Published by Amulet Books on August 8th 2017
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology
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The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
I’m forever looking for Chinese representation in books, so when I heard about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, I knew I had to pick it up!
This book was so much fun, and a great nod to Chinese folklore, particularly the Legend of the Monkey King. The story centers on Genie, a Chinese teenager who is tall and vivacious, and often battles with her parents over her American mannerisms. I loved how relatable Genie’s struggles were, particularly how she is often pressured by her parents to get good grades, find a nice rich boyfriend and of course, get into a top tier university. A lot of her struggles with being brought up in America but still expecting to respect her Chinese values was something I related to, particularly while growing up.
Most females in YA are often average size and average build, but the thing that sets Genie apart is that she’s a tall girl, who is competitive with a fiery temper, and I loved that about her. She makes no pretenses about who she is and how often she’s overlooked because of those two things, and it was refreshingly frank. The way she often gets into fist fights and jumps to rash conclusions made her really fun as well, especially when Quentin came into the picture.
As a quirky teen boy who seems to be out of touch with the modern day world, Quentin was absolutely hilarious. From his first impression of Genie, telling her she’s his chosen one, to the way he convinces her of her powers and his true heritage, everything about this book was entertaining and witty. Both of the characters had amazing chemistry, and I loved the student/tutor role that they often shared – Quentin on the demonic underworld and Genie on behaving like a modern day teenager.
The story centers on Genie manifesting her powers and battling with the demonic underworld, inspired by Chinese folklore. It was refreshing seeing the Monkey King story come to life in the modern day setting, which is something I haven’t seen in YA before. There’s lots of Chinese gods and goddesses, some which I recognised and was really excited to see them in a book. It’s all covered in such a humorous way, that makes the book so much fun to read.
Featuring Chinese folklore and a teenager who suddenly finds herself thrust upon the demonic world, I loved the characters and the themes of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Regardless of whether you are familiar with the heritage or not, I think it’s a story that will interest those who love video games, anime or kdrama would love simply because of the zany nature of the story. If you’re in the mood for something fun, refreshing and hilarious, pick up The Epic Crush of Genie Lo!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thanks to Amulet Books for the review copy via Netgalley!
Check out my video review on my youtube channel!
Check out Aila’s highlight post and amazing fanart!
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I feel like book twitter has been shouting about this book for the longest time, but I didn’t actually know what it was about, haha. Now I do I think it sounds like something I’d enjoy! I have to say I am 100% over white girls being the only people who get to go on adventures and have magic in their lives, so in that regard I love the fact that the MC in this book is Chinese. I hope we start seeing more diverse characters in fantasy/paranormal books in the future.
I hardly ever read books that are humorous, which is kind of sad! I think it’s because it’s quite hard to make me laugh in a book. Even so, I think I will check this one out because it sounds fun and unique!
Lovely review, Jeann 🙂
Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Four Reasons Why I Didn’t Love Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Yessss, I’m so glad that you’re keen on picking this up after reading this review! Yeah, I love Eastern fantasies because there’s a certain awe about it you know? And it’s actually pretty hilarious lol I hope you do find it amusing! Thank you lovely!
I will definitely be checking out your video once I land in America, Jeann, but I’m so happy this book was a hit for you as well 😀 I love love love Genie’s story and am so pumped for the sequel. *cheers and dances*
Aila recently posted…Wreck Review & Q&A: Action-Packed Crime Thriller
Yay, I’m so glad to hear that Aila! I’m so glad everyone is raving about it because it deserves to be heard <3
I just got this from the library! It sounds really cool! As a short person, I feel like there should be more short protagonists, but I also think that tall people are interesting. I always wonder what kind of view they have up there. XD
Shar@virtually read recently posted…Review: Want
I completely agree, I mean why is everyone always average height? It seems like there’s no diversity when it comes to that at all lol!
I am so so so excited for this book! Everything about this book seems like I would LOVE. And of course I’ve watched TV shows about the Monkey King as a child, so double excited. I’m going to need to get my hands on this somehow!
Valerie recently posted…Review: The Secret History of Us
YESSSS i definitely think it’s totally up your alley, especially since you loved American Born Chinese (which I just read recently and loved too, so thanks for the rec!)
This sounds like such a great story! It’s great seeing the increasing number of diverse books on the market, and it seems like this one is just as fantastic as it sounds. I’m definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Words in Deep Blue
I completely agree Zoe, I’m so glad to see more diverse stories and representation!
I recently read this && DNFed it after about 20 pages, but I’m tempted to return after your review because it was so lovely and eloquently-written. I love the inclusion of Chinese folklore and Genie’s general badassery, so I just might!
Peach @ Rebelle Reads recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Emerald Coast
Awwww I hope you’ll be able to get into it even more now Peach! Soemtimes it does take a while to get used to, but there’s so much fun that happens in the book it’s definitely worth another shot.
I’m part Chinese, and am always on the lookout for Chinese representation, too! Sadly, I hadn’t heard about this about this until the YA librarian I work with had me look at the order form for our collection and I saw it listed. *hangs head in shame*
BUT I’m definitely checking it out. Wonderful review!
That’s a good sign that you know about it now Leah, and that it’s going to be in your collection! I’m excited about others picking this up and discovering the great read.
Lovely review, Jeann! I heard so many great things about this book lately, I can’t wait to read it 🙂
Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…Monthly wrap-up – July 2017
Thank you Marie, I’m so glad that book twitter is spreading the word because the book is so much fun!
I wasn’t interested in this book before, but now that you mentioned that this is a monkey king retelling, I just added this to my tbr! Monkey king is one of my favorite show growing up 😀
Yay, I’m so happy to hear that you added this to your TBR! It’s not really a retelling per se but it’s definitely inspired by. Hope you enjoy it!