Friday, November 2, 2012
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
Erin doesn't have a whole lot of confidence. She goes to a smarty-pants school, and she isn't even close to the smartest one there. She knows she's smart, but doesn't feel like she's anything special. She puts herself down a lot. While the book is about Erin and her relationships - with her mom, with her friends, with a cute boy - at its core it's about Erin realizing she has a lot more to offer than she thought and not selling herself short.
Erin and Linny have planned to go to the University of Southern California together since forever. When Erin gets into Harvard, she automatically assumes she won't go, but the more she thinks about it, the more she wants to give herself the chance. But how to tell Linny? Meanwhile, Linny is planning a counter protest to fight back against a hate group that's picketing their school. That's Linny's passion - human rights and advocacy and she isn't focused on formal education. Although she also goes to the smarty-pants school. Mei is very smart, but wants to go to Stanford, not Harvard, so she can be close to her boyfriend who will be at USC. Linny knows Erin is Ms. Fortune Cookie and Mei does not. Everyone is always asking Erin for advice, but Erin has a lot of stuff to figure out herself.
This is all against the backdrop of understanding a culture. Mei and Linny are Chinese. Mei's mother immigrated to America from China and Mei and her family are very traditional. Respecting your elders is of the utmost important, as is the importance of education. Linny, while Chinese, does not have the roots Mei does. Erin, who is not Chinese, but was born in China and spent her early childhood there, wishes she was. This had put a rift between Erin and Mei. Erin sometimes feels like she's not Chinese enough to hang out with Mei and Linny.
So there were a lot of different aspects about this book I liked. I liked Erin learning more about herself and deciding she's worth taking some risks. I liked the family and cultural aspect. The end, I thought, was far to tidy and neat, but you knew that was going to happen. Everyone lived happily ever after. I was a little worried, for a minute, that Erin was going to blow off Harvard because of the new, cute college boy she spent her crazy evening with, but she didn't. She still decides to go to Harvard and she and Wayland decided to try a long distance relationship. Best of luck.
Miss Fortune Cookie comes out November 13, 2012.