Book Reviews



“The story has the weight of fate, partly because of its universal themes and partly because of the intermittent references to Chinese traditions and traditional ways of thinking and talking… Even as you worry about what might happen, you trust her [Kimberly]—after all, you’ve watched her grow up.” ― Review by Becky Ohlsen

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Booking Mama:


“I love books about other cultures, especially Chinese; and I adore coming-of-age stories. So I pretty much expected to like this novel. But what did surprise me is how touched I was by Kimberly’s (and her mother’s) story. I guess I realized that it would be difficult to come to a new country and learn a new language and a new culture; however, this book really demonstrated to me how incredibly difficult it would be as well as how strong the individuals are who make the transition. I honestly was blown away by Kimberly’s story and how much it affected me.” ― Review by Julie P.

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Polly Castor:


“After reading this noble story, one feels more ready to handle any eventuality with both true grit and compassionate authenticity. This book was particularly good in audio, where the Chinese accents add to the realism portrayed.” ― Review by Polly Castor

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On Century Avenue:


“The story is told with such stunning clarity that you can’t help but wonder how much of Kimberly’s story is fiction, and how much of it may have been autobiographical retellings of Kwok’s own childhood. And although I found one aspect of the conclusion so infuriating and heart-wrenching I simultaneously wanted to cry, throw a tantrum, and write Kwok a very stern angry letter, I would still stand by Girl in Translation as an incredible piece of contemporary fiction.” ― Review by Stephanie Ulan

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Editorial Reviews:


“Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation speaks eloquently.  Searing debut novel… poignant.”
— USA Today  


“Kwok drops you right inside Kimberly’s head, adding Chinese idioms to crisp dialogue. And the book’s lesson–that every choice comes at the expense of something else–hits home in every language.” — People Magazine


“Consistently compelling.” — Entertainment Weekly


“Dazzling fiction debut.” — Marie Claire 


“Part fairy tale, part autobiography… buoyant.” — O, The Oprah Magazine


Girl in Translation, the astonishing—and semi-autobiographical—tale of a girl from Hong Kong who, at eleven, shoulders the weight of her mother’s American Dream, from Chinatown sweatshop all the way to the Ivy League.” — Vogue


“Kimberly Chang, the girl in the title of Jean Kwok’s first novel, comes to New York from Hong Kong in the early 1980s with her mother, chasing a better life. Ms. Kwok, herself an immigrant, renders Kimberly’s confusion seemingly from the inside.” — The New York Times



Girl In Translation’s Homepage

Taylor Vaca ’19

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