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Calendar Girls (September 2018): Back to School: Best Novel Set in a School

This is the second month that Calendar Girls has been back now, and I couldn’t be happier! This blog event has gone through some changes though. The hostesses have changed entirely from Melanie and myself, to our friends (and former Calendar Girls participants) Katie @ Never Not Reading and Adrienne @ Darque Dreamer Reads! I’m so happy that these ladies were able to adopt Calendar Girls and give it life again! If you want to learn more about Calendar Girls, please read the info below, and if you would like to know even more, please check out Katie’s or Adrienne’s info posts! This week’s prompt should incite quite a lot of discussion, and I cannot wait!

– About the Event –

Description by Katie @ Never Not Reading: Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and will now be hosted by me (!), Katie. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl. Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!

– Best Novel Set in a School –

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Title: American Panda
Author: Gloria Chao
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date published: February 6, 2018

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

– My Thoughts On the Winner –

I really really enjoyed American Panda back when I read it in late January/early February! It made me laugh out loud at times, and the heroine was just so real and relatable. The voicemails from her mother also cracked me up! I ended up having a tough time deciding between this book and 3 others (I go into more detail about that in the honourable mentions below), but ended up picking American Panda because I do remember really enjoying it, and most of it took place on the MIT campus during “school season,” if that’s even the right term, haha. Or is it “school in session”? You can also read my more detailed thoughts about the book in the full review here!

– Honourable Mentions –

As some of the Calendar Girls participants in our private Twitter chat may have noticed, choosing a book for this prompt was very very difficult! I had it narrowed down to 9 (8 of which are shown in the honourable mentions below), and then managed to narrow it down to 5 ( the winner, Emergency ContactWhen Dimple Met RishiSummer Skin, and Check Please: #Hockey). I was stuck on those for a while before I managed to narrow it down even further to 4 top choices (the winner, Emergency ContactWhen Dimple Met Rishi, and Summer Skin). Gah! This was sooooo tough!

   
   

I was very tempted to pick Emergency Contact because it was my favourite contemporary of the year, but I couldn’t remember how much of the story actually takes place at school. The main girl moves into a dorm room at college at the beginning of the book, but yeah, I just couldn’t remember. Also, most of When Dimple Met Rishi took place at a school, but it was for a summer contest/program thing, so I wasn’t sure if that would 100% count either. I know for a certainty that Summer Skin takes place in an university setting, and that most of the scenes take place there, but the same was the case with American Panda, and I liked American Panda more, so it ended up winning!

– Other Participants –

Etiquette & Espionage – Adrienne @ Darque Dreamer Reads Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Katie @ Never Not Reading
A Great and Terrible Beauty – Astrid @ Follow the White Whale Big Little Lies – Lucinda @ Lucinda is Reading
Keeper of the Lost Cities – Carolina @ Fictionologyst The Cruel Prince – Plot Monster
Fangirl – Samantha @ Modern Witch’s Bookshelf Nevernight – Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm
Eliza and Her Monsters – Dani @ Mousai Books Heart on a Chain – Sophie @ Beware the Reader

THANK YOU FOR READING MY CALENDAR GIRLS POST! HAVE YOU EVER READ THE BOOK THAT I HAVE SELECTED FOR THIS MONTH’S PROMPT? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, IS IT ON YOUR TBR LIST, OR NOT? HOW COME? FEEL FREE TO COMMENT ANY OF YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW, WHETHER YOU’RE A CALENDAR GIRL OR NOT!

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