Title: The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei
Author: Christina Matula
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction / Asian Literature
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
This debut middle grade series follows a girl finding her place in a brand-new world of private school and frenemies when her family moves to Hong Kong.
Holly-Mei Jones couldn’t be more excited about moving to Hong Kong for her mother’s job. Her new school is right on the beach and her family’s apartment is beyond beautiful. Everything is going to be perfect . . . right?
Maybe not. It feels like everywhere she turns, there are new rules to follow and expectations to meet. On top of that, the most popular girl in her grade is quickly becoming a frenemy. And without the guidance of her loving Ah-ma, who stayed behind in Toronto, Holly-Mei just can’t seem to get it right.
It will take all of Holly-Mei’s determination and sparkle (and maybe even a tiny bit of stubbornness) to get through seventh grade and turn her life in Hong Kong into the ultimate adventure!
Holly-Mei moves with her family, all but her Ah-ma (grandmother), from Canada to Hong Kong. She had just gotten herself into trouble with her friends for speaking up against cheating, so she’s looking forward to the move. Her grandmother warns her that it might take time to make some friends in Hong Kong, but Holly-Mei thinks all will be well once she moves. She just knows she’ll make some instant friends.
What I loved about this book:
The food! There were soooo many wonderful descriptions of the different foods. I definitely recommend this for those of you that love to read about food from different cultures.
Next, the setting! The descriptions of Hong Kong had me wanting to go immediately.
And last, I absolutely loved the way Holly-Mei works through all of her troubles with her friends – both new and old. There were some truly heartwarming scenes while everything was wrapping up.
What I didn’t love: There was too much time where I didn’t feel connected to Holly-Mei or what she was doing. The plot didn’t have enough progression; it was slow and I was bored.
Overall, I found myself glad that I picked this up and thanks to Inkyard Press and HarperCollins for sending me an arc!
I definitely recommend this for younger readers that enjoy reading about different cultures. It’s a great book, too, for teaching us not to judge a book by its cover – metaphorically speaking.
I’m not a foodie in real life, but my best friend is. We talk a lot about food, but not quite as much as we talk books. She’s Mexican so she’s taught me a lot about Mexican foods.
Although I’m not a foodie, I still love reading about new places and foods I haven’t tried. Do you have any book recs for me??