4 November, 2013
The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee-Crawford Wong has been selected as one of the best young adult books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews.
Congrats to L. Tam Holland for this brilliant debut, which has received high praise, and for Alexandra Cooper who first acquired the novel when she was at Simon & Shuster, and Christian Trimmer, Lindsay’s current editor, who published it so beautifully.
Vee longs to know more about his mysterious family. Why does Dad never talk about China? Mom hails from Texas but never mentions her family. And that’s only one of the wisecracking California teen’s issues. He longs to be on gorgeous Adele’s radar, make the basketball team, and be less disappointed in the whole business of high school. When JV basketball does not pan out and Vee becomes the girls’ team manager, his social life opens up—but so does a new level of angst. Aided by a friend, Vee forges a letter from China asking the Crawford-Wongs to visit and reconnect with their roots. Will Dad buy it? Suffice it to say, the China trip is the best part of the story, full of suspense regarding who they’ll meet and benefiting from the well-drawn relationship between Vee and his father. The R-rated high-school element includes some stereotyping, and Vee’s intense self-reflection gets a bit overdone. Still, the bittersweet conclusion saves the day and shines a poignant light on family life, regret, and gratitude. Grades 9-12. –Anne OMalley
Kirkus Starred Review:
“While characters with mixed heritages are increasingly visible in teen literature, their experience in a rapidly shifting cultural landscape is seldom explored in depth. This first-rate debut does exactly that.”
The Children’s Bulletin
“Vee’s narrative voice is lyrical, full of witty snark and credible sophomore angst… Besides being a stylistically compelling coming-of-age narrative with a warm nuclear family dynamic, this will be a boon for collections in need of high quality titles featuring contemporary Asian-American protagonists.”
School Library Journal
“Vee’s story is upbeat, entertaining, and humorous. His personal dilemmas and explicit descriptions and language capture the adolescent male psyche; offer a mixed-ethnicity perspective; portray the social crosscurrents of public high school; and highlight the values of family, forgiveness, and self-respect.”