First off head on over to The Enchanted Inkpot to check out an exclusive Q&A with both the author and the editor of this book! Here's a little excerpt to get you hooked:
Ello – Thanks for publishing a book with Asian characters that are not stereotypes in any way! It is so refreshing to see that! Even Nat’s family was real (well except for the talents part) and not caricatures. So that takes us to the diversity question, which is always a hot topic. Given Tu’s mission, can you both share with us how important diversity is to the both of you? What does diversity mean to you?
Stacy – To me, it means intercultural connections. I’m white, though of course that could mean a variety of cultures of origin (in my case, Swedish, Irish, Scottish, English, German, Prussian, and a little bit Cherokee and Choctaw), and growing up in the rural Midwest I knew so few people from anything other than a Swedish/German/English background. But throughout my adult life, I’ve met so many people whose experiences/cultural background/faces are different than mine, and I want to them (and the fantastic/science fiction versions of them) reflected in the books I read just as much as I want to see myself. As it’s been said so many times, books should be both windows and mirrors—we all need both.
Kimberly – Growing up, I don’t think I ever thought about how the characters in books didn’t look like me. It just wasn’t something that even occurred to me as I read about girl detectives with titian hair or English school children passing through magical wardrobes. Possibly the first time it really hit me was when I read Justina Chen Headley’s Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), which wasn’t until 2007! I’ve since made it a point to look for more diverse characters. There aren’t as many as I’d like to see, that’s for sure, though I do think it is getting better. Slowly.
To me, I think we’ll be where we need to be when it’s something we don’t have to talk about anymore. That’s actually something I think I did okay with in this book. Nat’s half-Chinese, but it isn’t important that she is. The story isn’t about her race or ethnicity, just like it isn’t integral to the story that Oscar is gay. He just is.
Check out the rest of the awesome Q&A here.
Intrigued? Here's the book summary:
Natalie Ng’s little sister is a super-genius with a chameleon-like ability to disappear. Her older sister has three Class A Talents, including being a human lie detector. Her mom has laser vision and has one of the highest IQs ever. Her dad’s Talent is so complex even the Bureau of Extra-Sensory Regulation and Management (BERM) hardly knows what to classify him as.
And Nat? She can talk to cats.
The whole talking-to-cats thing is something she tries very hard to hide, except with her best friends Oscar (a celebrity-addicted gossip hound) and Melly (a wannabe actress). When Oscar shows her a viral Internet video featuring a famous blogger being attacked by her own cat, Nat realizes what’s really going on…and it’s not funny.
(okay, yeah, a frou-frou blogger being taken down by a really angry cat named Tiddlywinks, who also happens to be dyed pink? Pretty hilarious.)
Nat and her friends are catapulted right into the middle of a celebrity kidnapping mystery that takes them through Ferris Bueller’s Chicago and on and off movie sets. Can she keep her reputation intact? Can she keep Oscar and Melly focused long enough to save the day? And, most importantly, can she keep from embarrassing herself in front of Ian?
Find out what happens when the kitty litter hits the fan.
This book sounds awesome for a multitude of reasons. The main character is half Chinese plus her best guy friend is gay? It's like they stole my life and put it into a book! Except of course I don't have the ability to talk to cats. A pity that one.