Waiting on Wednesday: Chinglish

Waiting on Wednesday: Chinglish



Written by Sue Cheung

384 pages

Published by Andersen Press

Publication date: 5th September 2019

Summary (from Goodreads:)

It is difficult trying to talk in our family cos: 
a) Grandparents don’t speak English at all
b) Mum hardly speaks any English
c) Me, Bonny and Simon hardly speak Chinese
d) Dad speaks Chinese and good English – but doesn’t like talking
In other words, we all have to cobble together tiny bits of English and Chinese into a rubbish new language I call ‘Chinglish’. It is very awkward. 

Jo Kwan is a teenager growing up in 1980s Coventry with her annoying little sister, too-cool older brother, a series of very unlucky pets and utterly bonkers parents. But unlike the other kids at her new school or her posh cousins, Jo lives above her parents’ Chinese takeaway. And things can be tough – whether it’s unruly customers or the snotty popular girls who bully Jo for being different. Even when she does find a BFF who actually likes Jo for herself, she still has to contend with her erratic dad’s behaviour. All Jo dreams of is breaking free and forging a career as an artist.

Told in diary entries and doodles, Jo’s brilliantly funny observations about life, family and char siu make for a searingly honest portrayal of life on the other side of the takeaway counter.

Why I can’t wait to read this:

  • I love stories looking at bilingual, bicultural families.
  • I am excited to see a book looking at the experience of being a BBC (British-born Chinese) as so many of my friends growing up came from similar backgrounds (I was so jealous that they got to go to Chinese school!) yet I haven’t seen many books featuring characters from the BBC community.
  • I am looking forward to seeing code-switching in a book. It is commonly used by bilingual people, yet is often considered as a form of semi-lingualism, rather than what I see as requiring great cognitive flexibility and playfulness.
  • Glad to see a book set in Coventry, rather than London or a city in America as seems most common.
  • I am looking forward to the mixture of diary entries and doodles, as it sounds like a great way to get inside the world of the main character.

What do you think?

Does this sound like the kind of book you would enjoy?

Will you be reading this or do you have any other anticipated releases you would recommend to me?

Let me know in the comments!

See some other Waiting on Wednesday posts here:  When the Mountains Roared, The Exact Opposite of Okay, To Kill a Kingdom, StarfishThe Gloaming, The Smoke Thieves, The Way You Make Me Feel, The Queens of Innis Lear, Legendary, Nyxia UnleashedBright Ruin, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Empress of All Seasons, Tempests and Slaughter, Grim Lovelies, The Glass of Lead and Gold, Storm Witch, The Way Past Winter, The Gilded Wolves, Fierce Fairytales, Descendant of the Crane. Dragon Pearl, Last of Her Name. The Familars. A Pinch of Magic, A Witch Come True, The Winter of the Witch. Once Upon a River, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Shadowscent, Romanov. Echo North, The Wicked King, The Priory of the Orange Tree, Spin the Dawn, Master of Sorrows, Asha and the Spirit Bird, A Treason of Thorns, We Rule The Night, Perfectly Preventable Deaths, Collision, Rumblestar, The Last Spell Breather, The Starless Sea, The Lost Tide Warriors, The Princess Who Flew With Dragons, Containment. House of Salt and Sorrows, Sanctuary, Stronger than a Bronze Dragon, Gumiho/Wicked Fox, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Kingdom, The Taste of Rain, The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of The Hazel Wood, Tangleweed and Brine, Summer Bird Blue, The Pretender or The Gilded King?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvonne says:

    Ooo this sounds brilliant – I love bilingual stories, I just struggle to find them so I will definitely check this out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read it yesterday and it’s fantastic! 🙂


  2. (Kitty) Cat Strawberry - Meow! says:

    I like the sound of this, I’ve had similar issues trying to keep up with another language other than English which my family speak. I also love the sound of it having doodles too, oddly that’s what makes me want to read this the most 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just read my proof copy yesterday and it’s fantastic! The doodles are hilarious!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lilyfae says:

    This hit a number of points for me too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just read it yesterday and it’s really good – hope you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lilyfae says:

        Oh I will be looking for this one!

        Liked by 1 person

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