Book Review: Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat by Melissa de la Cruz

SUMMARY: Newly arrived from the Phillippines, 14-year-old Vicenza is a scholarship student at a snooty private girls' school in San Francisco. She dreams of love with Tobey Maguire, not having to shop at thrift stores, and being accepted by the wealthy, popular girls at school. Instead, she and her family work multiple jobs and squeeze every penny to pay for necessities. Can Vicenza find real friendship and love in America without any money? (adapted from the review by Booklist)

OPINION: This book is chic-lit with a twist: Vicenza, or "V", is a Filipina whose family has illegally immigrated to the US by overstaying their travel visas. V is a believable character who is struggling with issues familiar to many immigrant teens: traditional family expectations, poverty, and wanting to be a "typical American teenager." This book is not boring or heavy-handed--it is a genuinely fun read, carried by V's personality and some hilarious situations.

BEST QUOTE: "Books borrowed from the library were valued but ephemeral pleasures." (p. 129)

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