Book Review: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

I saw this book on one of the sales tables in the bookstore I used to work in and was very much intrigued by the title and the cover. I think the colour is beautiful and vibrant and I really liked the title because I was about to move to a new place where I did not know the language and would most likely be a girl struggling with translation.

Girl in Translation is about eleven year old Kimberly who moves with her mom from Hong Kong to New York in the late 1990's.

In Hong Kong they lived in a relatively nice house and area, however when they move to New York City they have to live in quite horrible conditions. Kimberly's Aunt moved to the United States many years before with her husband and they now run a successful factory. They put Kimberly and her mom in 'temporary housing' and force them to 'repay their kindness' by working in their factory. Thus beginning Kimberly's life as an immigrant. She attends school and then after school works in the factory until night.

I really liked this book. It showed how hard working and dedicated immigrants are to making a good life for themselves in another country and working to achieve that 'American Dream'. Like most parents, Kimberly's mom pushes her to do her very best in school so that she might have a life different to the one they have now. Likewise Kimberly is determined to give herself and her mom a better life, one that does not require them to be dependent on her aunt.

Kimberly is an amazing character, I think the author did a great job in creating her and having her face, what I can assume are, common obstacles for immigrants such as the language barrier and literally starting at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Kimberley not only faces things that immigrants face but also personal challenges and things that other teenagers all around the world face.

As I mentioned I really enjoyed this book, I believe there are elements of the authors life that inspired this book which makes it that much better. There is a major twist at the end, which I did not see coming and I am not sure how I feel about it. It does not change my feeling of the book because I still really like it but I just don't know how I feel about the end. I do not want to give away any spoilers so I will let you read it for yourself.

Leave your comments below, I would love to know what you think and if you feel the same way about the ending.

Happy Reading!