5 Reasons to Read: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publisher: Amulet Books on August 8, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought.

If you’ve been looking for the next YA fantasy hit, look no further. Here are 5 reasons to read THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO.

1. An Awesome Protagonist

16 year-old Genie Lo is hell-bent on having a better life than her parents, and she has her plan all mapped out: perfect grades, a star place on the varsity volleyball team, and volunteering at the local library are her ticket into an Ivy League school. But the arrival of a very strange guy named Quentin – and the slew of demons in hot pursuit – throws a wrench into those plans. Unlike a lot of teens in fiction, Genie is very focused on school and her future; she’s struggling to balance everything and while she sometimes handles it with grace, more often than not she loses her cool. But even when you want to shout at her, Genie is hilarious and her decisions make a certain kind of sense. I dare you not to love her!

2. Chinese Mythology

When Quentin, the exchange student from hell, shows up, Genie starts wishing she’d paid more attention to the Chinese stories her mom told her because he claims to be a central figure in them…and Genie’s actually starting to believe him. F. C. Yee does a fantastic job incorporating Chinese mythology into the story and although I knew a few pieces of the original story, I was still surprised by the direction it took here. THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO features an impressive blend of classic mythology and urban fantasy tropes that will satisfy contemporary fans and fantasy readers alike. Fans of Buffy will love this.

3. Realistic Teenage Life

For a book about gods, demon slaying, and a magical staff, THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO is surprisingly realistic. Sure, Genie may have a few…special abilities, but at the heart of it she’s a normal teenager. She hangs out with her BFF Yunie at lunch and after school, she has a strained but loving relationship with her parents, and she occasionally screws up and makes mistakes. Getting into a great college is always at the back of her mind and it was refreshing to see that reality actually acknowledged in a YA novel.

4. Winning Humour

From the very first scene to the last, Genie’s voice had me cracking up. Her narration is witty and bitingly sarcastic, and her observations on what it is to be a teenager and Chinese-American had me in stitches. Obviously I can’t speak to the accuracy of her statements, but they felt very authentic based on what I’ve seen around me (and I’ve seen lots of Chinese and East Asian bloggers praising the representation here). There are a ton of examples that I could pull out, but my personal favourite was her reflection on the name “Eugenia” and its prevalence among the kids of Asian American parents. I legit laughed out loud…in public.

5. Strong Women Everywhere

Genie herself is hard working, tough, and yes, she’s also insanely strong physically. But this isn’t a story about one special young woman who fights every battle on her own: Genie has lots of other badass ladies backing her up. When things go sideways and the demon slaying gets too overwhelming, a certain Chinese goddess comes down from on high to help a girl out. Human girls are pretty boss in this story too, and Yunie is definitely gunning for “fictional best friend of the year” with her sass, protectiveness, and ability to call Genie out when needed.

With all these reasons (and more!) to pick it up, what are you waiting for? Go snag your copy of F.C. Yee’s THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO now!

What are your favourite YA novels that realistically depict school life? Have you read THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO?  Let me know in the comments!

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  • I actually don’t have a novel that realistically depicts high school life, I don’t think? Which feels like a strange thing to say, don’t you think? I love this list Danya, it totally highlights the bits that appeal to me in any sort of book.

    • That is a strange thing to say, and I think it’s a reflection of how poorly YA (on the whole) represents what it’s actually like to be in high school. I mean, I couldn’t have been the only kid who cared about academics, right? Hooray! I’m glad you like this format, and I highly recommend picking this book up. 🙂

  • This list is so awesome, and makes me want to force my co-blogger to mail me this book! You really ticked off all my favorites with this list, and I can’t wait to read it.

    • Yay! So glad you think so. LOL you totally should! Get them to send it to you ASAP because it’s soooo much fun. I think it’s going to be a big hit!

  • I’ve heard such great things about this book! So many bloggers have personally recommended it to me. I got an unsolicited ARC in the mail and I wasn’t sure I was going to read it (I almost never read unsolicited ARCs) but I may try to squeeze this one in. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Danya!

    Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • It’s soooo good, Alyssa! I think you’d really like Genie, and I bet you’d be a fan of her love interest, too. 😉 If you end up having the time for an extra read I highly recommend picking it up! Everyone I know who’s read it ended up loving it.

      Thanks Alyssa, you too! 🙂

  • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    It does indeed sound like a very unusual take on the classic YA themes, and the main character might be one to root for rather than scoff at 😀
    I will keep this under close observation, thanks for sharing!

    • Genie is such a great heroine! She’s pretty sassy and full of rage (like most teenagers), but she’s got a good head on her shoulders. This is a great option if you’ve found yourself growing tired of a lot of YA fantasy — it really was a breath of fresh air!

  • Ohhh Chinese mythology 😀

  • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Oh, hadn’t heard of this one, but it does sound really good!

  • Karen

    I WANT TO READ THIS!!!!

    Several reviewers that I absolutely trust loved this one and I want to read it sooo bad. I’m waiting to see if I won a giveaway I entered lol but if not I’m buying it!

    For What It’s Worth

    • I WANT YOU TO READ THIS, KAREN!!!

      It took me completely by surprise, and I’m shocked that this is a debut novel…how is F.C. Yee such a good writer?! Fingers crossed you hear about the giveaway soon, because I want to hear your thoughts on this ASAP. 🙂

  • I’m really hoping there will be an audiobook edition of this, because I really want to check this out! With so much on my plate this summer and fall already though, I’m afraid audio might be the only way I’d be able to fit it in. I’m curious about the mythology aspect, having grown up hearing Chinese stories from my parents myself 🙂

    • I think this would be awesome on audio! Provided they get the “right” narrator, that is, because Genie has a unique voice. Fingers crossed that it sells well enough for audio rights! The mythology angle was so cool, and really well done — even though I knew a bit about the original story, it kept me guessing. There’s an especially fun scene where Genie’s mom relates the full story to her that I bet will bring on the nostalgia for you!

  • Love this review, Danya! The 5 reasons you’ve mentioned above are also the reasons I loved this book too. I especially loved how concerned with school Genie was despite all the other things going on in her life. It was very realistic and I definitely connected with her for that. I loved the mythology too. I haven’t read many books with Chinese mythology, but ahh there’s so much potential to explore more in YA books. I hope this book’s hype will be what pushes that to finally happen. I’m desperate for the sequel and I can’t believe we have to wait for it until next year. BOO!

    • Hooray, I’m so glaaaaad! 🎉 Genie’s commitment to school and getting into a good uni was so relatable, and shockingly rare to see in YA…especially YA urban fantasy. It kinda blows my mind that school life doesn’t play a more prominent role in these kinds of stories, tbh. The mythology!! Ugh so on point. I would buy a dozen more books based on Chinese mythology in a heartbeat.

      The hype machine on twitter and insta has been pretty strong, and I really hope that translates into good sales. F.C. Yee is so freaking talented! I don’t want to be one of those demanding fans but…I need the sequel in my hands NOW! 😂

  • This book was so good. It absolutely nailed some of the most hilarious aspects of growing up with Asian parents in North America. 😀

    • It was SO hilarious! I genuinely laughed out loud numerous times, and I’m glad you loved it too, especially the representation. 🙂

  • Lynn Williams

    This sounds like a whole bunch of fun and lots of laughs. Perfect for a holiday read if you ask me.
    Lynn 😀

    • It certainly was! I had an absolute blast reading it, and I *was* on holiday at the time. I hope you have a chance to pick it up, Lynn! 🙂

  • Ooh these are fantastic reasons! I’ve never read anything with Chinese mythology, so that sounds interesting. And how awesome that it’s still got realistic teen life! I feel that is definitely lacking in a lot of YA fantasy. Plus humor and strong women, definite pluses!

    • Aren’t they, though? This book deserves every bit of praise it’s been getting, in my opinion. The mythology was SO well done, and it still blows my mind that one of the most accurate portrayals of teenaged life I’ve ever read was in a fantasy novel. There’s a lot to love here!

  • Ooo..what wonderful reasons!! I’ve read just one book with Chinese mythology I believe (The Ghost Bride) Humor always makes me pick up a book 🙂 Wonderful post Danya!

    • Thanks so much, Uma! I haven’t heard about The Ghost Bride before, but I’ll definitely take a look at it now. I love fantasy novels that also have a really fun sense of humour, too!

  • Kaja

    Ok this sounds PERFECT. One question: standalone or series? I have an Audible credit I’m itching to use… 🙂

    • It really is! Pretty sure it’s going to be a series — the author is working on the sequel, although I’m not sure if it’s been officially picked up yet. I bet this’d be great on audio!

  • Danya, I’m on a spending ban! I mean, I’m not succeeding and this book is sat in my digital basket begging to be bought… but I’m meant to be on a spending ban until my holiday! Why do you do this to me? This book is ticking all my book boxes and you and Nick loved it and every other blogger I know has read it has raved… so why do you do this?!? I might accidentally on purpose buy it because it sounds awesome. I mean, mythology and kickass women and humour. These are things I like. Why do books have to cost money? Can I not trade a kidney for some? Or my pancreas! That sounds like a made up thing anyway so surely I don’t need it? Not like I need this book in my life. If you see this on my Sunday post next week you’ll know why. You wore me down and I accidentally bought it in the middle of the night (you’d be surprised how often that happens).

    • Becky…sorry not sorry! Hahaha. I can’t help it, if I read an awesome book (especially a debut by an author of colour!) you know I gotta hype it. It’s practically my religion. You’re right, the pancreas is definitely fake and should be traded for hardcovers.

      LOL I can definitely relate to some middle of the night online shopping, although admittedly mine is usually clothes that I deemed too expensive during the light of day haha.

  • #3 and #5 call to me more than anything! I got a copy of this and had never heard of it but NIck told me I must read it so now I just gotta make the damn time for it.

  • AYYY Yeah!! I won a ARC of this and I will be cracking it open this week. Your review has me over the moon for that experience!!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

  • GREAT review! I already have this one on my TBR and was looking forward to it. Now I feel like I need to read it RIGHT NOW. Genie sounds like my type of character and the call out to Buffy is also a convincing point in its favor! Can’t wait!