Blog Tour: Amanda Panda by Gloria Chao (Reivew & Giveaway!!)

American Panda by Gloria Chao
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 6th 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


Yet another fantastic 2018 debut! 

American Panda is witty as well as heartwarming. I laughed. I cheered. My heart fluttered with happiness as well as sadness. I even shed a tear or two, which is a huge rarity. 

My favorite part of American Panda? The leading lady, of course! 

Mei is sarcastic, charmingly awkward, and kind. Like most college freshmen, she's trying to find her place in life. She knows that pre-med isn't the path for her (she's TERRIFIED of germs), but she doesn't want to disappoint her parents. After watching her brother get kicked out of the family years ago, Mei has always tried to be the perfect daughter. She loves her parents and she knows they have incredibly good intentions, but she also wants to do her own thing, choose her own major as well as her own boyfriend/spouse. 

Over the course of the book, Mei finds herself. It's not easy - sometimes it's even incredibly embarrassing (i.e. the rash incident) - but it's worthwhile, no matter the consequences. I loved seeing Mei teach dance, make friends, pursue a relationship with a "forbidden" boy, reconnect with her brother, and even stand up to her parents. It caused for a fantastic transformation to occur, as with every chapter Mei becomes more confident, more unapologetic, and, most importantly, more free, and let me tell you - I adored this Mei! I also appreciated that not every storyline had a picture perfect ending; instead, Gloria brings about a realistic feel. Some things work, some things don't, but no matter what Mei continues to try. 

In addition to Mei, I adored the other characters. Mei's romantic interest was nerdy as well as sweet, and I loved the connection between them. Like most things in Mei's live, it wasn't easy; however, is anything truly worth having easy? I also enjoyed seeing Mei's brother and Mei's family in general. I have to say, though, Mei's mother was my second favorite. When the book first began I found Mei's mother to be frustrating. I understood why she said the things she did/did the things she did; however, I had hope that she'd become a bit more lenient/understanding. Throughout the book, Mei and her mother have many ups and downs when it comes to their relationship. It broke my heart at times, especially when Mei's mother revealed more about her past, but at the same time I loved seeing a bridge form between generations. It warmed my heart to say the least. 

Going along with that, I appreciated the amount of detail and time Gloria put into the Taiwanese culture. Prior to reading American Panda, I didn't know much about Tawian's traditions, superstitions, etc.; however, over the course of the book, I learned a lot and it provided some food for thought. As mentioned before, I also appreciated seeing the challenges that come from different generations. I think many will be able to relate to Mei's story. 

Last but not least: the setting! Between this & Nice Try, Jane Sinner we're being spoiled with college settings. I thought Gloria did such a great job of incorporating MIT into the storyline as well as typical problems freshmen face at college -  roommate problems, the dreaded health center, etc. 

Overall, American Panda is a rich, well written addition to YA lit. Gloria captures Mei's coming-of-age with humor as well as tact. She's definitely author to keep on your radar.  

4 stars!!

American Panda is now out! 

Source: eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley 

Buy Links: 

About the Author: 

Gloria Chao is an MIT grad turned dentist turned writer. AMERICAN PANDA is her debut novel, coming out February 6, 2018 from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

Gloria currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband, for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for cooperative board games, Dance Dance Revolution, or soup dumplings. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out.

Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at gloriachao.wordpress.com and find her on Twitter @gloriacchao.
Author Links: 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Tumblr 


 Prize: 1 finished copy of AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao
Starts: 1/31
Ends: 2/13

Follow the Tour!

January 31st

February 1st

February 2nd

Vicarious Bookworm- Review & Favorite Quotes

February 3rd

February 4th

Here's to Happy Endings- Review & Favorite Quotes

February 5th

Vicky Who Reads- Interview & Review

February 6th


  1. I adored Mei. She was a fabulous character, and you got it right. This book was a lot of fun, but with the happiness came sadness. Great review!

  2. I want to read this book, scratch that, I need to read it! :)

  3. Beautiful review, Lauren, and I absolutely love the sound of this book. The cover is also super cute (I adore the look of that drink! It's making my mouth water, lol).

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

  4. I agree with everything you said, Lauren! My favorite character was also Mei, with her mother being a very close second. I thought the most compelling scenes were between Mei and her mother, especially in the last third.


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