Acceptance to an elite university and a bright future beyond—what more could a teenager want? As Ever Wong discovers in Abigail Hing Wen’s debut novel, Loveboat, Taipei, there’s a whole lot more to life than traditional notions of success.
Ever would rather do anything than spend the summer after her senior year of high school studying in Taipei, Taiwan. But when her parents decide it’s time for her to learn about her culture, Ever reluctantly travels across the globe to attend Chien Tan, an academic program for high-achieving students. Prepared for a summer of boredom, Ever is shocked to find that Chien Tan—nicknamed “Loveboat” because of its notoriety for romance and matchmaking—promises anything but.
Thrilled at her first taste of freedom, Ever is swept up into a world of parties, romance and a healthy dose of rebellion. As she learns the ropes of Loveboat, she encounters plenty of obstacles, and her understanding of her own identity begins to develop. Her summer in Taipei brings her deeper knowledge of her culture, recognition of her passions and the chance to build strong and moving relationships. By the time she leaves Taipei, Ever is a more empowered and passionate version of herself, and she’s brought readers along for her journey.
Heartwarming, honest and at times hilarious, Loveboat, Taipei is a story of learning and growth. Wen has crafted a novel that is not only a warm and fuzzy feel-good read but also a beautiful commentary on identity, self-expression and love. It’s a book readers will be helpless not to fall for.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Abigail Hing Wen.