From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
All of Ray's fellow Chinese-immigrant classmates struggle with English, but the 18-year-old is the slowest. Feeling small, Ray finds empowerment in online role-playing games. But even they provide no refuge when his militaristic father discovers the boy is gay and kicks him out of the house. Taking to the streets, Ray is soon mugged, and his wallet and ID are stolen. To survive, it appears he may have to become a money boy, selling his body to older men. Set in Toronto, which has Canada's largest Chinese population, Yee's latest offers insight into the city's immigrant-Chinese and gay communities. Though Ray stubbornly proud and sometimes self-pitying and lazy is an often unsympathetic protagonist, his experiences at home and, even more so, on the street are vividly presented and are sure to invite both thought and discussion.--Cart, Michae. Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 10 Up-Eighteen-year-old Ray Liu, a Chinese immigrant, leads a privileged life. He lives in a large suburban home, wears trendy clothing, and is equipped with the latest technologies. However, none of these things mitigate Ray's difficulties with fitting in at his Canadian high school; pleasing his strict army veteran father; and accepting his sexuality. Ray's struggle with speaking English makes it especially hard for him to adjust to life in a new country. As a means of escape, he immerses himself in a computer role-playing game, Rebel State; even though other aspects of his life appear to be in flux, the game makes Ray feel in control. But the feeling soon evaporates when his father accesses Ray's computer and discovers that he has been surfing gay websites. The repercussions are swift, and the teen is disowned. He heads to downtown Toronto and promptly receives an education in the harsh realities of street life. He is robbed, beaten, and taken in by Han, an older man with ulterior motives. Yee's sophisticated juxtaposition of immigrant narratives with questions of sexual identity is compelling and poignant. Unfortunately, stilted dialogue and an all-too-neat ending defying credibility detract from the authenticity of this story.-Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.