Title: Our Wayward Fate
Author: Gloria Chao
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.
Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.
But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.
Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.
This is an amazing second novel from Gloria Chao!
Ali had to deal with a ton of racism, living in a predominantly “white” town. I couldn’t believe the way that her peers and teachers would talk to her, including commenting on how good she must be at math and putting on a Chinese accent in front of her. She was born in America so she was just as much of an American as them. These racist people also assumed that she must date the new Asian boy in the school. It was heartbreaking to read the way people spoke to her.
I learned a lot about Chinese culture in this book. There was a Chinese folktale that was threaded throughout the story and united with the main plot in the end. It had to do with Ali’s mother’s secrets, which was another amazing and suspenseful subplot!
I liked that the Mandarin words weren’t translated directly into English. It brings the reader into Ali’s position of being on the outside of the culture she lives in. I could figure out what most of the words meant from the context, but I liked that it kept Ali’s culture prevalent in the story.
I loved this book!
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
American Panda by Gloria Chao
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Have you read Our Wayward Fate? What did you think of it?