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A River of Stars
A River of Stars: A Novel | Vanessa Hua
35 posts | 23 read | 32 to read
In a powerful debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman makes her way to California and stakes a claim to the American dream. Holed up with other moms-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory job and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now shes carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, hes overjoyed because the doctors confirmed he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his son has every advantage, he has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince. As Scarlett awaits the babys arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend. Then a new sonogram of Scarletts baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a vanonly to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. They flee to San Franciscos bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesnt know is that her babys father is not far behind her. A River of Stars is an entertaining, wildly unpredictable adventure, told with empathy and wit by an author the San Francisco Chronicle says has a deep understanding of the pressure of submerged emotions and polite, face-saving deceptions. Its a vivid examination of home and belonging, and a moving portrayal of a woman determined to build her own future. Praise for Vanessa Huas story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities Moving . . . [Vanessa Hua] has a deep understanding of the pressure of submerged emotions and polite, face-saving deceptions. The truth comes out, sometimes explosively, sometimes in a quiet act of courage.San Francisco Chronicle [A] searing debut.O: The Oprah Magazine Heart-wrenching, implacable . . . The characters within feel so human and in need of being heard.The Huffington Post Funny and sad, quick-witted and thought provoking . . . exactly what we need to be reading in this country right now, and probably always. If I had to choose one word to describe Huas writing style, it would be personable.Bustle
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Zoes_Human
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Mehso-so

While I love the idea of this story, I didn't care much for the execution. Everything fell into place too neatly. There was also an air of the myth that the protagonist was pulling herself up by her own bootstraps despite the fact that she was bailed out by luck and happenstance repeatedly. Efforts at providing depth to the characters fell flat for me, and I found the whole book disappointingly predictable. It was nicely written though. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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Zoes_Human
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#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

1. Tagged plus How Long 'til Black Future Month? (NK Jemisin), ¡Vamos a leer! (various), The Scar(China Miéville), Favorite Poems (various), Me and White Supremacy Workbook (Layla F. Saad), Educated (Tara Westover), The Complete Works (William Shakespeare).

2. Tagged.

3. Overcast and much too hot for September.

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Zoes_Human
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Apparently I‘ve read enough this morning.

britt_brooke 🤣 2mo
michellelav So sweet! 😹 2mo
AmyRebecca Haha those eyes! 2mo
12 likes3 comments
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Zoes_Human
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Zoes_Human
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For my birthday, I received a Brilliant Books subscription, which provides you with an individually-selected book every month based on information you provide to the bookseller.

I'm intrigued and excited by my first book. It's not something that was on my radar already, but it is very much, from initial appearances, something I will enjoy. Let's hope first appearances aren't deceiving!

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JoyBlue
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Bailedbailed

I'm 55% in and I just can't be bothered anymore. I'm a tiny bit morbidly curious about what happens to Scarlett and her baby; but, it just shouldn't take this long for so little to happen. Moving on. . . .

Megabooks Me too!! 3mo
JoyBlue @Megabooks Misery loves company! 😂
3mo
57 likes2 comments
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youcanneverreadtomuch
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Pickpick

Very good, almost hope my train is delayed so I can finish this novel. A great story about overcoming obstacles and hope that you are always making the right choices. #baby #immigration

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essayareayaitch
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Yes, I did go buy a paperback copy though I own the hardcover. 1. to support the bookstore. 2. To support the author. 3. Feared that if I loaned the author signed hardcover out, I'd never get it back. Easier to replace the paperback

Megabooks I have two identical copies of 🤷🏻‍♀️ 3mo
2 likes1 comment
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essayareayaitch
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
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Pickpick

It took ages to start, and then I had trouble finding the time to finish. In all fairness, the book did have a slow start, but once it found it's groove, rapid finish. Well worth it. You'll cry, you'll laugh. It's another book in the Bay Area (also China, and SoCal, but whatevs) that will make you hungry.

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Jilly6183
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Mehso-so

I usually enjoy immigration stories because it is so important to remember that immigrants are people with families that they love and are trying to provide a better life. I liked the premise of this novel, but it was inconsistent. It started strong, nothing really happened in the middle, and the ending felt extremely rushed.

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ontheBL
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Pickpick

Vanessa Hua gives immigration a story in A River of Stars, which is much needed right now in the unstable political climate. Immigration is a hot topic. Sometimes, I think, we forget we're not just talking about an issue, we're talking about people's lives and the lives of their children.

https://onthebl.org/2019/04/30/a-river-of-stars/

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ontheBL
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“Daisy didn't realize that you might share the same bed, but dream different dreams.”

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Jolynne
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Pickpick

The story of Scarlett and Daisy, two strong and determined Chinese woman and their struggles with immigration. A very heartfelt story in these times of anti-immigration.

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Anton
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
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Mehso-so

I didn't love this one. While I always appreciate getting inside the head of someone with different life experiences from my own, I never grew to love Scarlett or Daisy and the writing didn't wow me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Anton
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
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Have started this one which was on a lot of Best of 2018 lists and has been described as "an Asian-American pregnant Thelma & Louise" ?

readordierachel Quite a description! 10mo
3 likes1 comment
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sakeriver
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
Pickpick

It took me a little while to get into this book but when I was in I was all the way in. I think the depiction of the anxieties and fears of an undocumented immigrant was important, not least because it‘s part of a conversation of immigrant stories that are and ought to be diverse. But I think what I liked most as a reader was just that none of the characters turned out to be who I thought at first, and in the best way.

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sakeriver
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
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Next

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mrozzz
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Mehso-so

As I meandered through this slow story I was reminded again and again of Pachinko (which I didn‘t particularly love) though what this had done that Pachinko didn‘t was present a slightly more condensed story. That being said nearly nothing happens for the middle 200 pages and the final chapter just barely redeemed the story for me. Overall it was fine. Would definitely read another novel by Hua and hope for a LITTLE more action.

Texreader Sounds like it is definitely not my kind of book. Slow reads don‘t work for me. 11mo
mrozzz Sometimes I‘m up for it and I liked this ok, but the writing wasn‘t quite at a level where I could ignore where I thought the story stalled in the middle 🤷🏻‍♀️ @Texreader 11mo
99 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Lauren.Archer
Mehso-so

I wanted this to be so much more, but it was really lacking. So many similar books that are better.

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fleeting
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Pickpick

Such a satisfying journey. I'm skeptical when it comes to taking the Asian to the West where she has to navigate a new culture, & we're treated to a tough-but-ultimately-rewarding end. The characters were so alive; each very nuanced. The topics could've easily slipped into stereotypes but were deftly handled. I loved Scarlett's sojourn & even the side characters were so alive. I also appreciate the light touch of humor balancing the fear & drama.

fleeting Chinese jade and gold junk ship pendant passed down to me from my mom, passed down to her 2 generations before. I wonder how much journeying this pendant has made. 13mo
11 likes1 stack add1 comment
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fleeting
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Continuing the contemporary Chinese American novels!

9 likes1 stack add
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Megabooks
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I‘m trying to get through my library books. River is awesome, but I just haven‘t had much time to read. I‘m just starting Only Human. I am thinking I‘ll wish that I had waited until they all came out and had read them together.

92 likes1 stack add
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fleeting
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Today's book mail. I ordered 3 hardcovers of recent books; I hope I don't regret! I love the look of a hardcover, but I have to be sensible when it comes to shelf space and price. I just couldn't resist these 3 new ones which aren't out yet in paperback! #chineseliterature #koreanliterature #asianliterature

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REPollock
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1. Both!
2. Neither.
3. Both!
4. Neither.
5. Tagging makes me feel like I‘m demanding someone else fill out a meme, so if you want to do this one, consider yourself tagged! 🙃

#thisorthat
@JenlovesJT47

JenlovesJT47 💚💚💚 14mo
14 likes1 comment
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Megabooks
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I find myself not wanting to put this book down! The pace is surprisingly fast!

PS Did I mention it‘s 1 AM?

101 likes7 stack adds
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silentrequiem
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Came home to all the books! #botm #mylitbox and KEEP MARCHING from @SomedayAlmost ... Thank you, Patricia! I can't wait to read it. ♥️

mrozzz Omg what a stack!! ☺️ 1y
SomedayAlmost Hope all the books inspire. 1y
33 likes2 comments
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Jenken1998
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Pickpick

While I enjoyed the story and peek into another culture I had some trouble staying engrossed in this one. Im not sure why? I found myself rooting for the characters and curious if they prevailed in their struggles. The storyline was fascinating.. some spots slowed.. I had to push through. Otherwise I'd say 4 stars.

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BooksAtNight
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Pickpick

I read this book hoping to see a bit of myself in the protagonists, which didn‘t happen. Their paths to the US differed so much from mine that the characters felt foreign, but once I accepted that, I could let myself be drawn into the story and ended up really enjoying it.

28 likes1 stack add
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Preciouz29
Pickpick

So good!!! I can‘t, I don‘t know what to say other than I enjoyed this so much.

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MelodySchreiber
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When the baby falls asleep in the car, it's time to read! I'm loving this book by @VanessahuaSF

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TheNextBook
Pickpick

I‘m recommend this. More so than anything I really enjoyed the author‘s writing style. She kept me engaged and interested. This story is told in 3rd person and follows the lives of a woman and the child she flew to the US to have. It‘s a story about motherhood, sacrifice, family and being a Chinese immigrant in America. I enjoyed this.

36 likes2 stack adds
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TheNextBook
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#amreading this book. Really putting sometime in with this book today. I‘m loving her writinv style and finding this story really interesting so far!

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abbylibrarian
River of Stars | Vanessa Hua
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Saturday book and breakfast. Have I mentioned that my amazing husband picks up chocolate croissants for me on Saturday morning from a local bakery? The perfect start to the weekend!

RadicalReader @abbylibrarian could not live without the heavenly addictive and delightfully delicious chocolate croissants 1y
19 likes1 comment
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abbylibrarian
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Did not want to put this book down to go to sleep last night! But I did. After I finish my chores today I can read more. 😍😍

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MelodySchreiber
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It's heeeeere @VanessahuaSF