Saturday, November 17, 2012

ARC Review: Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Miss Fortune Cookie
Author: Lauren Bjorkman
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (November 13, 2012)

Description: Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy.

It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance.

What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.

My Thoughts: This was a fun contemporary story told through the eyes of a high school senior at an elite public school. It is the story of friendship and cultural differences and understandings and misunderstandings.

Erin and Mei were friends from early childhood who went a bit astray from each other in eighth grade. Now they are reunited along with a new friend Linny in high school. While Erin was born in China and has lived in San Francisco's Chinatown since she was very small, she is actually Irish but says she has a Chinese heart. Mei and Linny are Chinese. And Erin has a secret. She writes an online advice column called Miss Fortune Cookie where she gives advice - some taken from actual fortune cookies - to those who write in. 

Now that the kids are seniors in high school the problems are getting bigger. Mei's mother has worked very hard to provide for her daughter's education. Mei has been accepted to Harvard but her secret boyfriend has been accepted to Stanford. Mei is a dutiful daughter but having to choose between her mother's dreams and her own heart is not an easy choice. Erin has also been accepted at Harvard but she doesn't want to disappoint Linny who thinks that they are going to be roommates at Berkeley. 

Erin is uncertain about going so far away from home and leaving her mother alone. It has been just the two of them since her father died when she was a baby. Erin also feels that she is lacking in poise and confidence. Her two friends have boyfriends but talking to boys makes Erin tongue-tied. That is, until Weyland enters the picture. At first, she can talk to him because she thinks he is Linny's secret boyfriend. When Linny straightens her out, she and Weyland have become friends.

The story was filled with wonderful characters. I was especially fond of Erin who was eager to help her friends but was uncertain about the best way to do so. But Linny, who was a champion always fighting for social justice, and Mei, the dutiful daughter who learned to stand up for herself, were also well-rounded and interesting people.

Fans of contemporary fiction who want to take a look inside another culture and read about kids who are nerds and darn proud of it will enjoy this story immensely.

Favorite Quote:
The Giant Wicks shook the wall with their throbbing bass, and as the dancers went crazy, the guitar player took off his shirt. Sweat dripped down his chest. I looked away, and by looked away I mean I stared until it became necessary for me to avert my eyes.
I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

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