Dragon Chica by May-lee Chai
Nea, a Chinese-Cambodian teenager, flees to Texas as a refugee from the Khmer Rouge regime when a miracle occurs. Although her family has been struggling to support itself, they discover that a wealthy aunt and uncle have managed to make it to America as well. Nea and her family rush to join their relatives and help run a Chinese restaurant in Nebraska. But soon Nea discovers their miracle is not what she had expected. Family fights erupt. Then the past – and a forbidden love– threaten to tear them all apart.
Dragon Chica follows Nea, an indomitable character in the tradition of Holden Caulfield, Scout Finch and Jo March, as she fights to save her family and herself.
A surprisingly great read. I was a little nervous of this book having a lot of heavy content, but it was very well written and even though this story was heavy, it was very thought-provoking and a good read. I always enjoy reading about other cultures. This was a very educational novel for me. It's a coming of age story about a young Chinese/Cambodian girl Nea. They are refugees from a rice field in Cambodia to Texas, USA. Her family travels from Texas to Nebraska in hope for a better life and more money at their family's restaurant, but find it just as full of challenges and hardships as Texas had been. Nea's family runs a Chinese Restaurant and she and her siblings struggle. School is rough and the town is full of bigots and people that do not make them feel welcome.
This book opened my eyes regarding refugees in America today, and the more detailed points of every day life they must endure and the hardships immigrants endure to make the simplest of livings. I came away from this story a little more grateful for what I have.