Top Four Things You Need to Know About Like Mandarin:
1. It’s realistic fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of other genres (In fact, I just swooned over Across the Universe here)–but me and Quita’s first love is and always will be realistic, contemporary fiction. Kirsten writes a true coming-of-age story, and though I’ve never stepped foot in Wyoming, it’s like I’ve met these characters before.
2. No boy comes to the rescue. Yeah, I like a good love interest every now and then, but sometimes boys just aren’t needed (shocking, I know). There are definitely good and bad guys that enter Grace’s life, but they don’t change or define her. Mandarin holds that power, and it’s refreshing to read a story about the evolution of female friendship.
3. Well, whaddyaknow, the mom is an actual character. There’s been a lot of talk about how there aren’t many parental figures in YA. While this never had any bearing on whether or not I liked a story, I love how Kirsten makes Grace’s mother so real. She’s not perfect, but she’s not some exaggerated monster, either. She has her flaws but there’s no denying she loves her children–and I couldn’t help but smiling when Grace realizes that, too.
4. You, too, will want to be like Mandarin. I mean, who hasn’t had a “Mandarin” in their high school? You know, the girl that everyone trash-talked but secretly envied. My Mandarin was actually named Vanessa. She was probably just as beautiful as Kirsten described Mandarin, and she drove guys crazy. However, the more I got to know her, the more human she became–and I love how accessible Mandarin becomes at the end of the novel. We see her layers, but she still intrigues us. That’s talented writing right there!
If you like…
Books: Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald…then you’ll like Like Mandarin
Movies: Sixteen Candles, Thirteen, Can’t Hardly Wait…then you’ll like Like Mandarin
If you’ve read Like Mandarin, what are your thoughts? Have you ever wanted to be like someone else in high school?