Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: Wait For Me by An Na


Mina is the perfect daughter. Bound for Harvard, she's Honor Society president and a straight-A student, even as she works at her family's dry-cleaning store and helps care for her hearingimpaired little sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie. Then, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets someone to whom she cannot lie. Ysrael, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work for her family, and asks Mina the one question that scares her the most. What does she want?
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Plot: 3/5
Creativity: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Impact: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Mina is the perfect daughter. With her perfect grades and exceptional after-school involvements, she's a shoo-in for Harvard. And on top of her busy schedule, she still has time to help out with her family's dry-cleaning business. She's every mother's dream child. Only, it's all a facade.

I was initially drawn in by the premise of the book. I haven't read a lot of stories on modern Asian-American teenagers, so I was delighted to find a book that explored that topic. As I read through the book, though, I was delighted to find that it didn't just tell Mina's story. It also told the story of Suna, Mina's deaf younger sister.

I really enjoyed reading about Suna- she was probably my favorite character. The story focuses on Mina and how she falls in love and finds her voice, but I found myself more partial to Suna. She was fragile, and she wanted to break free from her worries just as much as her older sister. She had to watch Mina fall apart without really knowing what was happening, and to have her hero come undone before your eyes and not be able to do anything about it... It's painful. And Suna endured all that and never uttered a word. She's just amazing. The relationship between her and Mina was also wonderful, and I loved that the novel depicts how they strengthened their bond as sisters. Maybe it's just because I have two younger siblings of my own, but I it was touching to read about how two siblings, two individuals so different from each other yet so the same, grew to be their own people, together.

The plot, though, I wasn't so crazy about. It's still good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. Things just felt too rushed for me, I guess. Too abrupt. Maybe it's because the novel was shorter than my usual reads; I really don't know. The pacing just didn't feel right. The romance between Mina and Ysrael asn't a hit for me, either. It fell a little flat for me, but some parts were still really good, and I really liked the way things ended.

The prose is on a league of its own. Na's words are magic, stellar. The imagery was so vivid and beyond amazing! Reading Na's text reminded me of Steinbeck's writing- it was just as crisp, just as beautiful, just as descriptive. It was definitely my favorite part of the book.

On the whole, Wait For Me is a good book. The premise is pretty good and the writing is spectacular- Na's prose is beyond beautiful. It wasn't my favorite read, but I still enjoyed it, and I'll probably read it again. If you like coming-of-age stories, I suggest you get yourself a copy of this one.

3 comments:

  1. I bet you'd like Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok. It just came out in the US. I loved, loved, loved it. I'll probably post my review for it pretty soon.

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  2. Whoa this sounds really good! It's nice to read something different once in awhile. I'll definitely be reading this one thanks to your amazing review (:

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  3. Yes, I'll be on the lookout for this book. It sounds great! :) I liked your review.

    Anyway, I have an award for you.

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