Cover Image: Lunar New Year Love Story

Lunar New Year Love Story

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Member Reviews

This is a powerful author-illustrator duo. I loved this sweet romance and appreciated the beautiful illustrations of lion dancing.

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A dazzling one-sitting read that will have you spellbound, whether through its captivating artwork or compelling plot.

I'm a cynic myself so this graphic novel really spoke to me. I love how it interweaves culture and tradition into a modern love story while also exploring themes of identity, family and friendship. Don't forget the love triangle and will-they-won't-they romance, which I was completely invested in.

I see a little myself in both Valentina and Bernice, which is a testament to how well-written the characters are. Valentina's grandma was a real hoot!

The illustrations are seriously gorgeous and super lush. I also love how the colour palette helps to tell the story and mood. Just beautiful!

This is a wonderful read with so much to offer and learn from. I highly recommend it!

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Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang is a beautifully crafted graphic novel that goes beyond a simple love story. It delves into generational trauma and offers profound insights into different cultures. The narrative is both heartwarming and thought-provoking, blending romance with deeper themes of family and cultural heritage. Valentina's grandmother adds some much-needed humor to the story while also showing motherly and grandmotherly love. The artwork is stunning, bringing the story to life in vivid detail. If you’re looking for a graphic novel that combines a heartfelt romance with meaningful cultural exploration, this is a fantastic choice.

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Loved this! Hand to readers who enjoy graphic novels and romance. Very unexpected story from Gene Luen Yang.

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This is such a great graphic novel for a teen library. relatable characters and interesting plot. Highly recommend!

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I read this over a month ago and forgot to review it until today. How does that even happen?

When I heard there was a new Gene Luen Yang book, I about lost my damn mind. I read the entire book in two sittings. American Born Chinese was one of my favorite books during my children's lit class I took in undergrad, and I haven't been able to forget about it. This book brings that same mixture of Chinese culture and folklore, magical realism, and cultural/social commentary I loved in American Born Chinese to a YA audience with a dash of heartfelt romance.

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I read Lunar New Year expecting a standard YA love story, but this book is so much more than that. It explores so many deep and complex issues like love, grief, family issues/dysfunction and friendship in a really nuanced, beautiful way. The story centers around Valentina, a young woman who has loved Valentine's Day since she was a little girl, until she enters High School and learns some family secrets that cause her to turn away from love. Until she meets Les and Jae at a Lion Dancing performance, and her whole life changes, There is a supernatural element to the story as well that I loved! The art style was beautiful as well, and really made the story come to life. I highly recommend this book.

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Wow, this was really fantastic. I loved the story, with all its many twists and turns, and how it depicted how difficult families can be. I also loved the different types of cultures that were shown.

It was a lunar new year/Valentine’s Day story that shows how our emotions can cause us to make choices, both good and bad, and thinking they’re always the right one.

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4.5 Stars

++++

Valentina "Val" loves Valentine's Day. Every year she gets a card in the mail from her friend Saint V. All is good, until one year the kids mock her cards (one even ripping his up), she learns her mother did not pass away (but abandoned them), and she sees a statue of the real Saint Valentine (so her cherubic friend morphs into a terrifying dark statue). Now, Val hates Valentine's Day and is tempted to give up her heart to St. V, who wants it for some unknown reason. But, then she meets Leslie at a Lunar New Year festival. Who cares if his cousin is the mean boy, Jae, who tore up one of the last valentine cards she ever made. Now she starts to think she should keep her heart for Leslie and promises Saint Valentine that if it does not work out between the two of them she will give Saint V her heart to keep next Lunar New Year.

This graphic novel was a lot darker than I was expecting and way more emotional, but the story was so well done and all of it came together so beautifully. I loved that there was Lion Dancing, which I had little knowledge of, so it was so fun to learn a bit about this incredible tradition and the different iterations depending on Asian descent. The dancers wear giant Lion Costumes and must work together to dance, in which they mimic the movements of a lion. The dance is intricate and is usually performed at special occasions to bring good luck and fortune. It is something that Val yearns for, both a community and luck in love.

This novel had incredible depth with Val's friendships, her family, and the love she was seeking. Specifically, as Val grows she realizes there are many kinds of love and that giving her heart can be scary, but it can also be worth the possible future heartache. If her father had never met and fallen in love with her mother, than Val would not exist. Val's relationship with her father is full of light and love, until she finds out about her mother and then it becomes strained due to lies. Together they must work through the pain, Val in terms of loss of trust in her father, realizing her mother left them, and realizing after all that she loves her father and recognizes that his heart was broken and he made bad decisions because of that. Meanwhile, her father must finally accept his part in what happened and apologize to Val.

It was interesting to see the likeness between Leslie and Val's best friend, Bernice. They are both very much the make friends and love connections easily, but do not become too serious about any one person type. Bernice is like this because of how her parents are together and her fear of turning out like her mother (tolerating a relationship she appears to hate). Leslie is so obliviously cruel to Val, as she continuously asks him to define who they are to each other. I do not understand why Jae continued to help and support Leslie when Jae had real feelings for Val. I personally was so angry at Val for allowing Leslie to treat her the way he did for so long, but I realized she had so little experience with love that she could not understand why Leslie acted the way he did.

Val and Jae's story was cute. The way they work through their shared past and their similar pains. Both have lost parents, Val to her mother leaving and Jae's father dying of cancer. Jae is the only one who understands Val's imaginary friend Saint Valentine and the fear she has of him and that he wants to keep her heart. He realizes her apprehensions about love and he too has issues to work out about his own loss and his own regrets. They are perfect for each other.

The art in this graphic novel is stunning. The colouring is vibrant and highlight the moments of joy and the moments of pain, fear, loss. There are darker moments when the statue of Saint Valentine is interacting with Val. Those are moments of horror, with him slowly crumbling each time she sees him, and his eyes often being the only part of him visible. Quite the change from the cherubic angel of her childhood. The lion dancing is drawn so incredibly that it seems as though the page is moving with them. There are also several moments where visuals take whole pages to display an important theme or moment for Val in her journey to self love, familial love, friend love, and true love. The colours, the contents, the writing, made this graphic novel stand out and the story very memorable.

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Don't let the title fool you. This is no drippy romance. Really, the book explores the concept of love more than the love between a particular pair. It utilizes a construction we've seen from Gene Luen Yang before in the Boxers and Saints duology - spirits that only individual characters can see. It is unclear whether these are actual spirits, hallucinations, or simply constructs of an over active imagination but that ambiguity works in the book's favor. Simply put, the spirits don't really matter. They are a device for the characters to come to terms with their families and past traumas. There's complexity to the plot that is worth dwelling on and picking through. The illustrations are complex as well, inviting us to sit on a single page for a while and appreciate everything that is going on. This slows the reading and allows us to fully grasp the plot. This is a prime example of how literary a graphic novel can truly be.

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This was so good! I loved reading about Val and her quest to fall in love within a year. Her family issues combined with what she thinks is a family curse made for a fun read. If you're looking for a cute read with a smidge of family drama then check this one out!

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While the art wasn't quite what I was expecting and there were a couple of times I had to suspend my disbelief, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the story by the end. A delightful read, and one I would recommend 100%.

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Really Enjoyed this graphic novel! Read it on Lunar New Year! I loved the view into dragon dancer and the culture of that. The love story felt very real . Loved the dynamic of friends and family! Overall really loved this definitely recommend!

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This was absolute perfection! I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of Gene Luen Yang, this book reminded me WHY I’m a fan of his writing and the combination of LeUyen Pham’s illustrations made this a story I’ll be recommending for as long as I can. I hope they team up for more graphic novels in the future because I’ll read anything they put out together.

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Valentina (Val)’s favorite holiday was Valentine’s Day -- until she learns the truth about her parents and love. Things are doomed when Val is visited by the spirit of Saint Valentine --
but there’s hope when she meets a lion dancer boy at a Lunar New Year festival.

This was such a cute yet moving YA graphic novel! We explore love, relationships, friendships, grief, complicated family dynamics, mental health, and more. Despite Val’s estrangement from her Vietnamese background, we see her reconnect with her grandma (who is hilarious 😂) and discover a passion for dragon dancing. Watching the art of dragon dancing come alive through the pages was such a vibrant and magical experience. The idea of the curse, the ghostly spirit, conflicting love interests, and other drama, got messy but the ending was adorable!! Overall, this story was beautifully done and had me tearing up! 🥺

Thanks NetGalley and First Second Books for my arc!

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Thank you NetGalley and First Second Books for this arc!

5/5 stars

This was such a touching read about family, identity, and love of all different types. Val has sure been through some shit, but with her friends and family she's healing and learning to trust again. Thus was beautifully illustrated as well, fantastic read

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Happy Lunar New Year! If you are looking for a fantastic read that is great for both Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year, the new graphic novel LUNAR NEW YEAR LOVE STORY is an awesome choice. As I expect when I pick up a @geneluenyang story, the narrative isn't immediately straightforward--there's a new layer of storytelling waiting to be peeled back every few beats. This is no exception, and the family drama in play is depicted primarily in how it impacts the youngest generation. (Also, aunties and grandmas--Yang has a soft spot for these older ladies, and I do too.) @uyenloseordraw's is fantastic as always--I'm impressed at how consistently amazing her work is across formats, since before this I had known her work best from picture books and Princess in Black! Her style is really well suited to both the realistic and fantastic elements at play here. And I loved learning about the lion dance!

Definitely pop by your library or bookstore and check it out!

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I loved this graphic novels so much, I loved the art, the characters, and the story. I want to get the physical to add to my collection. I liked the growth of the characters.

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As a child, Valentina was in LOVE with Valentine's Day, but her obsession soured as a teen when she realized that everyone in her family has been unlucky in love. Perhaps she could avoid the almost certain heartbreak by evading that emotion all together? But, then again, there's this boy . . . well, TWO boys actually . . .

This book has EVERYTHING going for it: a great involving story, a fascinating exploration of multiple cultures, likeable, believable characters, great artwork, and some wacky relatives to provide the humor.

Plus - it ends with a big old AWWWW.

This happily non-sappy romance should be in every library's young adult collection.

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Thank you so much, for letting me read this graphic novel. I very much enjoyed reading this story. I loved how heartfelt the story is written. And the artstyle really reflects the emotions of the story.

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