There’s nothing like a story that allows us to take a peek into different worlds and understand what it feels like to be the outsider. This week on the blog we’re reading a particularly unique book by author Remy Lai.
The Story: Jingwen is pretty sure he’s just landed on Mars. Where else could he be? What with the weird languages, new smells, and sights – everything his little brother Yanghao seems to pick up on and he doesn’t – Australia is about as far from home as it gets. If only he could understand English, if only he weren’t so s l o w. For Jingwen it seems the only thing he can do to fix everything is to make Pie in the Sky cakes like his father did. Maybe then he can help his little brother remember everything about the past. Maybe then he can make up for everything he did. Maybe, little by little, his cakes can fix everything…sort of.
My Thoughts: I absolutely powered through this read. With its half comic, half narrative format, Pie in the Sky, is an utterly unique way to tell a story. Remy Lai does a remarkable job of conveying what it’s like to not only be the new kid, but to communicate the language barrier of moving to a new country. Jingwen is a relatable protagonist and the character dynamics feel very natural and enjoyable to read.
Parental Advisories: Given that these characters are new to life in an English speaking country, there is some mention made of cussing, though the worst that is printed is cr*p. For parents who are concerned, they could wait to hand this book off to younger readers, though I highly recommend this book for at least junior high students. It’s a good read for those trying to get into heftier fiction, without quite as high a word count.