Friday, January 20, 2012
Book Review of #2 Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time By Lisa Yee
Author: Lisa Yee
Publisher: Scholastic Apple
Part of a Series: Millicent Min trilogy; Millicent Min, Girl Genius, So Totally Emily Ebers
Type of book: young adult, boy book,friendship, first love, interracial relationship, Asian male/white female, 2000s, California
Year it was published: 2005
"We interrupt your lives to announce Stanford Wong has flunked sixth grade!!!"
All right, so maybe there hasn't been an announcement like that. But that's the way it feels to Stanford. He's used to being a hero on hte basketball court, where he's the first sixth-grader ever to make the A-team, and just getting by in class.
But when he flunks English-Flunks it big time-and learns he'll have to trade basketball camp for summer school, Stanford freaks out. His friends can't know or they'll dump him. His had has to know and it's awful. The beautiful Emily Ebers will never like him if he's stupid. And when his mom hires a tutor for him-Millicent Min, genius, jerk, and poster girl from Chinese geekdom- Stanford knows it's happened: His life is officially over.
The characters felt pretty real and are realistic. Stanford's struggle with a subject is realistic, and despite many wishing that he'd become the male version of Millicent Min, it's not going to happen. Despite the presence of several women in the book such as Yin-Yin, Emily Ebers and Millicent Min, its clear that this is a boy's type book, although I'm sure the women will enjoy how much he's in love with Emily Ebers and writes about her all the time. Yin-Yin, like Millicent's grandmother, is a unique woman who has dreams beyond the confines of her immediate environment, but unlike Millicent's grandmother, she seems to carry regrets that she hasn't done more with her life. I couldn't really understand what Stanford finds so threatening about Mr. Glick, although its understandable why he doesn't like the teacher. (If one has to be with a teacher that teaches a subject that they don't like, then its likely the teacher will be a threatening type.) Millicent is also portrayed as an unlikable character, and with Emily he instantly falls in love. (If possible too, read So Totally Emily Ebers to see what other things Stanford and Emily have in common.) Also, the relationship between Stanford and his father is interesting and when things end, they seem to end realistically, as if the character really does deserve them.
Life is unexpected and give things a try.
It's written in form of a diary from Stanford's point of view, and it also has the time things happened. (I don't recall if Millicent Min and Emily Ebers had that too.) Reading either Millicent Min or Emily Ebers isn't required to enjoy it, but it makes the book more enjoyable to see how the summer passes for Stanford.
Lisa Yee won the 2004-Sid Fleischman Humor Award fro Millicent Min, Girl Genius, which was also selected for the TRA/CBC Children's Choice List and nominated for multiple state prizes. Her second novel, Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, was named an ALA Notable Book. So Totally Emily Ebers completes the trilogy, which, as Lisa likes to point out, "can be read in any order, any day of the week, and at any time, except when you're sleeping."
Lisa writes her novels, stories and grocery lists at her home in South Pasadena, California.
Vist her Web site at www.lisayee.com
This is a very rare book where I have no complaints about anything about it. I enjoyed reading it, and it brought me lots of smiles. (At least the scenes where Stanford talks on and on about Emily.) I also enjoyed the realistic character progression of Stanford, and that he was created realistically as an everyday boy without the "foreign" stigma attached to him. The days and chapters are also very short for the reluctant readers and this book is not about books but about contact and becoming friends. I didn't compare this one to Millicent Min and Emily Ebers so I cannot vouch for accuracies or inaccuracies.
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)