Book Review: Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen – A Story of Redemption, Reparenting, and Understanding

Blurb:

This companion novel to Abigail Hing Wen’s New York Times bestselling debut, Loveboat, Taipei, follows two fan favorite characters—Sophie and Xavier—as they reconnect and write their own futures on a wild, unexpected Loveboat reunion.

Sophie Ha and Xavier Yeh have what some would call a tumultuous past.

It’s a classic tale of girl-meets-boy, boy-meets-other-girl, heart-gets-broken, revenge-is-plotted, everything-blows-up. Spectacularly.

At least they’re friends now. They’ve left the drama behind them back in Taipei—at their summer program, Loveboat—forever.

Now fall is here, and it’s time to focus on what really matters. Sophie is determined to be the best student Dartmouth’s ever had. Forget finding the right guy to make her dreams come true—Sophie is going to make her future happen for herself. Xavier, on the other hand, just wants to stay under his overbearing father’s radar, collect his trust fund when he turns eighteen, and concentrate on what makes him happy, for the first time ever.

But the world doesn’t seem to want Sophie and Xavier to succeed. Sophie’s college professor thinks her first major project is “too feminine.” Xavier’s father gives him an ultimatum: finish high school or be cut off from his inheritance.

Then Sophie and Xavier find themselves on a wild, nonstop Loveboat reunion, each trying to resist the chemistry that originally led to them to combust. As they grow closer, they hatch a plan to take control of their own futures. Step one? Break all the rules.

Cuddle's review:

Loveboat, Taipei was an absolute force that was published at the beginning of 2020, and I distinctly remember reading it right as we heard about COVID. One of the reasons I remember it so distinctly is because Ever’s story was so intense, and I never wanted to put the book down. If you don’t remember, Loveboat, Taipei chronicles the summer when Ever Wong was 18, and was sent to Taiwan to attend a program for teens to learn Mandarin, but little did they know that it would lead to one of the most tumultuous seasons of her life. Abigail Hing Wen included portrayal of topics such as the incredible pressure that some Asian and Asian-American parents put on their children by comparing their achievements to other childrens’, and the feelings of inadequacy that can result. But most of all, it was an incredible roller coaster of a book that I wouldn’t soon forget.

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Five Reasons to Read: A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow – A Cautionary Tale of Wishes Made from Loss, with Carribean Folklore and Vengeful Mermaids

A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow. Reviewed by CW, The QUiet Pond.
Blurb:

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the beaches of St. Rita. But when she discovers a different kind of treasure, she accidentally summons an actual mermaid—the wrathful Ophidia.

Ophidia makes Kela a bargain: her ancient comb, in exchange for a wish. And though Kela knows that what she wants most is her mother back, a wish that big will exact a dangerous price…

Young readers looking for a book with storytelling that pulls them right in and a unique voice will love A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow. Set in the Carribean, the story follows a young girl Kela, still reeling from the loss of her mother. When she discovers a magical comb and is granted a wish by a mermaid to bring her mother back, little does she know that her wish will set off a chain of unfortunate events.

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The Pond Book News #112 – Ringing in the New Year: Catching Up on Holiday Cover Reveals & New Book Announcements!

Welcome to Issue #112!

Sprout the sparrow, doing a curtsy with their eyes closed and a smile on their face. Their cape swooshes in the wind with their arm extended in their curtsy.

The trees are whispering…

Friends, welcome to another exciting week of The Pond Book News! Every Sunday, The Quiet Pond brings you a fresh issue of book news to catch you up on the week’s lineup of diverse cover reveals, book news, and sometimes more! But first, some spring housekeeping as we ring in the new year:

If you missed our last announcement about the changes coming to The Pond Book News in 2022, you can find a full explanation here! Here is a brief TL;DR:

  • The Pond Book News is now a biweekly feature, instead of weekly!
  • We will no longer be covering new book releases, but we’re still rounding up lovely cover reveals and new book announcements every issue!
  • We’re hoping to instead cover all the book releases that we’re excited about in conjunction with our monthly wrap-ups, so be sure to stay tuned for those posts if you’d like to know what the Pond friends will be reading throughout the year. C:

Now, onwards to the brilliant books!

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Pondathon II: A New Companion Quest! Let’s Grow Roses with Racquel Marie

New Companion Quest! Let's Grow Roses with Racquel Marie, author of Ophelia After All. An drawing of Racquel as a golden retriever, wearing earrings and a rose on her head, with a big exclamation mark atop her head indicating that she has a quest.

Pondathon II is a year-long gardening-themed readathon hosted by The Quiet Pond! Help us restore the forest by reading to earn plants and decorate your own garden. For more information about Pondathon, read our Readathon Information Post or check out our Pondathon II Portal.

The story:

“Friend!” Xiaolong hurtles towards you like a comet, her face aglow with glee. You get the feeling that all the visitors and friends around the Pond has given Xiaolong a lot of energy; she seems hopeful, excited.

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Book Review: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie – Questioning, Identity, and Friendship Coalesce in this Tender Queer Coming-of-Age Contemporary

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie. Reviewed by CW, The QUiet Pond.
Blurb:

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to.

So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If young adult contemporary isn’t your stomping ground, I am begging for you to make an exception and make Ophelia After All one of your to-read books of 2022. A joy from start to finish, this exceptional coming-of-age story follows biracial Cuban-Irish teen Ophelia who must navigate identity, change and friendship at the sunset of high school.

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