Tiger Daughter (Rebecca Lim, A&U)
From Rebecca Lim, author and co-editor of the Meet Me at the Intersection YA anthology, this coming-of-age tale is about finding your own voice as a young girl in a minority group, a perspective that so often goes unheard or is overshadowed. Tiger Daughter is a powerful and important new YA novel that is overflowing with empathy and authenticity; every character is written with such intricacy and nuance that they come to feel like real people. Wen, as the only child of Chinese immigrants, embodies the difficulties of being a young girl growing up with familial, cultural and societal expectations and her character is sure to resonate with teens and young adults. When I was growing up, there were very few books I read that included characters who looked like me. As an only child with Chinese immigrants on my dad’s side of the family, it is refreshing to read a YA novel that I can see myself in and that reflects my own experiences. If only a book like this had been written and published 20-odd years ago! Despite its complex themes, which include how to be a friend to someone whose mother takes her own life, Tiger Daughter is a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read, peppered with heartfelt and hopeful moments that will leave readers with a renewed faith in humanity. Solidifying what Lim aimed to do in Meet Me at the Intersection—champion Own Voices stories—Tiger Daughter is by far her most standout piece of work yet. It sits easily alongside Australian coming-of-age award-winners like Looking for Alibrandi, Laurinda and Amelia Westlake.
Freelance reviewer Mischa Parkee is a bookseller, primary school teacher and YA enthusiast.