Cover Image: Ghost Girl, Banana

Ghost Girl, Banana

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Member Reviews

*** Thank you NetGalley and HarperVia for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. *** 

When I began reading this, I expected that a multigenerational novel following the story of a family would feature a rolling story about and tackle predictable themes like family, love, and what home and belonging really mean. Instead, this book took a sharp curve from page one. The author opens with a passage from the perspective of a child flying in an airplane for the first time, and like so many of the chapters after it, at the end you're left with more questions than answers. As a reader, I was pleasantly surprised that Ghost Girl, Banana covered everything I thought it might, and more. Narrated by a woman and her mother separated by more than 30 years, this novel was filled with beautiful prose, precise narration, and a number of twists in the narrative that made Ghost Girl, Banana, a great mystery as well. The only bit that was a bit tough for me was the pacing, it felt like the novel crescendoed a bit late and the end rushed by in the last ~20% of the book, but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the novel. A really stunning debut!
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What an all-encompassing book. This better be popular in 2023! I love a multi-generational book that deals with putting a family history together. Embedded in learning about the family history is the historic Handover of Hong Kong from British rule to “one state, two systems”, history I knew next to nothing. Wiz is able to create complex and hard to like characters that complements the plot. I will be singing praises of this book for awhile. 

Thanks to NetGalley for a great book!
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Wiz Wharton tells the story of Lily (Ghost Girl, one who is bi-racial but not belonging to either race) and her mother, Sook-Yin (Banana because she's only yellow on the outside).  Sook-Yin mostly tells the story in the first and second narratives before, and after she died, then we have Lily's description in the present.  Soon-Yin was studying in the UK to become a nurse when two things happened to her; Sook-Yin married a "Westerner," and she came into a good fortune that would cause a rift in her family dynamics, leading to jealousy and hatred lasting long after Sook-Yins death.  Years later, inheritance to Lily would come about, and she would search for answers to the mystery surrounding her mother in Hong Kong. 
Wharton tells a perplexing tale of a mother and daughter searching for a place to "fit in" but unable to.
A tale of family dynamics spun out of one's control, yet no one could correct them. 
Wharton is definitely an author to watch.
Ghost Girl Banana was excellent!
Kudos!
Thank you, NetGalley/Wiz Wharton/Harper Via/ For this amazing eARC for my honest review.  My opinions are of my own volition.
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Through alternating narratives between mother and daughter, this intergenerational mystery of sorts looks at complicated family dynamics, race, immigration, and more. At times the writing is a bit stilted and vague, and the plot didn't feel as full as it could have been, but the premise was interesting and I enjoyed much of the description, especially of places.
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3.5 stars- For those who prefer a slow paced novel, this is for you. It is emotional & really interesting. Thank you netgalley & the publisher for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to #netgalley, Harper Collins and Wiz Wharton for sending this ARC e-book for review.

Ghost Girl ( referring to someone who is bi-racial and and not accepted by either race), and Banana (someone only yellow on the outside) is the perfect title for this captivating and enthralling novel of 2 women, a mother and a daughter, looking for acceptance and belonging. This is a novel of family and identity and the title perfectly describes the power of this novel.
Sook-Yin Chen is from Hong Kong, training to become a nurse in London, and marries a "Westerner". She inherits a huge sum of money from a distant relative she never really knew, which sets her on a path along which she learns about family secrets, and her sister and  mothers past. It's these secrets , the hatred and denial from her family, especially her brother, that push the subletries of this story.
This is an amazing, well-written novel. Wiz Wharton is an author to keep an eye on. 
Give this a read. You will enjoy it.
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Plot: 5
Characters: 4
Writing Style: 5
Cover: 4
Enjoyment: 5
Buyable/Re-readable?: Yes.

Welp, the title is no longer cute and quirky. No, it is now Sad AF.  ;___; This book? It will leave you in shambles, it will fuck you up. It's brutal. It's simultaneously rough and wonderful. And not just the fictional characters lives, but the history woven within (China, Hong Kong, Japan). We get the story told in two voices, alternating chapters; Lily (daughter) in present day and first person, and then Sook-Yin (mother) in the past and in third person. Wharton's writing composition is superior and vastly intelligent. Sometimes I needed sentences to be reworded in order for me to understand them, which made the book’s reading level a nice and healthy sort of challenge. I did, however, forget names/characters if I stepped away for too long but that *might* be a result of a Western brain. Not sure, it wasn't a huge set back either way. For this *and* the exceptional story, I would read it again, equipped with my Know-the-Ending-Now knowledge. I adored a few of the female characters (and the cast is mostly female), whilst others were pretty brutal. I do kind of wish we had gotten even just a tiny note about keeping in touch with certain characters, once the third act had resolved, but I also think you can get enough of a feel from the implied tone. Or maybe I’m just creating head-canon, it’s fine, we’re fine, everything is fine. 

I learned a lot, having to pause to Google places and the like and I enjoyed the detours. Definitely appreciated the amount of work put into this novel, everything felt one hundred percent authentic, genuine.
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I really enjoyed this book. The author is an excellent writer. The book is an easy read given that it's well written and the story is compelling. I thought the character development was good (proof being that I truly loathed two of the main characters). 

While I do think that this would be an interesting read for students (especially given that many of my students are Chinese exchange students), but I thought that the subject matter wasn't quite appropriate.
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Interesting dual timeline story of Hong Kong (late 60s) and London (90s).  A little overly dramatic for me and more slowly paced than I liked, but an engaging read.
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Ghost Girl, Banana is an intriguing story.    Heartbreaking in parts, a search for identity.  It introduced to me a culture I know little about.   Well done.
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I picked up this book because its title intrigued me. Now that I've read it, it actually intrigues me more--namely, why did Wharton choose it? The title refers to the two main characters of our story--Lily (Ghost Girl), who tells the story from the 1990s, and Sook-Yin (Banana), her mother, who passed away in 1977. Both of those nicknames are derogatory--Ghost Girl means that Lily doesn't really belong in Kowloon, and Banana means Sook-Yin is only yellow on the outside, in reference to her marrying a white Englishman. Both refer to the mother and daughter not belonging and being trapped between two worlds, but why choose a title that insults your protagonists? And this book isn't really about Lily being biracial or Sook-Yin's marriage; it's more about family secrets and what we keep from those we love in order to protect them. I'll look forward to interviews with Wharton when the book is released to see if she enumerates on her choice of title. 

I do think this book was well-done, and I wasn't expecting the mystery aspect that ties both halves of the story together and propels it forward. My main gripe is with the character of Uncle Chor, Sook-Yin's brother and Lily's uncle. His villainy is not adequately explained, in my opinion, especially since SPOILER ALERT, he is the engine that drives much of Sook-Yin's misery. He eventually "comes clean" that he was always jealous that Sook-Yin was doted on and more beloved in the family, but it seems like hollow reasoning when compared to all the devious deeds he perpetuates on his sister and her young family. He felt less like a fully-formed person than a plot necessity. Even twenty years later, when his niece comes looking for answers regarding her late mother, he shows no remorse, speaking lies to a young woman who only wanted to know more about the mother she never knew.
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I was excited to receive an ARC of this novel as I was interested in the historical and mystery elements! This was told from two perspectives: Sook-Yin, who we follow throughout her tumultuous life and death, and Lily, who we follow through her journey through Hong Kong after she receives a mysterious inheritance. 

Overall, I did enjoy this story and was interested in finding out more details about the inheritance and the circumstances of Sook-Yin's death, however, this did not stand out to me over other family dramas! I found myself getting bored at some parts and felt that some parts were not wrapped up well or were confusing (ex: uncle chor being evil)
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