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…
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
Imprint: Amulet Books
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids
Age Group: Teen & YA
Received From: Netgalley in exchange for honest feedbackMy Rating: 4/5
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a modern day twist on characters from Chinese Folklore. While reading I found myself very interested in what elements were actually found in the old tales and what were new from the author, and after some checking, I discovered that the history or backstory if you will, for Genie Lo is actually from 16th century tale, Journey to the West. The modern translation by Arthur Haley is called Monkey, and I'm very interested in reading it now that I've read Genie Lo.
While the story wasn't as smooth as I might have liked, it does have a lot to recommend it, chief among those to me was getting me interested in the mythology it is inspired by. It is not a retelling of Journey to the West, instead it takes some of those characters, gives them modern personalities, and with a new conflict, goes to town! It is action packed, with interesting fight scenes that are unique in the problems faced to overcome each enemy. It is humorous in that Genie is dealing with an invasion of demons and trying to get into college at the same time, a tall order for any teenager, even one with heretofore unknown super powers.
I enjoyed the story line, and the use of mythology, and most of the characters, except for Genie herself. I don't dislike her, but I had a hard time bonding with her. I am okay with all the other characters but her, and I wonder if that's because it's written in first person narrative, with Genie telling us the story as it's happening. She grows as the story unfolds, but it's hard to overcome that initial discord for me. I didn't feel like the times she swears in the beginning of the story are really merited by the events taking place, and some of the expletives chosen really turned me off. I'll admit this is potentially more of a pet peeve of my own than a flaw, but it was jarring and didn't add to the story for me.
Overall The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was a fun read and got me interested in learning more about the mythological characters it showcased. I would recommend it to those who enjoy that mesh of modern and myth, like myself!