Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.
But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.
Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.
This book was fantastic! I absolutely loved the aspect of the Monkey King and the Chinese history, as well as seeing it brought into the real world. F.C. Yee did a great job integrating both worlds together (the mythical and the real) and I adored the writing and battle scenes.
What I really enjoyed, though, about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is how real the characters felt, especially when they talked. When the author added in the exclamation points or the capitalized dialogue, I could feel and understand how excited or upset the characters were, and that is something I truly look forward to in every book I read. Not all authors are able to accomplish that (for me, at least) in their first debut, but Yee knocked it out of the park.
I also enjoyed the aspect of Chinese history. I love learning about the different cultures, and with the Chinese culture, the history of the Monkey King is by far one of my favorites. So when I heard about this book, I had to get my hands on a copy. And on a side note, that cover is absolutely stunning!
I loved the molding of the Monkey King, demons, and real-life situations. Bringing ancient beings into Genie’s life is eye-opening to her, especially when she finds out the reason as to why she is being targeted. All Genie wants is to live a normal(ish) life, by doing homework and preparing for college entrance essays. She never expected her life to involve demons and Chinese Gods. It was a fun journey watching Genie’s transformation from normal volleyball girl to something even more.
This book was fantastic and I highly recommend for any action, fantasy and history lovers. I went into reading this book with high expectations and F.C. Yee surpassed those expectations. I am so thankful this book was written, and I cannot wait to see what Yee cooks up next (hopefully it’s more stories about Genie and Quentin!)
Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars
Purchase a copy of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee at your nearest bookstore!