“It is very rare that a coming of age novel transcends its inherent limitations and attains the complex emotional resonance of adult fiction. Dragon Chica does this with great aplomb. The book explores with subtlety and depth the mature, universal issues of identity and connection, but it also retains its direct appeal to younger readers.
“May-lee Chai has performed a remarkable act of literary magic.”
—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Powerful, witty and profound, Dragon Chica introduces a new kind of American heroine.”
—Alicia Erian, author of Towelhead
Nea, a Chinese Cambodian teenager, has survived the Khmer Rouge only to land in poverty in Texas. Her small family struggles to get by when a miracle occurs. Wealthy and mysterious, Auntie and Uncle write to say they are alive and well, running a Chinese restaurant in Nebraska. As Nea helps pack Hefty bags with meager belongings for a journey into the American Midwest, little does she know their miracle has a dark side.
Soon family secrets, small town resentments, lies born of wartime and a forbidden love threaten to tear them apart forever. In the tradition of Holden Caulfield and Scout Finch, Nea must fight to save her family...and herself.
“Eleven-year-old Nea has seen the very worst this world has to offer – from civil war in Cambodia, to the rice fields of the Khmer Rouge, to the bullying hallways of American public school…Dragon Chica will hold you in thrall.”
—Nina de Gramont, author of Every Little Thing in the World and Gossip of the Starlings
“What does it take to survive? Dragon Chica shows that you need courage, luck, cajones, a sense of humor, and a few miracles.”
—Lac Su, author of the award-winning memoir I Love Yous Are for White People
May lee Chai is the author of five books, including The Girl from Purple Mountain, which was nominated for a National Book Award. She is the recipient of a 2006 NEA Grant in Literature. A former reporter for the Associated Press, she is currently a Chinese translator for PEN American Center. May-lee Chai lives in San Francisco.
About May-lee Chai
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Published September 24, 2010
Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books.