Holly-Mei is horrified. Her mother has just been promoted and the family must move from their Canadian home to Hong Kong. She will leave all her friends behind; or maybe they are no longer her friends. Holly-Mei has a disastrous tendency to say what she thinks regardless of the effect of her words. However Hong Kong could prove to be exciting. Catapulted into a world of privilege and luxury Holly-Mei finds that while appearances and expectations and behaviours might be different, even in an exclusive school, friendship is still important.
This is the ultimate holiday read. The author sets her narrative in the wealthy society of Hong Kong. Holly-Mei is herself of mixed race – and much is made of this, since her mother is Taiwanese, and her beloved grandmother was an immigrant to Canada. But even in the cosmopolitan society of Hong Kong, Holly-Mei can feel different. However, she is a young teenager as are her fellow students so their behaviours are typical and will be reassuringly recognisable to young readers. Told in the first person, the narrative is brisk, there is plenty of dialogue – and food features frequently. Much is made of contemporary teenage fashions and obsessions, not least with the material possessions necessary for status. This may result in dating the narrative; it is very much of the now. While the author does open an interesting window on cultural differences, at heart this is a school story with all its traditional tropes and characters; a nice touch are the recipes and the glossary of Cantonese and Mandarin words at the end of the book.