|Heiress apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty)|
Author: Ma, Diana
When budding actress Gemma Huang flies to Beijing to star in a film of M. Butterfly, she is mistaken for a notorious socialite, kicking off a series of revelations her parents had carefully concealed from her.
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2020 Gr 9 Up—Gemma Huang, a Chinese-American teen from Illinois, is taking a gap year after high school to pursue her dream of acting. Though she has been accepted to UCLA, she trades her academic studies for grueling auditions while living in Los Angeles with other aspiring actresses. When she lands a major role in a new movie adaptation of M. Butterfly, Gemma is thrilled, until she learns that the filming will take place in Beijing. Defying her parents' lifelong ban on traveling to China, Gemma accepts the role and flies across the world. As she enters the luxurious circle of movie stars, Gemma encounters another unexpected jolt: meeting unknown relatives from her mother's family. The secrets her parents had hidden from her all of her life start to unravel, and Gemma is forced to confront her family's roots while struggling to remain loyal to her parents. This page-turning novel's lighthearted tone, mixed with a thorough exploration of serious topics and romantic relationships, is reminiscent of Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Ma successfully creates vivid settings in Los Angeles and China as she uncovers important issues facing Asian Americans, including family expectations, identity, sacrifice, and honor. Although some of the plot twists may seem far-fetched, they work within the confines of the playful and humorous vibe of the narrative. VERDICT A worthy addition to all libraries, especially those seeking nuanced books with Asian American protagonists.—Karin Greenberg, Manhasset H.S., NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2020 Gemma Huang is an aspiring Chinese American actress who lands the lead female role in a modern movie remake of Madam Butterfly. This exciting achievement has some serious drawbacks, however. First, the director knows nothing about Chinese culture, rooting his vision of her character in stereotypes. Second, the movie will be filmed in Beijing, a city Gemma’s parents have long warned her against visiting. Nevertheless, Gemma chooses to go. Upon arrival, she is immediately mistaken for Alyssa Chua, China’s highest-profile socialite, who also happens to be Gemma’s cousin. During her time there, Gemma learns of the long-standing family feud that keeps the Huangs from returning to China. But on the positive side, Gemma falls in love, finds more family than she ever dreamed of, and discovers her own voice regarding her craft and her heritage. More than a cute rom-com, this novel highlights LGBTQ+ rights, contemporary attitudes held by Chinese citizens, Chinese history, Hollywood’s ethnic prejudices, and pride in culture and family. Despite some predictability, this is a fun start to a promising series. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.