Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Amulet Books
I don’t know if you are familiar with the classic Journey to the West but I certainly wasn’t. Coincidentally enough, I starting watching Hwayugi a Kdrama adapted from the text and then a few days later The Epic Crush of Genie Lo fell into my lap.
Before I continue with my review, let’s see what the official back copy says:
She annihilates standardized tests and the bad guys.
Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.
But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.
Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.
There are many reasons to love The Epic Crush of Genie Lo but the biggest one in my opinion is the funny. The humour in the book is often laugh out loud funny but before you dismiss the book as simply comic relief, the narrative has an unexpected depth to it that enhances the reading experience.
Now I can’t really talk about this depth without giving away one of the twists in the book but suffice it to say that The Epic Crush of Genie Lo discourses on the meanings of being human and human existence in very interesting ways.
The novel is not that long and the quick pace of the narrative makes it seem even shorter. The characters are all interesting and flawed in ways that the reader will be able to accept. The relationship dynamics are my favourite. Genie and her mother’s relationship, in particular, will be familiar to anyone who has immigrant parents. The dialogue is sharp and witty. The romance is also pretty darned awesome and if you haven’t figured it out by now, I enjoyed this novel immensely. In fact, I really cannot wait for the sequel to come out because of how this book ended–not on a cliffhanger but on a possibility.
So if you haven’t read this book and I am not sure why you wouldn’t have, you need to walk/drive/run yourself to the nearest bookstore/library and get this book. Or you know, you could just buy it through the BookWitty. Either ways, read this book. I guarantee you won’t regret it.