Genres: Magical Realism, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Booktopia
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Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology in this magical novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After.
Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.
Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.
As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.
An Arrow to the Moon, Emily X.R. Pan’s brilliant and ethereal follow-up to The Astonishing Color of After, is a story about family, love, and the magic and mystery of the moon that connects us all.
An Arrow to the Moon is a magical realism read with some Chinese fables woven in: the story of Chang’e, the moon goddess, and the legend of Hou Yi, the archer. Due to the nature of the magical realism, you do have to suspend your disbelief at times.
An Arrow to the Moon is told through multiple perspectives from the two main characters – Luna Chang and Hunter Yee, along with their family members and even a villain type character. They each share their experiences growing up alongside their family with their respective challenges.
I enjoyed Hunter’s protective love for his younger brother Cody, who is hinted at being on the spectrum. Cody was precious and really embraced his brother’s talent at shooting arrows and shots that do not miss.
Much of the book covers Luna and Hunter discovering the likeness within each other – struggling to fit into a small town as Chinese/Taiwanese. It covers current day political nuances between those who identify as Taiwanese and wanting recognition for their own culture, along with China wanting to wipe out their identity. There’s also Chinese artifacts, traditional herbal medicine and even a triad member being involved, which spices up the plot.
The author’s first book, The Astonishing Colour of After (Review here) was a family saga, and Arrow to the Moon is no different. Hunter and Luna’s parents also share their trials and difficulties they’ve had emigrating to the West. While one family have found success, the other live in secrecy and fear of drawing attention to themselves.
While I did find the ending to be a bit too random and out there, I thoroughly enjoyed what An Arrow to the Moon offered. It covers many nuances about immigrating to the West that only an #ownvoices author can offer – from sharing the joy of Chinese New Year, to the academic pressure, to giving up your successful career and talents for your children. It’s a thoughtful, reflective read, grounded in Chinese mythology and culture.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
<i>I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.</i>