Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 4, 2016)
Reading Sara Rating: 6/10
Reading Sara Review: I was excited to receive an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) for Wangs vs. the World since it is getting a lot of buzz for its release this fall. And friends, I wanted to love it. Instead, I just liked it. Even though I received the ARC, I will give an honest review.
Wangs vs. the World follows the Wang family, a family led by Charles Wang, a first generation immigrant who made a fortune and then lost it. With his money and big house gone, he and his second wife embark on a road trip to pick up his younger daughter from boarding school, his son from college in Arizona to drive across the country to a New York farmhouse that his oldest daughter recently bought.
Each of the family members has their own piece of the story. This financial crisis comes as a shock, certainly, but they are each battling their selves throughout the journey. They were strong characters, and their emotions went deeper than expected. This book isn’t a spoiled rich kid who loses their money and becomes more of brat type story. Instead, the characters are surprising in many ways, not without faults, but interesting and real.
There are parts of this novel that are heartbreaking and parts that are humorous. In the end, this is just a regular family who is dealing with loss, the future, uncertainty and dreams that may or may not become attainable.
Chang created sharp dialogue for the characters and moved the story along well. My only complaint about the writing was that sometimes she would switch to Mandarin and not provide a translation for the reader. It is usually relatively easy to figure out what was said, but a translation would have been helpful.
Otherwise, this was a good read. Not the best book I have read in 2016, but I won’t dissuade others from reading it!