Tiger Daughter

Rebecca Lim

Tiger Daughter
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Tiger Daughter

Rebecca Lim

My study buddy, Henry, has made it his mission to get me to an A in maths the way I’m trying to get him to an A in English.

Wen Zhou is the daughter and only child of Chinese immigrants whose move to the lucky country has proven to be not so lucky. Wen and her friend, Henry Xiao - whose mum and dad are also poor immigrants - both dream of escape from their unhappy circumstances, and they form a plan to sit an entrance exam to a selective high school far from home. But when tragedy strikes, it will take all of Wen’s resilience and resourcefulness to get herself and Henry through the storm that follows.

Tiger Daughter is a novel that will grab hold of you and not let go.

‘This gem of a book is packed with moments of unbearable tension and characters so complex and vivid they will stay with you long after it ends. At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Tiger Daughter is a testament to the strength of women and girls - and a terrific read. I couldn’t put it down. Beautiful. Brutal. Brilliant.’ - Ambelin Kwaymullina

Review

Thirteen-year-old Wen lives in a house governed by rage and fear. As the first-generation daughter of Chinese migrant parents, she is expected to keep her head down and focus solely on her studies. While life at home is spent under her parents’ watchful gaze, Wen secretly spends her time at school studying with her close friend Henry for a place at a select-entry high school, something that they believe could launch them into a future ripe with opportunity. Two weeks before the school’s entrance exam, however, tragedy strikes, leaving Henry reclusive and shut off from the outside world. It is up to Wen to seek the help of her parents, and coax her friend out of his shell so that they can realise their dreams.

Tiger Daughter is an insightful portrayal of the Australian migrant experience that will feel familiar to many readers. Wen’s father, previously a medical practitioner in China, has no choice but to spend his nights waiting tables at the local Chinese restaurant to earn a measly income. Meanwhile, her mother spends her days cooking and cleaning the house while caring for Wen, having long ago abandoned her former life as a socialite. As Wen works to break out of a life that has been prescribed for her, she too begins to challenge the cultural conceptions that have long held her family back.

The novel does not shy away from tackling heavy topics around mental health, parental pressure and racial abuse, but it also weaves in tender moments full of compassion and hope. Rebecca Lim has written a powerful Own-Voices story about perseverance and determination that will completely and utterly win over readers’ hearts. For ages 11+.


Xiao Xiao Kingham works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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