Lucy Wu is incredibly excited to start the 6th grade with her friends, her basketball team, and (of course) that special boy she has a crush on. She's also thrilled that her older sister is finally going away to college, leaving Lucy with her own room to redecorate and spread out in. Things couldn't be better! Until, of course, Lucy learns that her Great Aunt Yi Po is coming to visit from China...and will be Lucy's new roommate.
Lucy has always considered herself a typical American kid, but has been consistently bullied by her older sister about not knowing enough Chinese and not caring enough about her heritage. And now that Yi Po is coming, her parents are expecting her to drop everything (including basketball) to attend Chinese school, totally ruining all plans that Lucy had for her year.
I was a little nervous about this one at first, as I was afraid that it would be like so many that have come before, featuring a girl finding out about her culture and being frustrated with her family members. I didn't want the character of Lucy to be lost in a story that has been written many times, but was very pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the story. We watch as Lucy grows into her own person, despite all of her initial disappointments about being picked on, having Yi Po for a roommate, and having to attend Chinese school.
Lucy has completely appropriate 11 year-old reactions to her situation and as she matures and learns about different aspects of her life (and her family), she is able to teach the reader about China, it's culture, AND what's it's like being a confused 6th grader. The meshing of the two issues was done quite well and the overall result is a fun, inspiring read.
A note on the cover: definitely needs some work. I wasn't incredibly intrigued to pick this one up, but am glad I did.
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Review copy received from publisher