The Boy You Always Wanted (Hardcover)
Ever since Michelle Quach's excellent debut novel Not Here To Be Liked, I've been waiting for her sophomore book, and this one did NOT disappoint! Quach (rhymes with "rock") writes from the unique perspective of the Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant community, and in this story she includes one of my favorite themes, intergenerational connection. Organized, dutiful protagonist Francine loves her dying grandfather so much, she convinces her childhood friend (and crush) Ollie to pose as her grandfather's honorary "adopted" grandson, since there are no male descendants to carry on the name. This is a touching "fake relationship" story but about the grandparent-grandchild dynamic but also about rediscovering the joy of friends (and loves) who share your cultural background. — Sandie— From Holiday Gift Guide: YA
From Not Here to Be Liked author Michelle Quach comes a smartly funny, heartfelt story told in dual POV about a young woman roping in her childhood crush to act as an honorary male heir to fulfill her grandfather’s dying wish. A story about first love, familial duties, and finding yourself—perfect for fans of Emiko Jean and Loan Le.
Francine loves her grandfather, but their time together is running out. He has one final wish: to see a male heir carry on the family traditions. Francine knows his ideas are outdated, but she would do anything for him. Her solution? Ask Ollie Tran, a family friend (and former crush, not that it matters), to pretend to be ceremonially adopted and act like the grandson her A Gung never had.
Ollie has always made a point of avoiding the odd, too blunt (and fine, sort of cute) Francine, whose intensity has always made him uncomfortable. So when she asks him to help deceive her dying A Gung, Ollie’s definitely not down. He doesn’t get why anyone would go to such lengths, even for family. Especially with a backwards (and sexist, Ollie keeps stressing) scheme like this.
Francine, however, is determined to make it work, and soon Ollie finds himself more invested in her plan—and in her—than he ever thought possible. But as the tangled lies and feelings pile up, Francine will have to discover what exactly she needs for herself—and from Ollie. Because sometimes the boy you always wanted isn’t what you expected.
About the Author
Michelle Quach is a graphic designer and writer living in Los Angeles. She’s Chinese Vietnamese American and a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied history and literature. You can find her online at michellequach.com.
"Michelle Quach’s effortlessly flowing prose is steeped in love and kindness. Readers will rejoice as they witness Francine and Ollie movingly come to accept their families, each other, and most important, themselves. Totally in love with this novel.” — Loan Le, author of A Pho Love Story
"Quach shines with this fresh and layered story that is both a coming-of-age journey and a first-love romance. Themes of familial obligations and filial piety are prevalent and are handled with humor, deftness and care. A page-turner from start to finish!" — Suzanne Park, author of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous
"Insightful and emotionally resonant." — Kirkus Reviews
"Quach spins, via Francine and Ollie’s alternating perspectives, an emotionally raw portrait of two seemingly opposite teens as they come together to help alleviate each other’s personal challenges and grow romantically closer in the process." — Publishers Weekly
"Quach does a good job with her empathetic characters as their perspectives alternate, and the seamless introduction of elements of Chinese Vietnamese culture is a bonus." — Booklist
PRAISE FOR NOT HERE TO BE LIKED: "A fresh take on high school and activism." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A great feminist read.” — San Francisco Book Review
“Not Here to Be Liked is a truly excellent book.” — NPR Books