This tale of possession, duplicity, angels, and demons is set in foggy San Francisco and is a wonderful addition to the field of paranormal romance. It’s also a mystery and a tale of teenage outcasts and bullies, and loss of a parent.
This novel’s San Francisco setting is clearly delineated. Fifteen-year-old Soli, nicknamed Shifty, keeps getting into trouble without trying, but as he strives to trust and be trusted, he grows in appreciation of his foster family and works toward putting his past behind him.
The story is focused on four Chinese American immigrant families in San Francisco. During World War II, four women from these four families began meeting to eat dim sum, playing mah jong and talk. They created a club known as the Joy Luck Club as a way to improve their spirits during wartime.
A young couple immigrated from China and settled their whole family in San Francisco’s Chinatown during 1930’s. The fifth daughter, Jade Snow, was born in San Francisco. Growing up in a typical Chinese family, Jade had to always be careful to do the proper thing. Failure to do so brought immediate and drastic punishment. Teaching and whipping were almost synonymous to her.
He grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Chinese Playground was a second home to him from the time he was a toddler. The Chinese Playground was situated with Waverly Alley to the east, Hang Ah Alley to the west, and Clay and Sacramento Streets as its north and South borders. The gang wars from the late sixties to late seventies turned the playground into a hot spot.
He was special. He was trying to become an accepted black male youth in the 1950’s – a competitive, dangerous, and harshly won objective. This was all the more difficult because he was a Chinese boy. He was ignorant of the culture, clumsy in the language, and blessed with a body that made Tinker Bell look ruthless.
All the men in his family were cursed by a gambling demon. The addiction can be traced back at least three generations. Lee’s story details his gambling addiction, which spans more than forty years and includes his fifteen year involvement with Gamblers Anonymous (GA).
By Chinese standards, a family of three girls wasn’t lucky. Leon’s not their real father, but he told them not to care about what people said. “People talking, People jealous… Five sons don’t make one good daughter.”
While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.
Frances, a Chinese-American student in a competitive school in San Francisco in the 1980s, begins to question her mother’s insistence that she becomes a doctor when she accidentally enrolls in a speech class and discovers a hidden talent.
Budding costume designer Lola lives an extraordinary life in San Francisco with her two dads and beloved dog, dating a punk rocker, but when the Bell twins return to the house next door Lola recalls both the friendship-ending fight with Calliope, a figure skater, and the childhood crush she had on Cricket.
Teens from a school that sounds like SOTA are off for one last tour of their girl band, The Disenchantments. The male narrator is a life-long friend of the lead singer—he comes to the sad realization that she will never love him like he loves her. Starts in SF and ends up in Seattle.