Kwok thoughtfully pens a tale of the desperation and cruelty often faced by newcomers.
Infused with optimism and a can-do spirit.
The Financial Times
Compelling… an unforgettable story
The Global Times
Potent… a fresh, compelling take on the American success story.
The Seattle Times
Warm and affecting… a compelling pleasure… manages that rare fictional feat of shifting forever the angle from which you look at the world.
The Daily Mail
Girl in Translation, the astonishing—and semi-autobiographical—tale of a girl from Hong Kong who, at eleven, shoulders the weight of her mother’s American Dream, from Chinatown sweatshop all the way to the Ivy League.
Kimberly Chang, the girl in the title of Jean Kwok’s first novel, comes to New York from Hong Kong in the early 1980s with her mother, chasing a better life. Ms. Kwok, herself an immigrant, renders Kimberly’s confusion seemingly from the inside.
The New York Times
Inspired by her own first hand experience of immigration, Kwok writes with quiet passion about the strange dichotomy of growing up surrounded by the glitz of New York, while being barely able to afford to eat.... irresistible power.
Simple, searing, richly detailed prose… hilarious and wrenching. Immigrants, new and old, will find much to savor here, from the drama of family secrets to the confusing coming-of-age.
A resolute yet naïve Chinese girl confronts poverty and culture shock with equal zeal when she and her mother immigrate to Brooklyn in Kwok's affecting coming-of-age debut… more than just another immigrant story.
Kwok adeptly captures the hardships of the immigrant experience and the strength of the human spirit to survive and even excel despite the odds. Reminiscent of An Na's award-winning work for younger readers, A Step from Heaven, this work will appeal to both adults and teens.
In this moving story of hardship and triumph, a woman must live a double life as a scholar and a sweatshop worker after she emigrates from Hong Kong to America with her mother.
The San Francisco Chronicle
It is impossible not to fall under the spell of Girl in Translation’s tough, plucky narrator as she struggles to make a place for herself in America. Kwok is a natural storyteller who eloquently captures the difficulty of living in two worlds, and the quiet sadness of never feeling quite at home in either. This is an altogether captivating debut shot through with moments of humor and grace.
Julie Otsuka, author of When the Emperor Was Divine
A moving coming of age story, reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The possibility of Kimberly Chang’s extraordinary struggle and achievement is what makes America a great nation—generous, forgiving and full of hope. Kwok perfectly captures the voice and perspective of a young immigrant, and the result is a powerful work about love, sacrifice and faith.
Min Jin Lee, author of the bestselling Free Food for Millionaires
A journey into a world that would otherwise be veiled, Girl in Translation contrasts both sacrifice and accomplishment in the most satisfying of ways. Kwok’s vibrant prose makes us live Kimberly’s life almost as if it were our own.
Brunonia Barry, author of the bestselling The Lace Reader
I love how this book allowed me to see my own country, with all its cruelty and kindness, from a perspective so different from my own. I love how it invited me into the heart and mind of Kimberly Chang, whose hard choices will resonate with anyone who has sacrificed for a dream. Powerful storytelling kept me turning the pages quickly, but Kimberly’s voice – so smart and clear - will stay with me for a long time.
Laura Moriarty, author of The Center of Everything
Dazzling fiction debut.
Part fairy tale, part autobiography... buoyant.
O, The Oprah Magazine
“Part fairy tale,
part autobiography…What puts this debut novel toward the top of the pile is its
buoyant voice and its slightly subversive ending that suggests ‘happily ever
after’ may have more to do with love of self and of family than with any old
O, The Oprah Magazine
Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation speaks eloquently. Searing debut novel... poignant.
Kwok drops you right inside Kimberly's head, adding Chinese idioms to crisp dialogue. And the book's lesson--that every choice comes at the expense of something else--hits home in every language.
“At age 5, Kwok moved
with her family from Hong Kong to a New York City slum…She has spun some of her
experiences into this involving debut…Kwok drops you right inside Kimberly’s
head, adding Chinese idioms to crisp dialogue. And the book’s lesson—that every
choice comes at the expense of something else—hits home in any language.”
People (3.5 stars)
first-person from Kim’s point of view, Kwok cleverly employs phonetic spellings
to illustrate her protagonist’s growing understanding of English and wide-eyed
view of American teen culture. The author draws upon her own experience as a
child laborer in New York, which adds a poignant layer to Girl in Translation.”
semi-autobiographical—tale of a girl from Hong Kong who, at age eleven, shoulders
the weight of her mother’s American dream all the way from Chinatown sweatshop
to the Ivy League.”
“I love how this book
allowed me to see my own country, with all its cruelty and kindness, from a
perspective so different from my own. I love how it invited me into the heart
and mind of Kimberly Chang, whose hard choices will resonate with anyone who
has sacrificed for a dream. Powerful storytelling kept me turning the pages
quickly, but Kimberly’s voice—so smart and clear—will stay with me for a long
Laura Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chaperone
“Drawing on her own
experiences as an immigrant from Hong Kong, Kwok adeptly captures the hardships
of the immigrant experience and the strength of the human spirit to survive and
even excel despite the odds.”
“Jean Kwok takes two
well-trod literary conceits—coming of age and coming to America—and renders
them surprisingly fresh in her fast-moving, clean-prosed immigrants’ tale.”