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  • 10 of 12 copies available at Evergreen Indiana.

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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Greensburg-Decatur Co PL - Greensburg YA CHAO (Text) 32826014219430 YA New Books Available -
Greenwood PL - Greenwood TEEN Chao (Text) 36626104092747 1st Floor New Teen Room Checked out 02/03/2020
Hamilton North PL - Cicero Main Branch YA FIC.c Chao, Gloria (Text) 78294000273622 YA New Fiction Available -
Jefferson Co PL - Hanover Branch YA FICTION CHAO (Text) 39391100334323 Young Adult Fiction Available -
Lebanon PL - Lebanon TEEN CHAO (Text) 34330513437740 Teen - New Books Available -
Mooresville PL - Mooresville YA FIC CHA (Text) 37323005461531 NEW-BKS Available -
Plainfield-Guilford Twp PL - Plainfield T FIC Chao (Text) 31208913148583 new teen Available -
Warren PL - Warren YA CHA (Text) 33450000623304 Young Adult Available -
West Lafayette PL - West Lafayette YA FIC CHA (Text) 31951004446792 2nd FL - YA/Teen New Arrivals Available -
Westfield Washington PL - Westfield YA Chao (Text) 78292000383692 Young Adult New Book Collection Available -
Whiting PL - Whiting YA FIC CHA (Text) 51735011883039 Young adult collection Available -
Zionsville PL - Hussey-Mayfield Memorial ZIONS45939 (Text) ZIONS45939 Teen . 2nd Floor On order -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781534427617
  • ISBN: 1534427619
  • Physical Description: 311 pages ; 22 cm
  • Edition: First Simon Pulse hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, 2019.

Content descriptions

Summary, etc.:
Seventeen-year-old Ali is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves into tiny, predominantly-white, Plainhart, Indiana.
Target Audience Note:
Ages 12 and up. Simon Pulse.
Grades 10-12. Simon Pulse.
870L Lexile.
Subject: Taiwanese Americans > Fiction.
Family problems > Fiction.
Secrets > Fiction.
Dating (Social customs) > Fiction.
Arranged marriage > Fiction.
High schools > Fiction.
Schools > Fiction.
Indiana > Fiction.

Chapter 1: Dry Toast
My mom believes in magic penises.

Because at the moment she was saying for the umpteenth time, &;If you had been a boy, things would be different.&; The problem wasn&;t my genitals&;it was my mother&;s outdated belief that boys were better. Plus, it wasn&;t my fault Dad&;s X sperm had been faster than the Y.

She waved the crumpled note in my face. It was only a sliver, a tiny corner of the whole with five measly words scrawled in my friend Brenda&;s loopy handwriting, but it was enough to cause all this.

&;I&;ll ask one more time&;what were you doing on the baseball field?&;

Brenda was the one who&;d rounded second base, and I was the one getting in trouble? It was so backward I wanted to laugh. But I didn&;t. I just stood there, my MO to the point where I often wondered if this next time would be the one to turn me into Buddha, bird poo on my head and everything.

&;So disrespectful!&; my mother huffed. What would she have done if I&;d laughed? &;If you had grown up in Taiwan, you wouldn&;t be so mù wú zun zhang. And you would know what that phrase means.&;

Well, if you had grown up here, maybe your lifelong dream wouldn&;t have been to grow a penis inside you.

Again, instead of voicing my thoughts, I stood there. Stared. Just like I had done yesterday when Mrs. Finch had asked if I was related to P. F. Chang, just like I&;d done a week ago when Ava had told me I should wear eyeliner to &;fix&; my eyes, just like, just like, just like always.

&;Baseball is too expensive a sport, all that equipment,&; my mother uncharacteristically continued. &;And it&;s dangerous, and it doesn&;t stand out on college applications.&;&;

Since she&;d given me a rare peek inside her head, I returned the favor. &;Don&;t worry, Muqin, I&;ve kept it to first base so far.&;

&;First base, second base, it doesn&;t matter! No more baseball field, okay?&;

My father walked in, not looking at either of us, not caring what was going on&;aka his MO.

Since I knew his presence would hollow my mother into a shell, I escaped our duplex in silence, wishing, for once, that my mother would mutter &;mù wú zun zhang&; again under her breath, just so that someone would be saying something. Neither of my parents said good-bye, and I was guilty of the same because apple, tree, and all that.

I spent the rest of my free first period walking to my high school, located in the center of town in the sad triangle of &;happening&; places: the elementary school/middle school/high school, a tiny mom-and-pop grocery store, and a deli/hardware store.

When I arrived in our peeling, pubescent-boy-scented hallways, my friends ran up to me, more excited than anyone in Plainhart, Indiana, ever should be.

&;No running, girls!&; Mr. Andrews, the social studies teacher, yelled at us. &;Hey, Allie,&; he added, turning to me so he was walking backward. &;You&;ll love class today. We&;re discussing North Korea, and I can&;t wait to hear what you have to say!&; He followed that doozy with sad, finger-pointing-guns, which was inappropriate on so many levels. I managed a straight-lined, half-assed smile and didn&;t bother to remind him I was Chinese.

As soon as he turned his attention to his next victim, Ava, Kyle, and Brenda fully encircled me.

&;God!&; Kyle exclaimed. &;Took you long enough to get here.&;

&;Have you seen him yet?&; asked blond, perfect, white-as-a-bao Ava as she grabbed my arm, which meant that whatever it was, it was big enough to make her break my no-touching rule.

I shook her off. &;Who?&;

&;Okay, she hasn&;t seen,&; Kyle said in the bossy tone she&;d developed to survive being a girl with a mostly boys&; name.

Since they were being so annoyingly cryptic and the only way to spill the gossip beans was to pretend I didn&;t care, I walked to my locker and started making myself a PB&J for lunch later. I actually hated peanut butter, but better eating that than hearing yet again how my congee looked like bleached vomit.

&;Allie, pay attention! This is going to blow your mind!&; Brenda said, which made me pause, because the excitement was so out of character for her.

I stared at White, Whitey, and Whiterson, holding my face steady even though I wanted to scream at them to freaking say it already.

But before they could, I saw him. I froze, a deer staring into the Asian headlight of the new student. It was almost as if there were a spotlight from God shining on him to tell me, Ta-da! Finally, another person in this school who looks like you!

I found myself taking in his clean-cut khakis, the guai olive zip-up sweater, his tidy, close-cropped hair. His eyes met mine, but as the whispers around us grew, we both looked away.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him disappear through the BC Calc classroom door, the same door I&;d be slouching through in a moment.

Kyle grabbed my arm and shook it. &;Allie, you two should totally become a thing&;you go so well together!&;

I wanted nothing more than to disappear, but to defuse the situation, I made a joke. &;Why? Is it because&;&;I fake gasped&;&;we&;re both&; nerds?&; I gestured toward BC Calc.

Brenda started shaking her head, and I knew she was getting ready to say the obvious&;No, because you&;re both Asian&;but luckily, Ava cut her off by squealing, &;And he&;s hot!&;

That got my attention. &;Hot like sriracha or hot like Szechuan food?&; They stared at me. Oops. Slip-up. I was off my game suddenly. &;I mean, hot like Noah Centineo or hot like Fight Club Brad Pitt?&;

&;Noah Centineo,&; Brenda and Kyle said just as Ava said, &;Brad Pitt.&;

We all turned to stare at the odd one out as dictated by high school rules. Ava shrugged. &;I saw him smoking just now. That&;s more Brad than Noah.&;

He smokes? Part of me was turned on, and the other part was just like Gross and What&;s wrong with him?

&;You all know what&;s number one on my dream-guy list,&; I said to the nosy trio. Two words: not Chinese. (Yes, I realized the new kid might be another East Asian ethnicity, but my friends didn&;t know the difference and I wanted to shut this down.)

Kyle cleared her throat. &;I hate to say it, Allie, but maybe you should forget that list. I know Jimminy Bob sucks&;&;Jimminy Bob was our code name for everyone we hated, and we always knew from context which Jimminy it was, in this case my mother&;&;but you&;re allowed to date Chinese guys!&; More like only allowed to date Chinese guys (hence my aversion&;I took every opportunity to stick it to my muqin), but my friends were privileged enough not to understand the difference.

Ava leaned toward me. &;Think about it, Allie. You&;d finally have a hot boyfriend, who&;s also smart&;well, I mean, I assume he is. And he&;d probably understand you more than the rest of us do. That sounds like a dream guy to me.&;

As I went back to my half-built PB&J, I turned their words over in my head, but only for a second, because I refused to fulfill this Podunk town&;s stereotype. The only two Asians getting together&;I could taste some bile just thinking about everyone saying, Of course, of course, that makes sense; they belong together. And besides, if my last interaction with another Asian had proved anything, it was that no one understood me, regardless of race.

I broke the end slice of bread into four pieces and rapid-chucked them at each girl, emphasizing a word per hit. &;Not. Interested. At. All.&; Kyle got the extra hit, to the boob.

I made my way to BC Calc, and, of course, as soon as I entered, whispers of &;meet-cute&; and &;so perfect&; and &;both Asian&; filled the small, suffocating room. My fists clenched to keep from hurling chalkboard erasers at every last one of them. I tried to purposely ignore the giant not-yellow-but-also-not-white spotlight as I walked past, my head in the air, but then&;I couldn&;t help it&;I scanned his notebooks, textbooks, papers for his name, and finally, on the corner of the class schedule in front of him, there it was: Chase Yu.

Possibly Chinese, maybe Korean?

&;Oooh, checking out the new Asian meat?&; someone called to me from the back of the room.

Womp womp. Mission to blend in and be as dry as white toast: failed by my own doing for the first time in years.

I ignored them and slunk into my seat, hunching in the hopes of shrinking the massive bull&;s-eye on my back. Who knows what Chase did in response, because I was already tuned the F out.

&;Settle down, settle down,&; Mr. Robinson said as he entered, shuffling papers.

But he stopped in his tracks when he saw Chase, apparently also a deer in the Asian headlight. &;Oh boy, now there&;s two of you?&; he said, looking from Chase to me. &;The rest of the class better watch out for you guys ruining the curve.&;

Surprise, surprise: Racist Robinson strikes again. Seriously, there wasn&;t much that could make me hate math, but Mr. Robinson was up there. I folded in on myself even more, keeping my head down as I waited for the naked-in-school dream-turned-reality to pass.

But Chase shot up out of his seat. &;Well, by that logic you, Mr. Robinson, must love Dave Matthews, and you probably have a Chinese tattoo on your butt that you think says &;strength&; but actually says &;butthole.&;?&;

Hole-y crap. Chase wouldn&;t last two days here, not when he was being Taiwanese pineapple cake with red New Year&;s streamers&;the opposite of white toast.

Robinson gaped at Chase, then shook off the shock and said with a laugh, &;Aren&;t you Asians supposed to kowtow, especially to authority?&; He waved a hand in my direction. &;This one certainly does.&;

Chase looked at me, and even though my blood was hotter than Szechuan food, I gazed out the window. He grabbed his books and stalked out of the room, slamming the door behind him just as Mr. Robinson yelled, &;Hey! You better be on your way to the counselor&;s office!&;

A muffled &;fuck you!&; drifted past the closed door.

Who was this clean-cut bad boy?

I laid my head on my folded arms. I knew&;knew&;there had to be a better place than this, where shit like this didn&;t happen every day. I didn&;t even know what my inner voice sounded like anymore. (Maybe deep and a bit gruff from constant annoyance?)

When the bell rang, I trudged out of the room, and in the hallway, his back against a locker, was Chase.

Pleeease don&;t be waiting for me.&;

&;Why didn&;t you say anything?&; he asked as he fell in step with me. &;Didn&;t it bother you?&;

I shrugged. &;Easier to let it go.&;

&;Doesn&;t mean it&;s not worth trying. I couldn&;t not say something.&;

I shrugged again.

He shook his head at me in disbelief. &;Bú xiàng huà,&; he muttered, so quietly I may not have heard, but I&;d been holding my breath.

The Mandarin threw me. Like, threw me across the room and knocked the wind out. I hated that this was the first time I was hearing Mandarin in these desolate hallways, and even more, hated that it created a bond between us. And by hated, I mean I was 100 percent drawn to him. I could practically hear my mother laughing her head off at me. I&;m always right, Ali. This is why you need to be with a Chinese boy.

&;Hope you grow some balls someday, Allie,&; Chase said as he started to walk away.

My fingernails dug into my palms. I fucking had (proverbial) balls. I also had a brain, which was why I hadn&;t said anything. That was the way to get out of here unscathed&; right? Regardless, I was sick of people accusing me of not having male genitalia. I preferred my vagina, thank you very much, not that anyone in my life cared to ask.

I don&;t know why&;maybe it was because my blood was past boiling&;but I called after him, &;It&;s Ali, jackass.&; And for the first time, my name rolled off my tongue the way it was supposed to: Ah-lee, after the mountain in Taiwan, my mother&;s favorite place in the world. I&;d never said it that way before, with beauty. With meaning. With pride. It had always been Allie, the dry-toast way, at first because it was easier, and then for survival.

Chase turned back to me. &;That&;s a start.&;

A smile lifted the corner of his lip. It made me want to smile too, but I shrugged instead. He chuckled with a shake of his head before jogging down the hallway.

&;Hey, wait!&; I yelled after him. &;How&;d you know my name?&; When he didn&;t respond, I embarrassingly yelled, &;Chase?&;

Which, since I technically shouldn&;t have known his name yet either, was the opposite of dry toast.

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