Fresh off the Boat
This is the reason why I picked up this book. June 12 is the day of our Independence. And I thought this would be a good way to celebrate: by reading a book by a Fil-Am author about an immigrant girl.
I was quite wary in reading this because it was published 2004 or 2005. And since it is a "contemporary" book, maybe it's not as contemporary as it is for 2017. But I was wrong apparently! This book actually has depth in it despite the main character. It actually talks about culture, adjustment to new life, being an immigrant, and change.
Speaking of main characters, V is fourteen years old. So I had to channel my fourteen-year-old-self when I was reading it. And guess what. V and I actually have a lot in common! One significant thing for sure was being boy crazy. I was as bad as her when it comes to boys. And that's the thing. Even though the narrator is a Filipino immigrant, you'll still find something in common with her because everybody knows how to feel in love and looking for that first love.
I actually like a lot of this book. I like the friendship that she built in here. Because I for one know how hard it is being an immigrant and all that stuff. I think it was a genuine friendship and that was really cool. The family aspect is also amazing. Family is very important in the Philippine culture. All the quirks, traditions, the small itty bitty details just immerse me in familiarity because that's how I am with my family too.
Personally, the author's examples and explanations of how Manila and the Filipino people are actually on point. For someone who doesn't know anything about the Philippines, the glimpses given here are a good way to have an idea about Manila. But just Manila not the entirety of the country.
Like I said, there was actual depth in this. A teen or a tween will, in my opinion, would learn something from this and I really like that.
This is a really good book, but it was quite dragging. There's just some stuff that I thought was overly explained.
Really good book. And I'm so happy Melissa de la Cruz gave us a voice.
~ the Filipino traditions are on point
~ more depth to it than I expected
~ contains a plot twist
Fresh Off the Boat by Melissa de la Cruz
Vicenza is having a hard time adjusting to life in San Francisco. She was unfairly torn from her well-off life and friend in Manila, Philippines, and forced to emigrate to California, where she now shops at the Salvation Army, works in her family's cafeteria in Sears on the weekends, and is ignored by the snooty girls at her new school. Her life gets so bad that she actually goes to the movies with her family on a Friday night. Finally, V, as her friends call her, befriends Isobel, the French exchange student, who helps V see that if the other girls don't want her, she doesn't want them, and also helps Vincenza snag the boy she wants. With excellently written characters and sprinkled with emails of her new "glamorous" (fictional) life to her friend back home in Manila, this book will be relatable for any girl who has ever felt out of place.
Surprisingly, this book connected to me in many ways. First of all, I'm sure many of us feel left out or excluded at one time or the other. This book, I can truly say, will connect to alot of teens around because of the raw power of emotion and how something might not always feel right, but it will. What made this book stand out was the reality of it. It wasn't just a chicklit, it was also upfront and honest. From the shopping from the Salvation Army to the recording of TV Shows illegally to make money, this book packs a hilarious punch.
Vincenza has just moved from Manila to the US. Her parents seem to be behind on what's popular with American teens and they embarass her to no end. But soon, she makes a new friend since her old best friend, Peaches, is still in Manila. Her new friend is a French student who is also disliked at her school.
Vincenza develops a crush on a guy name Claude and tries to get his attention. But her mother keeps pushing her to go out with this Filipino boy named Freddy. In school, is she isn't getting any positive attention. But she communicates with Peaches and tells her lies about her "perfect life".
I thought that this book was really, really good. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I could really relate to Vincenza because my parents are just like hers! But this is a quick, fun read and definately great for the springtime.