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Mismatch    by Lensey Namioka order for
by Lensey Namioka
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mismatch is the gentle story of an evolving romance, that must survive familial prejudice as well as the usual, inevitable misunderstandings that occur in teen relationships. Fifteen-year-old Sue Hua's Chinese American family has recently moved from a racially diverse community in Seattle to suburbs in which they stand out as different.

While auditioning for the Lakeview High School orchestra, Sue (who plays the viola) meets and is attracted to a fellow Asian American, Andy, a 'superstar violinist'. The feeling is mutual and they start to get together regularly after practice at Hero's sandwich shop. But there's a problem. Andy's last name is Suzuki, and he's Japanese American - a complication that Sue's Caucasian friend Mia can't understand. Sue has grown up on the bitter tales told by Grandma Mei, who suffered as a child during Japan's brutal 1930s invasion and occupation of China. Sue's mother is also very prejudiced against the Japanese, so that she's afraid to tell her family about her new boyfriend. Andy has trouble understanding her feelings, though his father's recent awkward business trip to China left him with his own prejudices, and his family also suffered wartime internment during World War II.

The families eventually find out, just before Sue and Andy travel to Tokyo, on an exchange trip (the Kasei High School orchestra visited them previously). In Japan, Sue stays with a Korean family, and learns about prejudice in that country against its Korean population. But of course, all's well that ends well, after Andy offers Grandma Mei a very touching gesture of reconciliation that only strengthens Sue's feelings for him. Mismatch is a very sweet story about a very well-matched teen romance.

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