The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F. C. Yee
On Sale Date: August 8, 2017
Published by: Amulet Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an ARC as a bookseller for Barnes & Noble.**
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.
Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.
Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
Right off the bat, this book was epic and amazing. It was fun, exciting, had me laughing out loud multiple times, and kept me captivated the entire time I read it. It’s the story of a girl who wants to succeed in life and is willing to do whatever it takes to get there, but is unfortunately interrupted by some demons escaping from Diyu (Chinese Hell) that it turns out she has to help get rid of. It seems like a typical storyline, however, in all honesty it is anything but.
The gem of this book is the narrator and protagonist, Genie Lo. I love her. She is everything you’d never expect in a hero and it makes her amazing and refreshing for it. She is strong, enduring, extremely determined and motivated, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She is sardonic and has a short temper, but is also extremely caring when it comes to those she loves. She also enjoys destroying things, and that was kind of the icing on the proverbial cake in terms of how much I enjoyed reading through her thoughts. Everything Genie said and did and how she reacted to things felt natural, understandable and completely realistic. It was her personal character growth that really made this book what it is, and what made me unable to stop thinking about it after I was done. Also, I absolutely loved what it turned out she was and why she was the one to be fighting these demons – such a switch-up on the “Chosen One” trope!!
As for the story itself, it was so easy to fall into, with mostly great pacing (save for one or several jumps between scenes that were so far apart in terms of time – like hours or days – that I felt like I had missed something) and so many hilarious lines I couldn’t stop laughing. It had meaningful moments and fun ones, ones full of action and ones that felt like they were making slight fun of certain anime tropes, and of course, ones that were just plain real. There was much in this book about the reality of life, from college applications and trying to succeed to realizing just what kind of person you are cut out to be versus who you want to be, and all-in-all it made for really down-to-earth type of read (despite the deities and demons interestingly enough).
Overall, this book was just an amazingly fun read with so much laughter and action, and is definitely a book I would recommend. The only downfalls for me were those previously mentioned transitions that were awkwardly abrupt and that I wanted more of Genie’s relationship with her BFF. If you like demon-slayers, characters that make you laugh, and a story that flips that usual upside-down, then this book is definitely for you.
ARC August | Books Completed Toward Goal: 3/12