Heartfelt YA Graphic Novel

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Valentina Tran has a family history of being unlucky in love. One might even call it a curse. Val is certain that true love is a lie, at least for her, but after a Tết (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) festival leads to an encounter with two lion dancers, she decides to give it a try.

This is a lovely coming of age graphic novel that follows a Vietnamese American teenager as she navigates her family’s past as well as her own romantic present. Along the way things get messy, which felt very real-to-life for me. There’s a little bit of a love triangle. I loved Val’s attraction to dance, especially lion dancing. It was a fascinating tradition to read about and I liked the way Val completely embraced it. I also appreciated her friendship with Bernice, her complicated relationship with her dad, and the absolute sass from her grandmother.

The artwork in this graphic novel is beautiful and sets a great tone for the whole story. I especially appreciated the section title pages which featured what I believe are Chinese zodiac signs (Ox, Rat, Tiger, Pig, etc.).