Fresh Off the Boat - Melissa de la Cruz This book wasn’t even close to my radar until I needed an author’s name that started with “de” or “van” for a challenge bonus task. While, I didn’t get the bonus points I did find a hidden gem in this book.

The story is told from the perspective of 14 year old Vicenza, a recent Filipina immigrant. Her parents were very wealthy in the Philippines, but after suffering an economic downfall the family was forced to relocate. They chose America, The Land of Big Dreams, with the hopes of having an easy transition, but instead they are faced with a hard, new reality. Faced with a new social economic position, placed at the bottom of the pecking order, dealing with the newness of everything is very tough, but compound that with being thrown into a wealthy high school and the turbulent years of teenage hood and well, I think we can all empathize with Vicenza’s position.

I really enjoyed reading this. The writing was surprisingly good. I thought Vicenza’s voice came off as authentic. I found myself laughing and at times even relating to her, even though I know nothing of the Philippines. I also enjoyed the lessons Vicenza learns along the way. I didn’t think it was overly preachy or anything.

Overall, this was a quick, fun read. I definitely recommend it and look forward to reading more of de la Cruz’s books.

Favorite quote:
“It starts at eight, so I thought we could get there at eight-thirty. We can’t get there early- that’s so lame!” I told him. I knew all about this stuff from reading teen novels and watching movies like She’s All That. p.114 (e-book)