Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang - Review

The Great Wall Of Lucy WuThe Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Scholastic Press
January 2011
312 pgs. ARC

Soon to be twelve-year-old Lucy Wu just wants to have her own room and play basketball.  But it seems as if the universe is conspiring against her.  Her parents want her to go to Chinese school and her dad wants her great-aunt, Yi Po to move in with them.  Wouldn't you know that Chinese school is Saturday mornings - same as basketball practice!  And where will Yi Po sleep?  In Lucy's room, of course!  Fine, Lucy decides to sabotage Chinese school so they will force her out and to build a wall that separates her side of the room from Yi Po's.

Good news - basketball practice is moved to an earlier time and now Lucy can do both.  Bad news - she may have to battle mean girl Sloane Connors for captain of the students during the student-faculty basketball game. Sloane wants to be captain and wages a smear campaign to get everyone to back down.  Lucy does NOT want to attract Sloane's attention but everyone keeps pushing her to go out for captain.  Now that Lucy has what she wants, how will she keep it?

 Good news - Yi Po stays on her side of the room.  Bad news - Lucy's side quickly becomes a hazardous area with her clothes, homework, basketball and other items strewn about the small space.  Lucy has learned more and more about Yi Po but she refuses to accept her as part of the family. She's sorry about Yi Po's past but that shouldn't ruin Lucy's present!  But the more she learns about Yi Po, the more Yi Po reminds Lucy of her grandmother.  How can she keep her distance and get Yi Po to move out sooner? Does she really want her to move out sooner?

A great middle-grade read about fitting in and dealing with change.  Lucy fights to be American and Chinese and seems to be failing at both.  She has her whole year planned out and is forced to accept changes she had no say in.  Though parts of the Great Wall of Lucy Wu were predictable, you are vested enough in Lucy's character to want to give her a hand yourself.

Thank you to Scholastic Press for this ARC.  Review also posted at Discovery Middle School IMC page.


  1. I think this book will make for an interesting read too because I can relate to the feelings of annoyance with your 'foreign' grandmother. We love them but they just don't seem to get everything about America and pre-teens and teens. Or at least, that's what we young'uns think ;)

    I'm happy to see another MG novel where the main character's ethnicity only makes the book better but it's not the main issue.

  2. MissAttitude, my daughter relates to the whole "is she Ethnic enough" argument that comes into play in the book.

  3. The Chinese-American tug of war seems to be a popular theme these days. This one sounds like a good MG read.

  4. Cheryl,
    I really enjoyed this one. My daughter and I do want to read the Tiger Mom book too!


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