Name: Loveboat Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Loveboat Taipei is the debut novel in a new young adult series from Abigail Hing Wen.
The story begins in the USA with Ever Wong, she is just about to graduate high school and move onto college but she has a massive problem. Her caring yet at times overbearing parents want her to study at medical school to become a doctor yet Ever has secretly applied to go to NYU’s Tisch School of Performing Arts to study dance, as she has a fear of blood and dancing is her true passion.
When her parents discover this they are angry and tear up her offer letter from the college. They also inform her they have enrolled her on a summer school program in Taiwan. Ever expects the summer school to be very strict and is extremely upset about going there, especially as she will miss out on dancing in a parade she had choreographed a routine for with her friend Meg.
However when she arrives she discovers she is at the infamous Loveboat – a free-for-all where hook ups abound, adults turn a blind eye and the night life runs non-stop and this may shape up to be a summer that she will never forget…
I absolutely adored reading this debut from Abigail Hing Wen. Her main character of Ever Wong is an amazing character and one which I think many people can relate to at the age she is. She is at that time of your life which can be exciting and scary where anything and everything is possible yet she doesn’t want to upset her parents or go against them which I think for some teenagers they can relate to.
I do remember times in my life when I was younger where for example when the tuition fees for university went up in the UK my parents didn’t want me to go as I would end up saddled with debt. This was frustrating though I did ultimately end up agreeing with them which led me to my career in SEO in my day job which as it involves content writing sort of ended up being similar to what I wanted to do anyway, which was journalism.
I also enjoy dancing and doing Zumba as a hobby (and dancing like no ones watching when I do 😂) so I also had that in common with the main character and though I don’t want to spoil the climax, it did bring a bit of a tear to my eye as Ever grows in confidence through the novel.
The book also have some quite dark themes which are explored, from racism and feeling out of place as an immigrant in another country, even an element of revenge porn and abusive relationships, to mental health and medical conditions such as dyslexia and the different attitudes to these conditions in other countries which are all handled really well by Hing Wen. Part of what makes this issues effective is how realistic the supporting characters feel, as I think most people will recognise aspects of these characters in the people they know, from Rick to Xavier to Sophie and all of them have an interesting back story explored in this novel.
Speaking of attitudes in other countries, the setting of Taipei is also incredible and I must admit as a reader doesn’t appear often in Western fiction and it does make me want to visit this country at some point in the future. Hing Wen also mentions the landmarks are real places so would be a fun tour to find them.
A sequel to the series, Loveboat Reunion has also recently come out and there is a movie adaptation for this book coming out which I can’t wait to see which at the time of writing doesn’t have a release date, though if I find that out I will update here but I would highly recommend giving this book a try.
If you have read it, I would love to know what your thoughts are – let me know in the comments down below.