Bitter Melon, by Cara Chow, is about an Asian-American high school student named Fei Ting, or Frances, who has lived her entire life obeying whatever her mother says. Frances’ mother wants her to become a doctor and go to Berkeley someday. However, when something goes wrong with her schedule and she is assigned speech instead of calculus, she discovers her new talent. She soon realizes her talent for public speaking and decides to determine her own fate. Frances starts to break all of the rules – she chooses her own college and decides to go into the field of journalism instead of fulfilling her mother’s dreams. Frances chose to control her own life and pursue her dreams.
My favorite part of the book was when Frances finally stood up to her mom when she steals her plane tickets to Scripps. She took the plane tickets from her mom and decided to go anyway to pursue a career in journalism. I liked this part because it really showed how Frances made up her mind to go to Scripps and she wasn’t going back on it. My favorite character is Frances because she is smart, sweet, and very determined.
I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. In fact, it was one of my favorite realistic fiction books. I would recommend this book to all of my friends.
Submitted by Alima H.
I just finished the novel Bitter Melon by Cara Chow, and found it to be a very interesting book. Bitter Melon is about a Chinese-American teen named Frances (or Fei Ting in Chinese) whose goal in life to attend UC Berkeley and become a doctor is decided by her mother. Frances’s mother is very strict, and forces Frances to do things such as wear jewelry when she doesn’t want to and beats her when she doesn’t do what she’s told. During her last year in high school, Frances accidentally walks into a speech class and finds she has a hidden talent for public speaking. Her teacher, Ms. Taylor, suggests that she competes in a tournament. Because her mother does not want her doing anything besides studying, Frances has to hide the fact that she is attending competitions, as well as other things such as falling in love with a boy named Derek. Throughout the course of the book, Frances learns to rebel against her mother and eventually is able to make her own decisions. Bitter Melon is an exciting and interesting read because of its very intriguing plot with constant twists and cliffhangers. I even had the urge to throw the book against the wall during certain moments in the book due to the emotions it triggered. The author really put effort into her work in order to make the reader feel genuinely upset at the mother and empathy for Frances. Overall, I highly recommend this book to all young adult readers. It will certainly keep you hooked and teaches a great lesson in standing up for yourself!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!
Submitted by Lauren Leon