Lost in Taiwan

Little, Brown Ink. May 2023. 256p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781368040990.
Gr 7 Up–American teenager Paul is sent to visit his brother, an English teacher, in Taiwan for the summer. Missing his friends and not wanting to be there, Paul refuses to leave the apartment or experience all that Taiwan has to offer. When Paul finally does leave the apartment, his phone breaks, and he is lost with no idea how to find his way back to his brother’s apartment. While lost in the city, he meets an English-speaking Taiwanese girl named Peijing, who helps him experience some Taiwanese culture and find his way home. The strongest feature of this graphic novel is the visual representation of Taiwan. Watercolor and ink scenes of the country, city, and daily life create an atmosphere that comes to life and will make readers long to visit Taiwan themselves. The character representation, however, is not as strong. Readers learn a few things about Paul, but don’t really know enough about him to feel empathetic to his plight. Paul makes a culturally insensitive comment that he learns from; however, there is not much build up before it to really make sense as part of the overall story.
VERDICT A love letter to Taiwan that is visually stunning, but lacks in character development. Purchase where realistic fiction graphic novels are popular.

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