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Book Review: Cloudwish by Fiona Wood #AWW2019

Sixteen-year-old Vân Ước Phan is a scholarship student at a prestigious Melbourne grammar school. Unlike her peers, she lives in a housing commission block and is the child of refugees from Vietnam. For Vân Ước, school and home do not mix and she believes in keeping a low profile at school, focussing on her art {even though her parents want her to become a doctor and own a mansion in Kew}, and fantasising about Billy Gardiner – Year 11 star rower and all-round Mr Popular.

Vân Ước does not believe in fairy tales or wishes. So imagine her surprise when she attracts the attention of Billy after wishing he would notice her. Now in the spotlight, Vân Ước must deal with the problems it brings. With a cast of side characters like her best friend and neighbour, Jess, her acquaintances at school, her Vietnamese parents whose only goal for her is to study hard, Vân Ước must deal with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager stuck in the middle of two cultures.

I really enjoyed this book and despite not growing up as an ethnic teenager in Australia, I’ve seen my fair share of kids in this position. In one of my jobs, I worked in a predominantly Vietnamese area of Sydney and the trauma of the parents after fleeing the Vietnam war, the guilt of the teenagers who wanted to please their parents while still yearning to be Australian was very common. Wood has obviously done her research and it is apparent through Vân Ước and her family. There is a bit of magical realism but overall, it is about teenager relationships, friendships, family with a smattering of Jane Eyre and some political statements in between. It’s a feel-good book and one that shows Australia as the multicultural community it is.

My rating:

Where to find the author:

Website | Twitter | Instagram |

Where to find the book:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | Kindle

***Read and reviewed for the 2019 Aussie Author Challenge, the Australian Women Writers Challenge and Erin’s Book Challenge 10.0***

Until next time,

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