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An Ocean Apart, a World Away
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440229731, Mass Market Paperback)During the early 1900s, China struggled to maintain an unstable democracy as radical factions fought over territories and political titles. Many young women found themselves caught between old traditions and new notions. Xueyan, or Yanyan, is lucky. Her father is one of the few who believes in education for women. So when an opportunity arises for her to attend Cornell University in America, Yanyan takes it with her family's blessing. Her only regret is leaving behind her schoolgirl crush, Liang Boashu. Once enrolled at Cornell, Yanyan is overwhelmed by culture shock. In America, the food is heavy, the money system is difficult, and odd English phrases like "pull yourself together" are confusing. Still, Yanyan thrives at school, even when American "Big Noses" embarrass her by stereotyping her as a maid, or think she must be good at doing laundry because she is Chinese. But just when she begins to finally feel at home in her new country, Liang Boashu shows up. No longer an angry young militant, Boashu is now a polished diplomat with marriage on his mind. Will Yanyan be forced to choose between her hard-won independence and the feelings she still has for Boashu?
Lensey Namioka's story of one girl's quest for identity in a time of shifting gender roles is both charming and thought provoking. Teens will be absorbed and amused by Yanyan's attempts at American slang ("I had to pull my guts together") and witty observances of "Big Nose" culture, while commiserating with her search for self. Recommended. (Ages 10 to 14) --Jennifer Hubert
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:00 -0400)
Despite the odds facing her decision to become a doctor in 1920's Nanking, China, teenaged Yanyan leaves her family to study at Cornell University where, along with hard work, she finds prejudice and loneliness as well as friendship and a new sense of accomplishment.
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