It seemed like today would never get here, but it was finally the pub day for Gloria Chao‘s debut YA novel, American Panda (Simon Pulse, 2018)! I was so fortunate to read a review copy of American Panda months ago and am currently reading it now for the second time.
Gloria had a hectic day, speaking to a high school this morning, signing books at bookstores around the Chicago area during the day, and holding her launch party at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Illinois.
YA Novelist Christa Desir asked Gloria questions, mostly about how she wrote her characters and where she found her inspiration for American Panda. The story follows Mei Lu, a freshman at MIT whose parents have very high expectations for her–major in pre-med, go to med school, marry a nice Taiwanese-American guy. And most of all, she is not to waste her time on “frivolous” things that will deter her from their goals. But Mei has other plans and struggles to be the good Chinese daughter while at the same time following her own dreams. Can she have both? You’ll have to read American Panda to find out!
Other YA authors were in the audience!
One of the fun things about having a reading at Anderson’s is being able to sign your name to one of their pillars. Gloria chose a space just below Richard Russo’s signature.
If you’re in Chicago, it’s not too late to hear Gloria speak! We’ll be in conversation this Saturday at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park.