Dragon Chica by May-lee Chai

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Synopsis

“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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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 and has an M.A. from Yale in East Asian Studies and a second M.A. in English-Creative Writing from the University of Colorado in Boulder. A former reporter for the Associated Press, she is currently a Chinese translator for PEN American Center.
 
Published September 24, 2010 by GemmaMedia. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dragon Chica

Dallas News

Sometimes funny, always very much alive, this novel introduces yet another variation on the modern-day immigrant experience as the Chhim family continues to move on - to East Dallas, where Ma gets a job in a Chinese restaurant, then on to Nebraska.

Dec 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Dragon Chica

Bookmarks Magazine

Then the past – and a forbidden love– threaten to tear them all apart. Dragon Chica follows Nea, an indomitable character in the tradition of Holden Caulfield, Scout Finch and Jo March, as she fights to save her family and herself.

Dec 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Dragon Chica

Reader Rating for Dragon Chica
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