The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is the story of a high school girl who learns that it’s not enough that she has to work her butt off to get into an Ivy and please her traditional Chinese mother. Now it turns out she has to prevent some of the worst demons of Chinese mythology from eating the people of the Bay Area. Can a girl get a break?
I can’t remember where I stumbled over the synopsis for Genie Lo, but it has been in my TBR pile for a while, probably due to the title. I wasn’t in a place for angst over a teen boy. Now I’m mad I waited so long. This book is amazing. Genie is smart, capable, insecure, funny, and while yeah, she has a little bit of boy-related drama, it’s not anywhere near the center of the story.
Genie’s story is one of self-discovery. Quentin Sun arrives out of the blue in the middle of sophomore year to tell Genie that she’s the reincarnation of redacted, an immensely powerful figure in Chinese mythology. Even worse, there’s been an outbreak of demons from Diyu, aka Hell, and the Jade Emperor is dumping clean-up responsibility on Quentin and Genie.
I loved this book. It’s humorous without being jokey. The characters are people you’d want to spend time with. Genie is a good kid who wants to please, but isn’t willing to be pushed into someone else’s idea of who she ought to be. Not before she figures it out herself. Quentin is a good friend who comes on a little strong in the beginning, but he listens and adjusts according to Genie’s feedback.
I wish I had a little more Chinese mythology under my belt in coming into this, but the book does a great job of walking unfamiliar readers through the landscape.
If you are a YA reader, if you loved any of Rick Riordan’s mythology-based series, if you like any of the fantasy series centered on a teenage girl who can kick some serious butt, add this one to your TBR pile. You won’t regret it.