The announcement of a talent show becomes cause for concern for Thai-American Oy. Torn between pleasing her parents by doing a traditional dance of her culture, or by keeping the friendship of her clique (specifically, Liliandra) by performing a raucous American dance, Oy spends most of the book making herself miserable trying to please everyone. Should her loyalties lie with her family, or her friends? Thai words and customs add depth and authenticity to the story.
The story is a quick read; like it’s prequel The Gold Dress the themes of peer pressure, fitting in and adapting are strong. Although Liliandra’s bad behavior seems to stem from underlying issues, Oy comes off passively — not a strong message for readers dealing with bullies or mean girls in their own lives.
This review was originally published on the Hip Librarian’s Book Blog April 2, 2006.