Review: The Wangs vs. The World

I’m thrilled to share a review of The Wangs vs. The World, a dazzling debut by the witty and wonderful Jade Chang. I received an advanced copy from Harper Collins Canada as a part of the #HCCFirstLook program – big thank you to the team at HCC for fuelling my love of books (and chocolate – my book arrived with an adorable baggie filled with chocolate coins!). Read the review below!


The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang
Photo by Katrina Sklepowich. Advanced copy provided by Harper Collins Canada.

Jade Chang’s debut The Wangs vs. The World is a modern American epic. Full of heart and humour, Chang’s cross-country road trip romp centres on the Wang family as they grapple with change during the 2008 financial crash.

The American Dream failed Charles Wang. The myth that anyone can do anything as long as they work hard enough – that Charles Wang, a Chinese immigrant-turned-cosmetics-mogul could make something from nothing – is debunked with a single mistake: the Failure. In one fell swoop, the glorious Wangs lose their fortune and must face a new reality: that money does not equal happiness.

As the Wang’s Bel-Air mansion is foreclosed and numerous vehicles and valuables are repossessed, patriarch Charles packs his wife Barbra and some family heirlooms into his Ama’s old Mercedes and drives across the country to reunite with his three children. Style blogger Grace, the youngest Wang, is snatched from boarding school in Santa Barbara with a semi-stolen laptop, while naïve comedian-wannabe Andrew is pulled out of college with a duffle bag full of designer sneakers. Together, they take off for the upstate New York hideout of the eldest Wang daughter, former it-girl artist Saina.

Each Wang family member copes with loss in his or her own way – Grace thinks she’s being punked by a new reality television show, Andrew seeks to cash in both his stand-up and actual V-cards, and Saina makes a tentative comeback in the art community. The ever-resilient Barbra grapples with leaving Charles and reinventing herself yet again – or sticking by him. And Charles stakes all of his hope on reclaiming his ancestral land in China, clinging to family folktales and the promise of a fresh start.

As each Wang comes to terms with financial destruction, Chang rebuilds each character in surprising and beautiful ways. As Charles lies in a hospital bed outside of Beijing, China, he realizes a profound truth: that there can be as much joy in destruction as in rebuilding. Though the Wang family’s financial ruin is significant, their bond as a family brings them hope and strength. The message of The Wangs vs. The World is simple: don’t let failure define you. Instead, learn from your mistakes and own them. And then go forth, a new you – a stronger you.

With laugh-out-loud wit, Chang delicately breaks down what it’s like to make it as an immigrant in America, what it looks like to lose it all, and what it means to redefine what is important. A stunning debut, The Wangs vs. The World is an essay on our resilience in tragedy and life’s beauty amidst adversity.


Thanks for following along! I’m looking forward to sharing more book reviews and travel updates with you over the coming months.

Stay well,
Katrina

Review – Where They Found Her

Hello readers,

Now that school’s out, I’ve been a book-reading machine! I’ve had the chance to finish up Love in the Time of Cholera, The Darkest Minds, Red Queen, and binge-read two Kimberly McCreight novels in 3 days: Reconstructing Amelia and Where They Found Her. You can look forward to my thoughts on Reconstructing Amelia in the next month, as that’s the book that It’s Literally a Book Club is reading for April and May.

As a part of Harper Collins Canada’s newly relaunched #HCCFirstLook program, I, along with 9 other readers across the country, received an advanced copy of Where They Found Her and got to review it. Here’s your first look at my review – enjoy!


 

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
A review by Katrina Sklepowich

where they found her

Kimberly McCreight’s sophomore novel, Where They Found Her, masterfully weaves together the stories of a mother struggling with a devastating loss, a daughter desperately striving for perfection, and a town reeling from the discovery of a newborn dead in the woods.

Where They Found Her explores more than what is lost and found in an idyllic New Jersey college town ­– it explores mother-daughter relationships at their very core and what it means to be a parent in today’s world.

When Ridgedale, a picture-perfect town by definition, is shattered by tragedy, former lawyer and budding small-town journalist Molly Sanderson is there to pick up the pieces. But instead of a plucky heroine in designer clothing and stiletto heels, McCreight gives us a broken, depressed, and wonderfully human character that not only solves a mystery, but also heals herself in the process.

Like Reconstructing Amelia, Where They Found Her pieces together a story through the voices of multiple women, all of whom are flawed, struggling, and relatable. This is McCreight’s strength: providing characters with which we, as readers, can deeply relate. Each character’s wishes, fears, insecurities, and hopes are what drive this story and keep us yearning for more.

A page-turner filled with unexpected twists, creepy characters, and McCreight’s exceptional knack for online and social media commentary, Where They Found Her will keep you guessing until the very end. And as you find out more about Molly, Sandy, and the other strong women in this story, you’ll also probably find out more about yourself. You’ll also come away with a newfound appreciation for your mother.

The perfect read before Mother’s Day, Where They Found Her will keep you on the edge of your seat but it will also inspire you.


This review, and others, will be posted on TheSavvyReader.com – be sure to check out the site for more great recommendations.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Where They Found Her and get reading, especially if you are fan of books like Gone Girl and The Girl on The Train. I also think it would make a great gift for mom – remember, Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, May 10th!

Happy reading,
Katrina