When I started reading seriously, way back in 1959 or so, my most favorite genre was science fiction. I read it all, pulp to classics, novels to short stories. Back then most of what was available was written in English with a western basis. As various stories written by authors from other countries in their native tongue and translated into English were made available, I read some. Some I liked, some I didn't understand. Currently science fiction is coming from Asia.
This is the second book written in Chinese and translated into English that I have read. One thing I have noticed is the very different cultural take on the Western world. That is very evident in this book.
That is one thing you have to understand when you start this story. Second thing to know is that the story moves very slowly. There are exciting bits, but they are far removed from each other. Third things is, this book is over 500 pages. It's an easy read but it is a big book.
The meat of the story is as follows: Mars was settled by Earth and treated as a second class place. Of course the Martians rebelled, fought a war and won their freedom. This, fortunately, is background material and we only get what we need in bits. After a while, 18 young 13 year old children traveled to Earth to spend 5 years learning about the culture of Earth. Again, this is background and addressed in memories. The Martian civilization has expanded technology in areas that Earth has not examined. That gives them something to trade with, but neither side trusts the other.
We start the story with the 18 teens returning home. As the title suggests, these young people no longer fit in their old world. They question the rules they live under. They want to change those rules, but they do not have the status of adults yet. They do what teens do, they push the rules.
We mostly follow one of the 18, Luoying, but it not only her story. It is the story of her brother, who did not go to Earth. It is the story of her grandfather, her boyfriend, her best friends, companions of her grandfather, her doctor, her parents and the people she met on Earth. It is about the past and the future of the civilization on Mars. I could go deeper into the story, but then you would have no reason to read it yourself. This is prize winning, make you think science fiction. You do need to read it.
I won the copy of the book I read for this review from BookishFirst.