Tag Archives: Simon Pulse

Book Review: Want by Cindy Pon

Simon Pulse
June 13th 2007
336 Pages

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?- Goodreads 

It took me some time to get into this book even though it was surprisingly short (short as in less than 20 chapters). I wasn’t getting sucked into the story, which was disappointing at first. But when Jason actually gets to work, I was like alright this could be a solid book.

I liked Jason and I loved the internal conflict he was experiencing. He was struggling with doing what is right and how to complete the mission without catching feelings. Its a classic battle but it was written really well. Jason is a likable character, despite the overall slow moving plot.

What I liked most about the book was the literature references. Jason proves how smart he is by being able to hold a conversation and show off his intelligence without actually trying to belittle people. He is very conscious of how he is viewed, no matter when he didn’t have any money to when he had money to blow.

Jin Corp which is the villain of the novel and for me they weren’t as evil enough. Their role in the novel was basic as in they kill people for $ and on principle. They do not care about the little people and will do anything to stay on top. True classic villain and I am not even made at it.

However, there was predictability within this book. The author tries to add shock value for certain things but it was stating the obvious because you saw it coming when the story began.

What I wanted more from the book was a bit more backstory on Jason’s team. They made a lot of things possible and I don’t think there was as much credit as they deserved. I felt that their voice could have been stronger, especially since the book itself was a bit slow.

I will give the author credit for that ending. It made me want to read book two. There is a thrill I feel that book two will have that this book did not and that is what I am looking forward to.


3 Pickles

Quick Five© with Crystal Chan

 Courtesy of Crystal Chan
Courtesy of Crystal Chan

Name: Crystal Chan

Who is Crystal? Half Chinese, Half White author making sure people know the hardship of growing up diverse.

Website: http://crystalchanwrites.com/

Book: Bird, All that I Can Fix

Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Diversity is an important part of literature. Although in the past, it hasn’t been pushed as much as it is today, it doesn’t make it any less important. If nothing else, history has proven that diversity, true and honest diversity, can change how people see and interact with the world around them.

Meet Crystal Chan, an author who makes it her life mission to not only write but to also speak for the less heard and remind people, children and adults, through diversity talks, how important it is to not be a jerk.

P.S. You can read the first chapter of Bird  here


Simon Pulse
Published June 12th 2018
320 Pages

How hard was it for you growing up as a mixed-race child in Wisconsin? Has those experiences in your childhood influenced your writing in any form?

It was hard, yes, growing up as the only mixed-race person I knew (besides my brother), probably the only mixed family in town. Everyone around us was white, all the TV actors were white, everyone in magazines and catalogs (!) were white, so I thought I was white, too. Except when we’d eat chicken feet at dim sum, or beef tripe, or friends would come over and see Chinese newspapers strewn around the house. Or when kids would call me “Chink”. Or Dad would speak Chinese on the phone to his family overseas. Or he’d talk about the importance of our last name, our family name. So it’s weird, I guess: we really stuck out but tried really, really hard to blend in.

And that worked better some times than others. My characters, unsurprisingly, want to be normal but can’t be. Because they aren’t: in Bird, Jewel is mixed race and her friend, John, is a transracial adoptee – in the middle of Iowa. I draw from my own experience a lot for this. And yet, especially as Bird has sold in eight countries around the world, I’m finding that there’s a universal story that Bird taps into, one that transcends race and culture, even, one that taps into the workings of the human heart. In that way, the publication of Bird has been really healing for me: I didn’t expect Bird to sell, much less connect with people in other countries. It’s really taught me that there is a universal, human experience, and that we’re all wrapped up in it somehow.

In your bio, you state you are a professional storyteller. What exactly makes a person a professional storyteller? Is it the fact that you share stories with those who are not family or because you share stories publicly?

In my twenties, I had a number of paid storytelling gigs performing at concerts and schools, and I loved it. I’m finding that life is coming back full circle, as I’m going into schools now talking about Bird, yes, but really, I’m just telling stories again.

 Atheneum Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 28, 2014 167 Pages
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 28, 2014
167 Pages

What inspired your debut novel “Bird”? Why did you choose to write a middle-grade novel?

I had just finished reading Keeper, by Kathi Appelt, and was sick at home from work. I had also finished my first manuscript and was fretting that I might not have another idea for another novel. Ever. I was thinking about this for hours, and finally I got so sick of myself that I said, Crystal, either you get up out of bed and write your next book, or you go to sleep because you’re sick. But you’re not going to lie in bed thinking about not writing your next book.

And then I started thinking more about Keeper, and how I loved that story; it’s about a girl who thought her mother turned into a mermaid and goes out to sea in search of her. And I thought, a girl who thinks her mother was a mermaid – that’s such a great idea – But what if… instead… there was a girl whose brother thought he was a bird, but then he jumped off a cliff because he thought he could fly … Then the voice of the protagonist, Jewel’s voice, started speaking and I got out of bed and wrote the first chapter.

What are you currently reading?

I have a book on hold for me at the library right now, and I’m dying to go pick it up: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. Rick Riordan was talking quite a bit about it, so I jumped on along.

Finally, how would you rate the success of your first novel?

Ooooh, that’s a tricky one, bringing up the “S” word! [laughing] Success is so slippery because it means such different things for different people, and if you base success on the market, it can turn on a dime. For me, I define success as the ability to tell the story I want to tell, and clearly, so people can follow along and be swept up by the story – but even more than that, as the author, did I stay true to my characters? Are they acting and reacting and loving and fearing with total authenticity? And I have to say, yes. Jewel and John and Grandpa and the gang are all their messy selves, come what may. And to that end, yes, I successfully told my story.