Thursday, November 15, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
by Lauren Bjorkman
Published by Henry Holt BYR
On November 13, 2012
My summary: High school senior Erin is obsessed with Chinese culture. She was born in China and her two best friends, Linny and Mei, are Chinese. But Erin's not -- her family tree traces back to Ireland. So Erin dyes her hair black and secretly writes a blog called Miss Fortune Cookie, on which she dispenses advice that's part Confucian wisdom, part fortune cookie wisdom, and part teen snark. As she and her friends wait for their college admissions letters, they'll face strains to their friendship, to their romantic relationships, and to their family ties.
My take: I'm drawn to quirky books, and Miss Fortune Cookie has an offbeat and original premise. I loved the realistic relationship between these three girls -- the book really captures that strange mix of love and competitiveness that can sometimes characterize female friendships. Lauren Bjorkman gets the whole Girl Triangle thing just right. This book was also funny --there's a whole subplot involving an elopement and an extended chase scene that's both wacky and entertaining, plus some hilarious running jokes involving Pokemon and a martini. Of course, I loved the fact that Erin was a blogger and advice columnist.
But Miss Fortune Cookie isn't all laughs -- the book tackles some serious issues as well. As the girls wait for their letters of acceptance -- or rejection -- from colleges, they have to deal with both parental expectations and their own hopes and dreams. Mei is first generation American, and her mom insists on Harvard or bust. Erin has promised Linny that the two of them will attend Berkeley together. Of course, nothing turns out exactly as the girls expect.
At times, I did feel that there was a lot going on plot-wise, and as a result, some parts of the book seemed disjointed. For example, there's a subplot involving a vaguely defined local protest by a equally vaguely described "hate group." I wished the protest had been directed at something directly connected to the characters or the plot. I was also quite surprised when two of the characters considered changing their college plans because of their boyfriends, especially since one of the girls had just met the guy in question.
But those very minor quibbles aside, I really enjoyed reading Miss Fortune Cookie and appreciated its original premise, Lauren Bjorkman's humorous writing, and the book's realistic, likeable characters. If you're in the mood for something full of humor and charm, definitely check this book out!