Friday, June 12, 2020

Review - Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1) by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Pages: 432
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's UK
Release Date: 7th January 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”

And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:
Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.

Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.
When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget!

My Review:
*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK Children's and NetGalley*

Ever Wong's summer plans change when her parents send her to the Chien Tan summer school program in Taipei in order for her to learn more about their culture.

However, once there, Ever discovers that the program is nicknamed 'Loveboat' and that it's not what she was expecting - Loveboat promises wild nights out and hookups with the other students.

While at Loveboat, Ever plans to break every one of her parents' rules and to make the most of her last summer before she follows her parents' wish for her to become a doctor, and not a dancer as she wants.

Ever's time at Loveboat will bring her romance and friendships.

Will Ever give up her dream of being a dancer?

Will she find love at Loveboat?

I went into this book expecting a light-hearted contemporary YA novel, but it definitely wasn't as light as I thought it would be - there were actually several darker themes that surprised me. Some of which actually felt a bit glossed over to me, and I didn't feel wholly comfortable with the way some were handled.

Ever was a mixed protagonist as there were times when I liked and sympathised with her, but there were also times when she annoyed me. I didn't like the way she handled things with one of the other characters in particular and I thought she was a bit of a hypocrite complaining about how her parents wouldn't let her explain things, when she ran away and avoided a character who wanted to explain things to her. But I appreciate that Ever wasn't perfect and had a few flaws.

The plot was interesting and held my attention, but I wasn't gripped or as invested as I could have been.

The writing style was easy to follow.

The setting of Taipei was interesting and I liked learning a little about another culture.
While this was a mixed read for me, I did enjoy it overall.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, but not what I expected.

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