BOOK REVIEWS

The Year of the Rat (A Pacy Lin Novel) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-08-15 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 36 user ratings
ISBN:0316033618
LANGUAGE:English

"I unknowingly read the books out of order, but it didn't damper my enjoyment of either book. I found the Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat to be a charming, heartwarming, if at times hilarious in a horrifying way, account of a Taiwanese(-Chinese) American girl trying to find out what it means to be Chinese, Taiwanese and American in a town dominant by Caucasians. I mean, read the excerpt from the backcover:

Like an alarm clock, the bell rang and we lined up to go into the cafeteria. It was spaghetti day! Yum, I loved spaghetti, even though I always thought it was strange that they served it with an ice cream scoop. The spaghetti always looked like tennis ball on my plate.

But when I went to take my plate, the lunch lady stopped me.

"Hey," she said, "I just saw you. You already took a lunch. Everyone only gets one!"

"No!" I said. " I didn't. This is my first time."

"Yes, you did," the lunch lady said. "you took spaghetti and french fries."

"No," I said, "I didn't get anything."

"Are you sure?" the lunch lady said. " I know it was you."

"It wasn't!" Becky said. "Honest."

The lunch lady gave me a lunch, but I could tell she didn't believe us. She kept shaking her head and looking at me suspiciously."

* * *

When we went to sit down, Becky nudged me.

"Look over there," she said, point. "That's why the lunch lady thought you already got your lunch."

I looked where she was pointing and I saw a girl that looked Chinese, just like me! I hadn't noticed her before because she had been all bundled up in a fuzzy scarf and hat. She was brand new. I couldn't wait to meet her.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry and I felt like that many times over the span of these two books, but as the author said in her author's notes:
Growing up Asian in a mainly Caucasian community was not a miserable and gloomy existence. But it was different. I wrote The Year of the Dog, because I felt that it was important to have a book that addressed those differences in a real and upbeat way.
And I think the author did brilliantly, in a smart and subtle way. I also love how the author intersects Taiwanese folklores and personal life stories through the novels while still making them part of a larger narrative.

Notes: The book, The Ugly Vegetables, mentioned in the Year of the Dog is an actual book written by the author herself. It's next on my reading list." said.

" A sequel as good as the originalI loved The Year of the Dog so much I immediately began reading The Year of the Rat. I loved learning about the Taiwanese/Chinese culture and traditions as much as I loved reading Grace/Pacy's story. " said.

" Another great read from author Grace Lin, for kids and their immigrants parents, especially those with China and Taiwan background. " said.

" This is the second book in the series, in which Pacy's friend moves far away, and how they both cope. I recommend this book to anyone who likes calm books. " said.

" Read with my daughter. She loves Pacy, and we both love this book. " said.

" I loved all of Grace Lin’s books but I felt like this was a step down. This may be because this was probably meant for a younger age group but I still was disappointed. " said.

" I love Grace Lin's voice in the Pacy books. " said.

" Really charming story -- love the autobiographical nature, the gentle but realistic tone, the things that Pacy/Grace learns for herself as she matures. An enjoyable read! " said.

December 2019 New Book:

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