My Summer of Love and Misfortune
by Lindsay Wong
* * Stars (Just Ok)
Iris Wang is a spoiled, frivolous party girl who creates all kinds of problems for herself with the poor choices she makes. Her emergency credit card is maxed out, her best friend and her boyfriend have been not-so-secretly dating/hooking up behind her back, she’s failing her classes, and she’s been rejected by all of the colleges she’s applied to. You might say Iris is going nowhere. But when her folks discover the extent of her transgressions, they decide to banish her to China to stay with relatives, where she will learn Chinese, AND responsibility, AND become a useful and successful person. That she has relatives living in China is a huge surprise to Iris. Her misfortunes continue on the other side of the world, but at least the relatives are interesting. Her uncle is an extremely wealthy hotel tycoon and his teenage daughter, Ruby, is a professional competitive dog groomer/stylist. The girls are supposed to help each other study and set good examples for one another, but Ruby HATES Iris. Things get particularly tense when protestors attack Uncle Dai’s newest project and the family has to go into hiding. But this finally pushes Iris to do something with her up until now worthless existence. Iris is an infuriating and clueless mess but if you can make it through the trainwreck of her life, her experiences in China are at least interesting from a different cultural standpoint! Wraps up a little too neatly, but maybe Iris has a chance at growing up. Chock full of issues. For high school teens.
Reviewed by YA Librarian