“Weepingly funny.” —The Wall Street Journal “Delightful.” —Buzzfeed “Charmed my socks off.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland
Four starred reviews for this 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?
From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how, unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.
American Panda Voicemail from my mother
Remember Amberly Ahn? She had eyelid surgery and it turned out great. We should think about doing that for you. Maybe we can tattoo your makeup on at the same time. Remember, there are no ugly women, only lazy women. Repeat that three times every morning.
And don’t forget, “mei” means “beautiful” in Chinese. Live up to the name I chose for you.
Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fate, and Rent a Boyfriend. When she’s not writing, you can find her with her husband on the curling ice or hiking the Indiana Dunes. She does not regret putting aside her MIT and dental degrees to write, and she is grateful to spend her days in fictional characters’ heads instead of real people’s mouths. Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at GloriaChao.Wordpress.com and find her on Twitter and Instagram @GloriaCChao.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 6, 2018)
Length: 320 pages
Grades: 7 and up
Ages: 12 - 99
Lexile ® 780L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
Seventeen Magazine’s Best YA Novels of 2018 Bustle’s Best YA Book of 2018 PopSugar‘s Most Riveting YA Book of 2018 A Chicago Public Library Best YA Book of 2018 A Paste Magazine Best YA Book of 2018 Booklist’s Best Debut YA Book of 2018 A Junior Library Guild Selection YMCA’s Summer Reading List for Teens
“Weepingly funny.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Vibrant and bright.” —Bustle
“Beautifully told.” —Hypable
“A soulful and hilarious debut.” —Booklist, starred review
“This deserves a place on every shelf, though it will not stay there long.” —VOYA, starred review
“Eye-opening, hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking.” —Shelf Awareness
“An earnest, funny, and emotional story.” —Book Riot
“American Panda is an absolute delight; an insightful, incisive, and often hilarious story of one girl's struggle to balance her family's expectations against her own secret ambitions. Overflowing with wit and empathy, Chao's debut charmed my socks off.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite and Mosquitoland
“A charming and hilarious tale of a precocious Taiwanese American walking the tightrope of family expectations...in ice skates. Mei Lu is a goofy, lovable American teenager. I loved her.” —Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
"Incredibly timely, honest, and moving—the must-read book of the season!" —Sandhya Menon, New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi
“A dazzling debut that hooked me with its humor and heart from the very first page.” —Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician
“The perfect coming of age story for anyone who's ever felt unsure of where they belong. —Kerri Maniscalco, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stalking Jack the Ripper
Awards and Honors
Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
YALSA Teens Top Ten (TTT)
Illinois Reads List
Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List