Patty Ho is fifteen years old, half-Taiwanese and half white. She feels too Asian to blend in at her predominantly white high school, and too white to fit in with the “China Dolls” –daughters of her mom’s potluck group. With a “perfect” older brother and overbearing, distrusting mother Patty doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere, including her own home.
It isn’t until Patty is forced to go to summer math camp at Stanford that she finds her confidence and begins to see the beauty in being hapa. She also discovers that smart is sexy and being great at math is an asset not a liability.
I loved watching Patty transform as she found herself, learned about her family, and made some amazing and unexpected friends. This (like all of Justina Chen Headley’s books) is a beautifully written and tender story with a protagonist you can’t help but cheer on.
If watching Patty and her fellow SUMaCers work on problem sets makes you want to sharpen your own math skills, check out these books in Danica McKellar’s Math Doesn’t Suck series:
~ Tricia is the teen librarian at CPL. She is determined to build up her mathematics moxie after 15 wasted years of believing she was “bad” at math.