Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat Taipei, #1) by Abigail Hing Wen
Published by Harper Teen on January 7, 2021
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover (432 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
A wise man once said, When at Loveboat, party like the prodigies do.
When Ever Wong's parents send her away for the summer, she's expecting Chien Tan: a strict, educational immersion program in Taiwan.
Instead, she finds the infamous "Loveboat."
There, Ever is surrounded by prodigies: like Rick Woo, Chinese American wonder boy and longtime bane of her existence; Ever's roommate, the confident and clever Sophie Ha, as glamorous as she is sharp; and the intimidatingly cool Xavier Yeh, heir to an international tech empire.
But her classmates are more interested in the nonstop Taipei nightlife than anything to do with the curriculum. Hookups abound, snake-blood sake flows, and adult supervision is nonexistent. For the first time ever, Ever is discovering what freedom tastes like, and it is exhilarating.
But summer will end and Ever will be back to her parents and the future they've planned for her. Will she let this glimpse of freedom go—or will Loveboat give her the courage to pursue the future she dreams of, and the Ever Wong she wants to be?
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains discussion of depression and suicide, racism, abuse, and distribution of nude photos.
Loveboat, Taipei is the story of Ever’s last summer before college. Her parents want her to attend Northwestern to study medicine, but she wants to go to Tisch and dance. But before that can even happen, she needs to survive eight weeks of Chinese school in Taiwan! Lucky for Ever, it’s not the stuffy environment she’s fearing. In fact, this is the most free Ever has ever felt, much to her parents’ horror.
I loved Loveboat, Taipei! It was exactly what I was wanting to read and more! I adored Ever from the beginning. Her passion for dance is so clear, and her need for her parents’ approval was also clear. I was mortified by the way her mother treated her when she found out she had been accepted in a dance school, but it also rang true with what we knew about Ever’s parents and their plans for her. Of course, this all happens before they send her across the world to learn about her culture, which Ever takes as punishment. Until she actually arrives.
Loveboat, Taipei was so fun! The program Ever’s parents have enrolled her in was nicknamed the Loveboat by students, because it’s a great place to find a parent approved significant other! Ever has never been allowed to date, or really do anything, so she writes out a list of rules she’s going to break! A few of which have to do with boys! Boy drama does take up a large part of the story, but that’s not all there is. Plus it was good boy drama.
Yes, there is a love triangle. Well, it’s actually a love rhombus, I suppose, since Ever’s roommate Sophie is also involved at one point. The first person Ever meets upon landing is Rick aka Boy Wonder. She’s heard about his accomplishments her entire life, so she hates him on sight. Or does she? Then there’s super hot bad boy, Xavier, who Sophie has eyes on. This situation is such a huge mess and I was there for it! I don’t want to give anything away, but dang. Drama. I also had no idea who would end up with who. It’s close.
Loveboat, Taipei is ultimately about Ever finally standing up to her parents and going after what she wants in life. She learns so much about herself while in Taiwan. Instead of simply breaking her parents’ rules just for the sake of breaking them, she discovers what she actually wants for herself. Does she have it all figured out? No, but she has a plan that she hopes her parents can accept, because she’s doing it!
Loveboat, Taipei just made me really happy. It does have it’s darker moments when it delves into mental health and abuse, but it handles these subjects delicately. There is a big epic cheesy moment at the end, but it totally worked!
Quotes from Loveboat, Taipei:
But when I dance, I become music in motion. A goddess. Myself (page 99)
“Love should be between equals. Equal sharing, equal give-and-take.” (page 206)
“Maybe some people are meant to be a part of your life. And we don’t have any control over when they drop in. Or over anything else that’s going to happen that might take them away again.” (page 258)