5 stars, but I m being generous today This YA aimed at the preteen stars Cece, an American adopted Chinese girl who travels back to China through the S.
S Students Across the Seven Seas program Through the anthropology program, Cece goes to Xi an home of the famous terra cotta warriors and learns about her cultural history.
I am an American adopted Korean, who now resides in Beijing, China So I take particular interest in the part where Cece returns to China to search for her birth parents I am terribly disappointed by how Cece was written to handle her experience I ve known several adopted Asians who did try to search for their birth parents, some as young as Cece, and NONE of them did it with so little research or common sense.
On top of that, this book has some major discrepencies that I found hard to ignore For being published in 2009, I can t believe the exchange rate wasn t better verified 12 kuai hasn t equaled under 1.
50 since the late 90s And while I may be nit picking there, the broad explanation of China s new one child policy as if you have a girl, you can try to have a second child is absolutely misleading and for the most part false China HAS adjusted its policy to combat the abandoning of its baby girls it is illegal to abandon your child, it is illegal to have an abortion based on the fetus sex which is why parents are not allowed to be told the sex of their baby Penalties include a stiff fine and possible jail time The only likely scenario I can think of where a couple would be allowed a second child is if they were farmers and they could prove that a boy could help out manual labor wise better BUT, as all Chinese couples must apply for a license to have a child no license and your child is not legally recognized and you will be fined for having a child without a license , most of these laborers can barely afford the first license, let alone a second And the reason why I am so angry that this wasn t better researched and explained is that I feel that these misrepresentations of China continue America s negative misunderstandings about this culture and its people.
So why do I still give this book four stars Because overall, I think this is a great opportunity for young people, especially Americans who live such isolated lives , to learn about the world I think Liu does a great job at capturing the wonders of Xi an and introducing other important historical sites besides just the terra cotta warriors I also think that with as many American adopted Asians as there are, it s important for them to have characters with whom they can identify with Cece is a typical American girl and she doesn t identify with her Chinese roots And I grudgingly gave into the fact that I identifiedwith Cece than I cared to admit.
I ve read a lot of stories about adopted kids Most of these stories are written by people who are not adopted And while you can interview adoptees and get emotions, these writers can t get the exact tone as to what it s like to be adopted And by the way, NOT all adopted kids share the same feelings So, in the end, I think Liu would have had a stronger story had she stuck to what she knows, which is what it s like to be Asian growing up in America I think this story would have been a perfect 5 stars had she written it from Jessica s point of view she s just as American as Cece, but has the other struggle of dealing with her Chinese parents Chinese expectations How does Jessica balance the two sides to herself and still manage to figure out who she is and how she fits in But I highly recommend this series to anyone with a preteen kid The S.
S series covers many other counries and I think does a good job at getting people interested in places outside their comfort zone.
This is the fourteenth in a fifteen book series published by Penguin from 2005 2010, S.
S Students Across the Seven Seas This multi author series features a student studying abroad in a different country Liu s book stars Cece who travels to China to study her passion anthropology But the trip has special meaning for Cece She wants to go to the Beijing orphanage where she spent her first two years She hopes to find her biological parents without her parents knowing about it.
Cecil s guilt and ambivalence of finding her biological parents is a theme throughout the book Her search for her family is an interesting backdrop to her love for anthropology Both involve her digging for the truth and both present challenges and obstacles In a moment of reflection in the middle of the book, Cece is visiting The Bell Tower in Xi an where four major roads cross Note this is a great example of using a setting to reflect a character s emotions In this case, the crossroads show Cece s indecision I just discovered this symbolism in One Stop for Writers She is thinking about Jess her roommate and Will her crush who seemsinterested in Jess than in her Cece leaned against the balcony rail, studying them elderly adults doing tai chi a while longer Then she looked past the square, at the citizens crowding the streets, the signs written in Chinese and the bikes, buses, and carsIt was all so different from everything she knew, and it made her wonder if China would ever feel like a place where she could belong Like she could be a part of this country, too.
She listened to the bell ring over the city Then she saw her purpose here withclarity than ever before Who cared what happened with Will and Jess It was trivial compared to what she was about to embark upon in Beijing in a couple of weeks She would be getting a chance to learnabout herself, and that was what she should be thinking about p.
100 Jess s story is an interesting counter balance to Cece s A little on the wild side, Jess is only in the summer program to try and make her father happy When her grades don t meet his expectations, she pulls out of the program with a decision to follow her dreams of attending design school In a candid conversation before she leaves, Jess tells Cece You re so lucky, Cece Your parents they don t care about all that They re just glad they have you, right And they probably loved you unconditionally since they got you p.
215 Seeing herself through the Jess eyes, Cece grows in self awareness and realizes what she still needs to do.
The romance which eventually develops between Cece and Will is sweet, does not overpower the story, and is written without sexual overtones Although the book is listed as young adult, I think girl readers in the upper range of middle school will enjoy it also If you want to win my gently read autographed copy of The Great Call of China for yourself or your favorite 7 9th grade female reader, leave me a comment by June 3, 2016 Please leave your email address if I don t have it As usual, if you share this on social media or become a follower of my blog, let me know what you have done and I ll enter your name twice.
I liked it Very cute and obviously the travel aspect was so on pointe Only thing that bugged me was the author saying ni hao meant how are you which it does literally but pretty much always means hello But apart from that I enjoyed it and the Mandarin was really accurate besides that haha thank u Chinese classes.
A good book can be enjoyed by anyone of any age People of different ethnicities and ages enjoyed Harry Potter I wasn t one of those people, however While TGCC was very possibly marketed to teenage girls, Cynthea Liu s book appeals to those interested in Asian Asian American culture, Chinese culture, romance, or even Asian American romance.
The story is about a Chinese American girl named Cece Charles, an adopted girl by a white couple who lives in Texas Cece is going to Xi an, China on the S.
S Students Across the Seven Seas anthropology program for high school students She is not only going to her country of origin, but she is also trying to find her birth family before the program s end Cece s her adoptive father is with her on the decision to find her birth parents , but Cece s adoptive mother feels that may distance Cece from her adoptive parents In China, she meets Will, a half Chinese half white boy she falls for after meeting him on the plane Will is also pursued by a Chinese Asian American girl named Jess who has stereotypically tough Chinese parents who want her to be an anthropologist Jess is depicted as a cocky girl, somewhat materialistic girl who sees life through blinders and would rather go clubbing than go studying Cece also meets a white American named Kallyn who with Will become her go to friends who give her second opinions on decisions made during this trip to China Peter is a student Cece meets in China who acts as Cece s translator, and is assigned to show Cece around the city all the exchange students are assigned a Chinese partner.
There are simple Chinese words towards the end of the novel as Cece interactswith the Mandarin speaking Chinese community As someone who is studying the Chinese language, this was a little practice for me The students in the book have to take lessons themselves, and as Cece ventures out on her own to find the orphanage she came from, she picks up words here and there.
even though it is Peter who does the talking for her.
There is some very deep emotion in this book, especially towards the end When Cece finds her birth father and we hear the story of what happened that led to Cece being adopted I personally had that awww feeling The writer did her job I like that the writer broke stereotypes, or seemingly broke stereotypes Many times in it seems like the white adoptive parents are trying to Americanize or even white wash the adopted Asian children, particularly the females In TGCC, the white adoptive parents learns she has an American culture e.
g Asian American and Chinese culture In the end, her adoptive mother even speaks to Cece in Chinese, realizing that while Cece loves her adoptive parents, she also loves and recognizes her birth parents and where she came from On the other hand, with Jess, even though she comes off as somewhat domineering, irresponsible, and she rather go clubbing than study, she turns out to be a lot smarter than she leads on Jess is told by her parents that she will be an anthropologist to make it worthwhile that her parents came America for a better life However, like most individuals who have parents who want to direct their life no matter the age their age that person has to find their own way in life Hence, Jess plans on pursuing a degree at a design college after going through several arguments with her parents, over the phone in the course of the story She also pursues a boy named Chris once she finds out that Will whom she was also interested in actually had a mutual affection with Cece Given her rebellious nature towards her parents, particularly her father, I want to think that Chris was a black kid, even though he is not racially described For example, if Chris was white, Jess would seemingly be white washed, distancing herself from her Chinese culture or Asian ness If Chris was Asian Chinese that would seem like she is still embracing the Chinese culture and changing from her initial comment that she doesn t date Asian boys she is only rejecting the rigorous, stereotype her Asian parents embody Lastly, with Will, his parents are getting divorced It is assumed, even though Cynthea Liu doesn t describe it, that Will is half Asian and half white Like Chris, it s not clear in regards of the ethnicities of the mother and father, but based on American media, it is assumed to be a white male Asian female relationship If we were to go on this assumption of the white male Asian female parentage of Will, it breaks a stereotype that these relationships are just like any other, and they are not better or seamless because these particular ethnicities are coupled since American media tends to view the white male Asian female coupling as normal or non controversial versus other relationships such as Asian male white female or even black male non black female.
I found the book to be somewhat cinematic, and could see this being turned into a charming movie that focused on Asian American teenagers if done right As for the book itself, I definitely recommend it.
Great Call of China is great for a short and entertaining read I loved how quick the story flew by.
Cece was an interesting main character Though there weren t too many details about her and her personality, it could be portrayed through the way she steadfastly went looking for her real parents in Beijing And even though she knew that she might face negative answers and responses, she had a determination and courage that allowed her to find out about her family.
I also loved reading some parts of the program because I can totally relate to it I m leaving to Taiwan for this camp and though it s not going to be so academically oriented, it s interesting to see who Cece s roommate is, the lifestyle, the workload and et cetera It kind of makes me nervous about my roommatehmm.
Though Cece was a realistic character, the others weren t so much There didn t seem to be much depth and personality to them The only one out of all her friends that seemedreal was her roommate, Jessica She s the only one who seemed to face troubles and was the only one who changed at the end of the book She becameindependent and learned to get out of her comfort zone to do what she really wants All the other characterswere just there.
The ending was quite predictable It seemed like the typical happily ever after type of ending.
Overall, Great Call of China is a great story about family and learning to becomeculturally aware.
S Butit s disappointing to look at the series list and note that 1 9 of the 14 books take place in Europe plus one in Australia and one on a pretty white bread semester at sea , 2 12 of the 14 heroines appear to be white, and 3 the two Asian protagonists and only the two Asian protagonists are doing a semester abroad in part as a way to get in touch with their heritage.
It s possible even likely that the individual authors didn t have much forewarning about the other authors books, but it seems like a lapse on the part of the publisher.
Anyway Back to the book at hand Cece is spending a semester in China, where she hopes to learn a lot about anthropology her passion maybe break out of her work hard persona a bitand of course see if she can find out who her biological parents are and why they gave her up for adoption.
A number of things work here Cece s interest in anthropology, and the intensity of her programme, means that we get a lot of tidbits about Chinese history and culture Unlike certain S.
S heroines I could mention, Cece spends a fair amount of time with people from China, not just other exchange students She manages to figure out a lot about herself over the course of the book, as do some of the other characters.
The stereotyping was weird, though It was a little like the book was throwing out a stereotype, shouting Aha A stereotype , chuckling indulgently at the reader, andcarrying on I don t know what to make of it, really And the resolution with Cece s search was way too good to be true.
But hey Expect fluff, get fluff These books don t claim to be anything else.
More general look at the series here.
I really enjoyed this book, especially for a YA semi chick lit story Cece, a Chinese born high school student who was adopted by American parents, spends her summer at an anthropology program in Xi an, China While she s there, she attempts to learnabout her own heritage and her birth parents The book contains many little snippets of information about China and Chinese culture, woven in as Cece and her classmates see the country The characters are fun, and the romantic thread of the story is not too cliche.
Chinese Born Cece Was Adopted When She Was Two Years Old By Her American Parents Living In Texas, She S Bored Of Her Ho Hum High School And Dull Job So When She Learns About The SASS Program To Xi An, China, She Jumps At The Chance She Ll Be Able To Learn About Her Passion Anthropology And It Will Give Her The Opportunity To Explore Her Roots But When She Arrives, She Receives Quite A Culture Shock And The Closer She Comes To Finding Out About Her Birth Parents, The Apprehensive She Gets Enter Will, The Cute Guy She First Meets On The Plane He And Cece Really Connect During The Program But Can He Help Her Get Accustomed To A Culture She Should Already Know About, Or Will She Leave China Without The Answers She S Been Looking For This book is so good 1 The reason why I read this book was because the title amused me.
2 The character that I found interesting is Jessica Even though she was not the lead of the story I found it interesting how the author haw written her in ths book In this book, Jessica is a Chinese teenage girl who lives in San Francisco with her very strict parents At first Cece, the lead, wasn t very friendly to her because she thought that Jessica was a mean, bratty girl but she s actually very friendly As the story goes on, I saw the change that Jessica s personality changes from being an actual bratty person to a responsible teenager who puts other people s sake before hers An example of this was when she was i charge of costumes for a group presentation, during that period her strict parents were making her go back home as she didn t meet their expectations, but she insisted to stay just until she finishes the costumes She made sure to finish costumes and she made them very well before she said her goodbyes to her friends Also, at the start it seemed like Jessica only cared about make up, clothes, boys and partying But as time went on, she found out what she should do to be happy even if she had to go through her parents I like her courage.
3 The quote that I found interesting was But you can t let that fear keep you from finding out the answers to your questions This was said by Cece s friend Kallyn to Cece to help her decide whether she should gace her fears and find out the truth about why her birth parents left her at the orphanage even if there is that voice inside her head that tells her not to.
4 The thing that this book made me think about is how some parents leave their child behind It just seems so cold I don t understand why they would give up their child just because of their old beliefs I just don t get it, maybe it s because I m still young and still haven t seen enough to actually judge.