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The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Bravo, F.C Yee! You’ve managed to make me laugh with a book until my stomach hurts.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo wasn’t exactly on my radar until some of my close bookish friends (shoutout to Eri, Aila & Aentee), wouldn’t stop raving about it. These ladies hardly ever lead me astray, so I decided that I was going to give it a shot and surprise, surprise – I had so much fun with it, by the end, I was just dying to have the sequel in my hands.
Books like The Epic Crush of Genie Lo remind me why I love reading so much. They are temporarily able to whisk me away to a different world. Sure, I’d probably be the first to flop dead in Genie’s newfound world of demons, but it’s still fun to imagine myself in her shoes. It helps that Genie is a super relatable character. I think a lot of readers are going to love her. She’s just pure fun, but also smart, studious (Hallelujah! Finally a YA heroine who actually worries about things like college and school) and witty! She’s also super dramatic (honestly, I think she might be me), and her reactions to finding out about the demons, the monkey king, and her true self, were hilarious. She doesn’t immediately embrace her newfound powers, she’s actually wary and thinks Quentin is a stalkery nutjob, which only made me love her more. Her powers don’t also come to her easily, and she has to train hard to unlock her limits.
Speaking of Quentin, what a joy this Monkey King was! He was just as hilarious as Genie for me. Some of his reactions, and comments left me breathless, holding my stomach. He and Genie made for great partners. Sure, they didn’t start off on the right foot, which was totally understandable, because honestly, who in their right mind would be accepting of anyone who shouts out “You are mine!” on your first meeting? I know I’d be getting a restraining order! But they grow a friendship, which very subtly develops into a romance. I loved all the scenes of Genie and Quentin fighting demons together as a team. What I liked the best about their relationship was how Quentin continued to push Genie to be a stronger version of herself. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo also has terrific family dynamics. I adored Genie’s mom, and saw a lot of my mom in her – I honestly think Asian moms were made of the same mold! She cared about her daughter, but also had certain expectations of her. I think perhaps if there was one thing I wanted more of from this book, it would have to be the friendship between Genie and Yulie. Yulie seems like a great girl, and I wanted her to have a bit more screen time.
My knowledge of any sort of Chinese mythology is sadly paltry, but I loved how F.C Yee incorporated the ancient Chinese legend of the monkey king, Sun Wukong, into this modern setting. He does a terrific job with the background, and giving readers a good understanding of the legend, and the roles each character plays in the legend. I also love any sort of book where the characters are fighting demons in a modern setting. They make for really fun stories, in my opinion, and F.C Yee was able to take it all a step forward with his addictive writing. My favorite scenes were definitely the action scenes with Genie at the center. I could read about girls kicking demon butts forever.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo ended with a nice twist, and I was left desperately in need of the sequel. I’m going to need more of F.C Yee’s writing ASAP! Seriously folks, this entertaining debut YA Urban Fantasy needs to be at the top of your TBRs.