get his parents to talk about their pasts, so he completes the essay by inventing a backstory for his father’s family in a fishing village along the Yangtze. After he gets away with that, he’s on a roll. The question of when Vee’s lies and machinations will catch up with him gives the second half of this novel some much-needed tension. Vee is intelligent and self-effacing, and he’s also the yin to Sherman Alexie’s yang. Whereas Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was determined to better himself despite poverty and a dysfunctional family, Vee is a privileged kid with wonderful parents who travels a long, tortured path to find there’s no place like home. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joëlle Delbourgo, Joëlle Delbourgo Associates. (July)