4.2 4
by Lensey Namioka

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Sue Hua just moved from racially diverse Seattle to a suburban white-bread town where she feels like the only Asian American for miles. Then she meets Andy, a handsome and passionate violin player who happens to be Asian American. Sue feels an instant attraction to Andy, and her white friends think they’re “made for each other”–after all, they


Sue Hua just moved from racially diverse Seattle to a suburban white-bread town where she feels like the only Asian American for miles. Then she meets Andy, a handsome and passionate violin player who happens to be Asian American. Sue feels an instant attraction to Andy, and her white friends think they’re “made for each other”–after all, they both use chopsticks and eat a lot of rice, right? But there’s just one problem. Andy’s last name is Suzuki. And while that may mean nothing to the other students at Lakeview High, Sue knows that it presents a world of problems to her family.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Fifteen-year-old Sue Hua meets and is attracted to Andy, a violinist who happens to be Asian American. There is just one problem, Andy's last name is Suzuki and it presents a problem for Sue's family. Sue's grandma survived the Japanese invasion of China and has terrible tales to tell. She still believes that the Japanese are monsters capable only of cruelty. Andy thinks his family is much more open-minded--until he asks his parents how they feel and gets an earful of insulting stereotypes. As Andy and Sue continue to date in secret, an upcoming trip to Tokyo causes concern about meeting their families. How much loyalty do they owe their parents when what happened was fifty years ago in China? How far would you go to please your family? Part of the problem is that they are teenagers and maybe also because they live in a white suburb. Some of the hostility is eventually withdrawn because of both families' interest in the two young people's musical abilities. The opportunity of going to Tokyo to play their instruments works its magic. 2006, Delacorte Press/Random House, Ages 10 to 14.
—Naomi Butler
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-When her Chinese-American parents move to an affluent suburb of Seattle, 15-year-old Sue Hua, a viola player, joins the school orchestra in hopes of finding a niche among her mostly white classmates. Although Sue wants them to consider her an American, she is frustrated that many think all Asians are members of a single ethnic group, without distinct cultural differences. She is attracted to Andy Suzuki, a talented violinist with disarming friendliness and concern, but she is wary of his Japanese ancestry. Her grandmother survived the Japanese invasion of China during World War II and has frightening memories of her abusive oppressors. Conversely, Andy's father dislikes the Chinese because he was treated disrespectfully on a business trip to Beijing. When the orchestra makes a trip to Tokyo, the teens must adjust to their host families and confront issues of heritage, bigotry, and stereotypes. These are mature, sensitive teenagers whose mutual attraction fortifies them to question and move beyond the historical prejudice of their families. And yet, they respect their separate backgrounds and want their parents' approval. Although occasionally didactic, this story tackles issues of assimilation into American society, preserving and respecting different cultures, and accepting the past. The theme of cultural vs. personal identity drives the plot, provides the conflict, and defines the characters. Sue and Andy experience believable adolescent bouts of insecurity, anticipation, jealousy, and affection as their mutual understanding grows. A story that is current, relevant, and upbeat.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Chinese, Japanese, what's the difference?" asks a suburban Seattle high-schooler. To Chinese-American Sue Hua, whose grandmother's home was raided by Japanese soldiers in the 1930s, it means hiding her boyfriend, Japanese-American Andy Suzuki, from her family. It's likewise for Andy, whose father thinks the Chinese are a dirty, backwards people. Although they see themselves as Americans first, the teens' relationship is strained when they let their families' beliefs guide them. A week-long orchestra trip to Tokyo, however, becomes an opportunity for the couple to learn more about Asian cultures. Andy, who feels like an outsider in his ancestors' homeland, searches for the "real" Japan. Sue observes more discrimination while living with a Korean host family. Meanwhile, the families of the Asian-American "Romeo and Juliet" come to better terms than the original lovers. As in many of Namioka's novels, identity is at the heart of this story. Although her commentaries on race can be heavy-handed, they aptly depict the complexities of discrimination in society today. An eye-opening read for all cultures. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.84(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Lensey Namioka

Random House

Lensey Namioka
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0385731833

Chapter One

As she headed toward the auditorium, Suzanne Hua knew she would nail her audition with the Lakeview High School Orchestra. She had been one of the best viola players in the orchestra at her old school. She had decided to audition at Lakeview because her sister, Rochelle, thought it would be a good way to meet some cool people. Sue didn't make friends easily, so any opportunity to meet other kids who loved music seemed worth a try.

As soon as Sue slipped inside the doors, she was entranced by the music coming from a violinist playing on the stage. Sue looked up at him, curious to see who could create such a beautiful sound, and saw that he was Asian American, like her. He had a slim build but wide shoulders, and he moved in a relaxed, sexy way. When he finished the passage with a brilliant run, Sue could feel her heart beating in time with the music.

"He's something, isn't he?" asked Mia, a girl Sue recognized from some of her classes. Mia sat in the second row, probably waiting for her own audition. "I think he just got one of the solo parts in a double concerto."

Mr. Baxter, the Lakeview conductor, walked over to the violinist, and from the way they were nodding and smiling, Sue guessed that Mia was right.

Before she could learn more, Mr. Baxter called Mia's name.

"Wish me luck," said Mia. "I play clarinet in the band, but I want to try out for the orchestra because they might go to Tokyo this year."

Tokyo! Sue managed to smile and wish Mia luck, but her heart thumped against her ribs. She groped her way to a seat and sat down, repeating the name Tokyo over and over again in her head. Tokyo might be a fun vacation for Mia, but for Sue, it presented a world of problems. What would her mother say? Maybe Sue shouldn't even audition? Wait. Mia had said the orchestra was only hoping to make the trip. Why worry before I need to? Besides, there were so many other things to think about . . . like that cute violinist, for one.

Mia played pretty well, and when she finished, Mr. Baxter gave her a thumbs-up sign. Mia jumped off the stage and waved her clarinet as she passed Sue. "Hey, I made third chair! Good luck on your audition!"

Sue smiled and waved back just as Mr. Baxter called her name. She walked up to the stage, tuned her viola quickly, opened her score, and breezed through her audition piece, the way she'd known she would.

"Good work, Suzanne," said Mr. Baxter. "I'm putting you in the second row of the viola section for now. But I'm pretty sure you'll be moving up soon."

Sue just grinned. In her old school she had also started in the second row, but the conductor had moved her to the first row after a couple of months. She wasn't worried.

Sue was still getting used to high school in the suburbs. Her family used to live in the central area of Seattle, where they had been surrounded by families of various races. Then Sue's father had been promoted, and her mother had convinced him to move to a suburb with bigger and more expensive homes.

"You're an associate professor now," Sue's mother had argued. "We need to entertain a lot more, and we'll need a nicer dining room."

"As long as you cook one of your great Chinese dinners, our guests will be happy," her father had said.

Then her mom had put on a wistful look, the look that never failed. "I've always wanted a big yard with a sunny corner where I can grow roses. I've dreamed about it for years and years."

So Sue's dad had given in. Now their neighbors were mostly white. When Sue started her junior year at Lakeview High, she found the majority of the students to be white. Sue missed her old school, where, if she hadn't exactly been popular, at least she'd been comfortable. After three weeks at Lakeview, Sue hadn't said much more to her classmates than "Is this seat taken?" The kids weren't mean to her and a few, like Mia, were actually friendly. But even in her old school Sue had been a loner. She didn't make friends as easily as her older sister, Rochelle, who seemed to be able to fit in just by flashing her smile.

When Sue walked from the auditorium to her bus stop, Mia was already standing there. "So did you make it into the orchestra?"

Sue gave a modest smile. "Yeah."

"Great! You'll like Mr. Baxter. Everybody says he's sharp and doesn't miss a single mistake, but he isn't mean when he corrects you."

Suddenly, a deeper voice piped up behind them. "I heard you audition today. Sounded smooth!"
Sue turned around and felt herself blushing. It was the violinist she'd admired-musically and physically.

"Thanks," Sue and Mia said at the same time. Sue wondered which of them had impressed him. Or
maybe he meant both of them? Maybe he was just trying to be friendly?

The violinist turned to grin at Sue. "Maybe we can set up our instruments and play a duet sometime?"

Sue laughed nervously. He was talking to her!

Mia smiled. "Sue, this is Andy Suzuki, our superstar violinist."

Sue opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Luckily, her bus pulled up just then. Looking from the bus to Andy and back, she jumped onto the bus in a daze.

As she slumped into a seat, she replayed his name in her mind. Andy Suzuki. There was something
about that name . . . Then, all of a sudden, it hit her with the force of a speeding train. Suzuki! He must be Japanese. Sue caught her breath, trying to brush it off. After all, what's wrong with flirting with a Japanese American boy?

But Sue knew the answer. Her grandmother would kill her. And her mother would be furious if she dated a Japanese boy. That was what was wrong.

But hey, he was only flirting. He hasn't asked for a date yet. He doesn't even know my last name. Who knows, his parents might be the same way. He might be turned off if he finds out I'm Chinese.

Excerpted from Mismatch by Lensey Namioka Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lensey Namioka was born in Beijing and moved to the United States when she was a child. She is the author of many books for young people. She lives in Seattle with her family.

From the Paperback edition.

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Mismatch 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Its great and its bout two different people tryig to forget what happened in the past. I wish there as a second one. But really great. Im a Korean American and if i went out with somebody who wasnt like mr i think i would be like Sue and Andy. You cant say one thing bout a culture and think one person is just like them. Get to know the peraon. Stop being judge mental bout it. I hope you will enjoy it like i did. :3
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book. It helped me understand some history in a fun way by twisting romance in there. The book was dull at times but i would definitely encourage everyone to read it.