Review: The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

year of the bookThe Year of the Book
Andrea Cheng
HMH Books for Young Readers

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When a social shift at school leaves Anna without her best friend, she turns to books for companionship. When she feels pressure in Chinese class because she doesn’t know as much as the other kids, books are her refuge. But as the people in Anna’s life begin to experience troubles of their own, she learns that sometimes, just like the heroes in her stories, she must step out into the unknown and offer help. Sometimes, Anna learns, this is precisely what makes for the best friendships.

Anna charmed me from the first page. I loved the descriptions of the stories she read, and though I hadn’t read all of them myself, it was easy to understand why the stories mattered to her. I liked that she found herself faced with other people’s needs. Reading is awesome, but sometimes it isolates us from others. And when people in Anna’s life needed things, it drew her out of her books and allowed opportunities for her to have relationships with them. I loved the sweet, subtle way the author explores learning how to be a good friend.

I also liked the sense of community in the story. Anna’s class experience felt very real, and her relationship with the elderly man her mother cares for also felt authentic and added a lot to the story.

find-amazonCultural Elements
Anna and her family are Chinese American. She takes Chinese classes with other kids her age, but finds it frustrating not to know as much as they do because her mother insists on speaking English to her at home.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Brief references to Chinese traditions.

Violent Content
At one point a man bangs on the door of Anna’s family’s apartment looking for his daughter, Anna’s friend. The girls are scared, but Anna’s parents send the man away.

Drug Content




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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

  1. Colleen says:

    Wow, this sounds like a sweet story. How refreshing!

    • It is a really sweet story! I loved it. My daughter is reading it now. There’s a sequel called The Year of the Baby which sounds like a great story, too! 🙂