Blog Tour & ARC Review + Giveaway: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen

(Full Blog Tour Schedule here.)

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)   by Abigail Hing Wen

Published 07 January 2020 by Harper Teen

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, and praised as “an intense rush of rebellion and romance” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Garber, this romantic and layered Own Voices debut from Abigail Hing Wen is a dazzling, fun-filled romp.

“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turnGone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.

Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.

And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.

When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.

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*ARC Kindly provided by Harper Teen thru FFBC in exchange for an honest review*

Starting this book on the first day of the year was really a good decision! I had a great time reading. Makes me more excited for my own Taipei trip this year.

Abigail Hing Wen have written a very promising and powerful debut which as the tagline says fits “For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land” Now, I love all of these three and have them altogether in one book, uhm yes please?

“This is Loveboat. One big party. All summer. And no one’s going to ruin it.”

On her last summer before college, Ever was sent by her parents to an educational program in Taipei. But what her parents don’t know is that this program also known as Loveboat often leaves the students unsupervised. This means a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop – things that are very new for Ever.

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

The story introduces us to a unique set of characters that I enjoyed reading about. Ever is studying to be a doctor but her passion is really with dancing. She was introduced as this character who lives by her parents rules but as the story progress, we’ve read about her breaking every single one of those rules and along the way learned new things about her  heritage and herself.

I had fun reading about the bubbly character of Sophie – she’s boy obsessed and had a great fashion sense. She’s a bit wild and liberated; total opposite of Ever. Maybe that’s why they really matched up from the start. But there is really more than meets the eye on her character. I was surprised and hurt by the twist, but I know somewhere, that is bound to happen. Duh, a friend complication needs to arise somewhere. (lol) (I know I’m being pretty vague here, but I don’t want give out spoilers).

Rick aka Wonderboy is the Ivy League bound football player and Ever’s bane of existence. While I did not really like him on the first few chapters, Rick has somewhat grown on me, I guess. He was entirely just an okay character for me. Then, there’s Xavier, the sexy loner but a player character. I always fall for the dark bad boy types, so its again no surprise that I ended up rooting for Xavier. For some reason, I just enjoyed his brooding and mysterious character.

For the romance part of the story, you all know how much I hate love triangles. I was actually hesitant to continue reading when I felt that a triangle is approaching, but since I was hooked and I actually liked both parties involved, I continue reading. And I can say that in such a long time, this the only time again that I have honestly liked reading a story that involves a love triangle. (Yay me!)

The situations that these teens have went thru are pretty entertaining to read. It was like I’m there with them walking into the unknown. Though, there are times that it feels like the story tends to get all over the place especially with the Ever, Sophie, Xavier and Rick drama, I ended up loving that mess of complication.

The issues mentioned and included on this story are very relevant to today’s world. Family Pressures/Responsibility is one of the main topics of the story and as an Asian myself, I relate to this. Though, I was still given by my parents the freedom to choose my degree and other school and adult stuff that I wanted to do, the pressure that Ever’s parents were giving her felt so real and on point. Correct me if I’m wrong but parents especially Asian parents really tend to be dramatic and protective especially on the future of their children. I guess these types of parents are leaning more on the practical side of life that’s why they choose the way they do. The story also talks about several other relevant topics but as I write this review, I thought that they were somewhat brushed off. There’s a talk about leaked nude photos, cheating, depression – these topics were mentioned but I can’t really point out if they were properly addressed.

Overall, Loveboat, Taipei is one fun and enjoying book to read! It’s a whirlwind story of teenage romance filled with drama, heartbreaks, cultural and self-exploration and familial ties. If you are fans of contemporary reads with interesting and bold characters, this one is really for you!

4/5 Flower Rating

 “Rick and this summer gave me the courage to take charge of my own future. I can only hope that I’ve done the same for him.”

“My parents sent me to discover my heritage, but in the process, I’m also finding parts of myself, even if that self isn’t who they want me to be.”

“And as I lunge and whirl my bo staff, dancing to the ancient drumbeats, I feel all parts of myself coming together: glad that a part of me is Chinese, a part of me American and all of me is simply me.”

Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.

Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge. and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.

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Two (2) Winners will bring home  finished copies of Loveboat, Taipei (US Only). Enter on the link below.

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Have you read, Love boat, Taipei? What do you think about it?

If not yet, are you interested to read it? What makes you want to pick it up?

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