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Private Label

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New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang delivers a heartfelt and powerful YA romance about a Chinese American girl who gets help from the new boy in town to search for her dad after her successful fashion designer mother is diagnosed with cancer. Serene dreams of making couture dresses even more stunning than her mom’s, but for now she’s an intern at her mom’s fashion New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang delivers a heartfelt and powerful YA romance about a Chinese American girl who gets help from the new boy in town to search for her dad after her successful fashion designer mother is diagnosed with cancer. Serene dreams of making couture dresses even more stunning than her mom’s, but for now she’s an intern at her mom’s fashion label. When her mom receives a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, all that changes. Serene has to take over her mother’s business overnight, dealing with ruthless investors who do not think a seventeen-year-old can run a fashion empire, while trying to figure out what happened with her dad in Beijing. He left before she was born, and Serene wants to find him, even if it means going against her mom’s one request—never look back. Lian Chen moved from China to Serene’s mostly white Southern California beach town a year ago. He doesn’t fit in at school, where kids mispronounce his name. His parents don’t care about what he wants to do—comedy—and push him toward going to MIT engineering early. Lian thinks there’s nothing to stick around for, until one day, he starts Chinese Club after school . . . and Serene walks in. Worlds apart in the high school hierarchy, Serene and Lian soon find refuge in each other, falling in love as they navigate life-changing storms.


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New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang delivers a heartfelt and powerful YA romance about a Chinese American girl who gets help from the new boy in town to search for her dad after her successful fashion designer mother is diagnosed with cancer. Serene dreams of making couture dresses even more stunning than her mom’s, but for now she’s an intern at her mom’s fashion New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang delivers a heartfelt and powerful YA romance about a Chinese American girl who gets help from the new boy in town to search for her dad after her successful fashion designer mother is diagnosed with cancer. Serene dreams of making couture dresses even more stunning than her mom’s, but for now she’s an intern at her mom’s fashion label. When her mom receives a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, all that changes. Serene has to take over her mother’s business overnight, dealing with ruthless investors who do not think a seventeen-year-old can run a fashion empire, while trying to figure out what happened with her dad in Beijing. He left before she was born, and Serene wants to find him, even if it means going against her mom’s one request—never look back. Lian Chen moved from China to Serene’s mostly white Southern California beach town a year ago. He doesn’t fit in at school, where kids mispronounce his name. His parents don’t care about what he wants to do—comedy—and push him toward going to MIT engineering early. Lian thinks there’s nothing to stick around for, until one day, he starts Chinese Club after school . . . and Serene walks in. Worlds apart in the high school hierarchy, Serene and Lian soon find refuge in each other, falling in love as they navigate life-changing storms.

30 review for Private Label

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    It's about accepting all the pieces of you, however complex and hard. I used to want so badly to fit into a neat box. Now I know there is no neat box. I'm a composite of all my identities. . and my fortunes. You can see Kelly Yang's heartprints all over this new YA novel. Serena and Lian tell their story in alternating chapters. Serena dreams of being a designer like her mother. Lian wants to be a standup comic. Their unlikely pairing is a thing of beauty. There are lots of fashion industry ins It's about accepting all the pieces of you, however complex and hard. I used to want so badly to fit into a neat box. Now I know there is no neat box. I'm a composite of all my identities. . and my fortunes. You can see Kelly Yang's heartprints all over this new YA novel. Serena and Lian tell their story in alternating chapters. Serena dreams of being a designer like her mother. Lian wants to be a standup comic. Their unlikely pairing is a thing of beauty. There are lots of fashion industry inside looks (including a Vogue photo shoot) and clean comedy courtesy of Lian. I'm taking one star off for too much foul language and sexual content. Not recommended for teens younger than sixteen. Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Getting some major hurt/comfort vibes from this book

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Newcomb

    It’s no surprise that Kelly Yang’s latest is fabulous. The perfect mix of serious and fun. I love all of her YA books and will always read them 💖

  4. 5 out of 5

    siu

    STOP IT SOUNDS SO GOOD AND SWEET AND WHY AM I FEELING TEARY READING THE SYNOPSIS ALREADY. I CANT WAIT FOR THIS BOOK

  5. 4 out of 5

    booksandzoe

    3.5ish

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alfredo (Fred)

    OMG. WE HAVE A COVER. AND A SYNOPSIS. AND IT'S AMAZING. I'M ALREADY CRYING. THANK YOU KELLY YANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. WE HAVE A COVER. AND A SYNOPSIS. AND IT'S AMAZING. I'M ALREADY CRYING. THANK YOU KELLY YANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brittanica Bold

    This was my first Kelly Yang book and I enjoyed it. While it may not have checked all my boxes, it was definitely a nice, sweet read. What I like about the book: 1. It is well written. It has an easy flow and it’s entertaining with all of Lian’s jokes. 2. I really like Lian. He is probably the sweetest male character I’ve ever read, and I want to see more characters like him in the future. • He respects Serene, • he isn’t some fuccboi who brags about his accomplishments, • he helps his sister This was my first Kelly Yang book and I enjoyed it. While it may not have checked all my boxes, it was definitely a nice, sweet read. What I like about the book: 1. It is well written. It has an easy flow and it’s entertaining with all of Lian’s jokes. 2. I really like Lian. He is probably the sweetest male character I’ve ever read, and I want to see more characters like him in the future. • He respects Serene, • he isn’t some fuccboi who brags about his accomplishments, • he helps his sister to realize her dream on his own dime, • he helps Serene and his sister appreciate their culture, • he carries his coat in case Serene gets cold, • oh my god! That pendant contract was everything!, • he asked if he could kiss her (that is so high school sweet!), • he printed and mapped out on his bedroom wall the Great Wall of China so he could “take Serene there” as his grand gesture, and • he is downright hilarious! Seriously, his comedy is what kept me reading and wanting more of the chapters in his POV. 3. There is a revolving theme of assimilation and not being welcomed because of who you are. I felt the author did a very good job of highlighting some of the messed-up stuff non-white people go through in America. I appreciated the deep thoughts around how different people dealt with it and how the strongest character, Lian, helped Serene and others see that being yourself is most important at the end of the day. What didn’t do it for me: 1. I really wanted to like Selene, but she just fell flat for me. She had sweet moments, especially when she acted really mature with her mom’s illness and taking care of her. But there were a couple things about her that bugged me. She spent way too long being in a relationship with Cameron and arranging her life to try to make him/his group of friends happy when she even realized she didn’t really like him all that much anymore. I also felt she was really hypocritical of her mom. In one breath she’s pissed that her mom changed her name from “Li” to the more Americanized spelling “Lee”, but then she’s changing everything about herself to fit in at school too. At the end of the day, be you, not who others want you to be and don’t be a hypocrite. 2. I felt this book should have had a wide range of emotions and it fell short of that goal. Going into this book, I wanted to be devastated with her mom’s illness, and I wanted to be in love with Serene’s and Lian’s love story. Neither of these happened. While her mother’s illness was a focal point to the story, the points where real emotion could have been interwoven in were highly glossed over. At no point did I want to cry, and this should have been a book to wreck me. As for Serene’s and Lian’s love story, it just felt…abrupt. One second Serene doesn’t know who he is and the next she thinks about kissing him instead of her boyfriend. It also seemed strange how fast they recognized the other as their “best friend”. They barely knew each other… Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, Katherine Tegen Books, and Kelly Yang for the opportunity to read this ARC. The opinions expressed above are my own, honest opinions. 3.5 stars!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    4 stars As a devoted Kelly Yang fan, I was thrilled to be able to read this latest YA effort, and while it was (to be totally transparent) not my favorite of her works, it's still a strong YA contemporary with a solid dose of romance and family drama included. Yang fans, as well as general readers of good YA, will enjoy this experience. The main character and joint perspective duties are shared by Serene and Lian, who both live in a swanky town, attend the same high school, and come into each ot 4 stars As a devoted Kelly Yang fan, I was thrilled to be able to read this latest YA effort, and while it was (to be totally transparent) not my favorite of her works, it's still a strong YA contemporary with a solid dose of romance and family drama included. Yang fans, as well as general readers of good YA, will enjoy this experience. The main character and joint perspective duties are shared by Serene and Lian, who both live in a swanky town, attend the same high school, and come into each other's lives at just the right time. Serene may be a bit unrelatable for some at first because there is a lot of focus on her mother, a famous fashion designer, and Serene's incredible experience to work at her mother's company. Between this particularly fortuitous circumstance and the financial means Serene appears to have, it seems like she has it all: too much, even. However, Serene also has three other factors that provide incredible challenges: a trash bag of a boyfriend, a totally absent parent, and a parent dipping into crisis mode. Lian's circumstances may be more relatable as he has somewhat recently come to this new town with his family from China, he's having some social challenges, and his parents are utterly overbearing. Serene and Lian seem like an unlikely pair to be sure, but they grow closer as their circumstances become more challenging, and their journey is one to watch. As is always the case with Yang, one of the great strengths of this novel is the coverage of so many issues. The characters struggle with their own internal challenges, but wow does Yang pile on the external factors here, too. Pick up this book to learn and grow with them. *Special thanks to NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mid-Continent Public Library

    It's about accepting all the pieces of you, however complex and hard. I used to want so badly to fit into a neat box. Now I know there is no neat box. I'm a composite of all my identities. . and my fortunes. You can see Kelly Yang's heartprints all over this new YA novel. Serena and Lian tell their story in alternating chapters. Serena dreams of being a designer like her mother. Lian wants to be a standup comic. Their unlikely pairing is a thing of beauty. There are lots of fashion industry insid It's about accepting all the pieces of you, however complex and hard. I used to want so badly to fit into a neat box. Now I know there is no neat box. I'm a composite of all my identities. . and my fortunes. You can see Kelly Yang's heartprints all over this new YA novel. Serena and Lian tell their story in alternating chapters. Serena dreams of being a designer like her mother. Lian wants to be a standup comic. Their unlikely pairing is a thing of beauty. There are lots of fashion industry inside looks (including a Vogue photo shoot) and clean comedy courtesy of Lian. I'm taking one star off for too much foul language and sexual content. Not recommended for teens younger than sixteen. *Review by Darla from Red Bridge*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Such a tender dual perspective YA romance with depth and heart!! Aspiring fashion designer Serene is reeling when her mom is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and aspiring stand-up comic Lian, is feeling pressure from his Chinese parents to get into Harvard. Two of the only Asian kids at their elite California high school, Lian and Serene bond while spending time together at the Chinese club (of which they are the sole members). This story tackles some serious issues as Serene has to decide wheth Such a tender dual perspective YA romance with depth and heart!! Aspiring fashion designer Serene is reeling when her mom is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and aspiring stand-up comic Lian, is feeling pressure from his Chinese parents to get into Harvard. Two of the only Asian kids at their elite California high school, Lian and Serene bond while spending time together at the Chinese club (of which they are the sole members). This story tackles some serious issues as Serene has to decide whether to test for the cancer gene her mom has, search for her absentee father and singlehandedly save her mother's fashion empire business. Lian also has hard choices to make, finding the courage to stand up to his parents and fight for both his relationship with Serene and his desire to pursue a career in stand-up. Great on audio narrated by Natalie Naudus, this was really enjoyable and highly recommended for fans of books like Parachutes by Kelly Yang.

  11. 4 out of 5

    B | crumbledpages

    Read my full review about this book here I got an surprise ARC of the book from the publisher and didn't know about this book prior to it. I immediately picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover and finished this book in 2 days. I loved this book. Highly recommend. Read my full review about this book here I got an surprise ARC of the book from the publisher and didn't know about this book prior to it. I immediately picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover and finished this book in 2 days. I loved this book. Highly recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Netgalley A very interesting story about a girl dealing with not only her mother's cancer diagnosis, but also her mother's fashion empire. Readers who love Front Desk and New From Here should be aware that this is a Young Adult title more like this author's Parachutes, with a few vulgarities and discussions of sexual activity. E ARC provided by Netgalley A very interesting story about a girl dealing with not only her mother's cancer diagnosis, but also her mother's fashion empire. Readers who love Front Desk and New From Here should be aware that this is a Young Adult title more like this author's Parachutes, with a few vulgarities and discussions of sexual activity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Libriar

    I was excited to read the second book targeted to older teens written by Kelly Yang and it didn't disappoint. This book is about a Chinese-American high school girl in California being raised by a single mother who is an extremely successful fashion designer. She attends a high school with very few Asian students. In an attempt to find out more about her absent father, she befriends the seemingly only other Chinese student at the high school to help her learn some Chinese. He is struggling with I was excited to read the second book targeted to older teens written by Kelly Yang and it didn't disappoint. This book is about a Chinese-American high school girl in California being raised by a single mother who is an extremely successful fashion designer. She attends a high school with very few Asian students. In an attempt to find out more about her absent father, she befriends the seemingly only other Chinese student at the high school to help her learn some Chinese. He is struggling with his parents' expectations of going to MIT when he really just wants to be a comedian. At its heart, this book is a typical teen romance/problem novel but the addition of the Chinese-American issues makes this book more interesting than many. I still prefer Yang's books for middle grades but I am glad that she is also writing for high school students. (This one is probably appropriate for grades 8 and up.) ARC courtesy of NetGalley.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Serene wants to be a fashion designer like her mom, and nothing will stop her. As an intern at her mother's prestigious label, she's on the right track. That is until her mom is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Now she must navigate this frightening illness as she watches her mom deteriorate before her. Meanwhile, Lian has big dreams of being a stand-up comedian, but that goes against everything his strict Chinese parents want for him. The two start a friendship when Serene joins Lian's Chinese Serene wants to be a fashion designer like her mom, and nothing will stop her. As an intern at her mother's prestigious label, she's on the right track. That is until her mom is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Now she must navigate this frightening illness as she watches her mom deteriorate before her. Meanwhile, Lian has big dreams of being a stand-up comedian, but that goes against everything his strict Chinese parents want for him. The two start a friendship when Serene joins Lian's Chinese Club after finding a postcard from her father, whom she's never met. First of all this was a great story built around a very sad situation. I liked Lian a lot, but had a little trouble with Serene. Like I know she's only 17, but her story with Cameron only served to infuriate me each time he came on the page. The scenes with Serene and her mom toward the end seemed to only scratch the surface of the emotional impact it should have had. I would have liked to see more of those and much less Cameron. Also, this book had one almost sex scene and one glossed over sex scene. Personally, I prefer YA books with no sex. That's a personal preference, but because of that I cannot recommend this to my students sadly. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC. I liked this story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Radley

    Wow, this book is incredible. It moves you to tears, through laughter, the pain and intense emotions such as how hard it is for immigrant families to try and make life better for themselves in different countries and how in different ways one family trying to keep with their community but also trying to assimilate into American society, whilst the other family have already been interested into American society but also at the same time have forgotten so much about their culture that when Serene Wow, this book is incredible. It moves you to tears, through laughter, the pain and intense emotions such as how hard it is for immigrant families to try and make life better for themselves in different countries and how in different ways one family trying to keep with their community but also trying to assimilate into American society, whilst the other family have already been interested into American society but also at the same time have forgotten so much about their culture that when Serene and Lian meet it at first seems like they are too different, one a capable student trying to impress his parents into doing what they want him to do be an engineer as it’s safe and pays well, but in his heart he yearns to be a comedian talking about being Asian in America. Serena has it all, a boyfriend, she is popular at school, has a loving relationship with her hard working fashion designer mum, but then the cards start to fall, her wonderful, strong mum gets a diagnosis that feels like the end of the world, the dreaded C word (cancer) and it’s stage 3…. She yearns to be a designer like her mum and yet with her mum ill and the investors in her mum’s fashion house getting cold feet she feels like everything could topple, but meeting Lian might bring these two together in ways that help both of them through their struggles and help them achieve their dreams. This is about love, fear, anger, trust and friendships as well as believing in yourself and allowing others to help share your burden. A wonderful book that everyone should read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    Thank you to Harper audio for the complementary audiobook. Private Label is a YA novel about a Chinese- American teen girl dealing with her moms cancer diagnosis. I found this book to be sad yet hopeful. Reading about cancer is never easy, even more so when kids are involved. This book also touches on how difficult it is for immigrants to adjust. I thought that was really well done. I really liked most of the characters. I had issues with the parents of the male MC Liam. I do understand the diffe Thank you to Harper audio for the complementary audiobook. Private Label is a YA novel about a Chinese- American teen girl dealing with her moms cancer diagnosis. I found this book to be sad yet hopeful. Reading about cancer is never easy, even more so when kids are involved. This book also touches on how difficult it is for immigrants to adjust. I thought that was really well done. I really liked most of the characters. I had issues with the parents of the male MC Liam. I do understand the difference in cultures though it was still frustrating to read. Overall I really enjoyed this one. The audiobook was fantastic, I really loved the narrator!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kalyn OByrne

    I really enjoyed this book! I was able to get an advanced copy by going on the BBBC retreat which was awesome! I enjoyed both main characters and thought the book had a great mix of fun mixed in with serious issues. This book was a strong 4.5 for me!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Haley Sparks

    This was so sweet. Such a good mix of important and serious and fun—the winning formula for any YA. Lian’s sections were admittedly my favorite. Not only was he hilarious, but is there a more wholesome book boyfriend alive? I think not. PSA don’t skip the author’s note at the end (like I’m sometimes guilty of!) It adds a personal perspective to the story that really moved me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J. Dominique

    Honestly, I’m getting tired of the overbearing Asian parent trope, however accurate it may be. The most interesting part was Serene’s fashion business, but there’s not enough of that in it. Instead, we see her mostly putting up with annoying friends and having an unbelievable romance. The writing is also still very MG; about the only thing that makes this teen is its sexual content and a few curse words.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle✨

    How did I not know about this earlier?? Kelly Yang is auto-read/buy!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diana-christie Biancardi

    I couldn't relate to anybody lol. I loved the cover, that's it. I'm tired of the 'SAT/ACT scores trope' in Asian American books. Parachutes was way better...I gave it 5 stars! I couldn't relate to anybody lol. I loved the cover, that's it. I'm tired of the 'SAT/ACT scores trope' in Asian American books. Parachutes was way better...I gave it 5 stars!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Comparing this to Parachutes, I definitely connected far less to the story and characters. Well-written and important story, however.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Enakshi J.

    Teenage love stories are not always intriguing because most of them are predictable. Somehow, Private Label, in spite of being quite predictable, kept me hooked till the very end. I give the credit to its taut narrative and fast-paced flow of the story. Private Label is about Serene who aspires to start a fashion brand of her own. Luckily for her, she has a chance to learn from her mother who already has enough experience in the same field. But like they say when you already have something, you Teenage love stories are not always intriguing because most of them are predictable. Somehow, Private Label, in spite of being quite predictable, kept me hooked till the very end. I give the credit to its taut narrative and fast-paced flow of the story. Private Label is about Serene who aspires to start a fashion brand of her own. Luckily for her, she has a chance to learn from her mother who already has enough experience in the same field. But like they say when you already have something, you value it less, Serene, too, eagerly waits for the doorway of opportunity to begin her very own business in the near future. Things go out of hand when her mother’s illness takes a toll on Serene’s mental, emotional and psychological well-being. On one hand, she battles between the choice of leaving behind her past and coming to grips with the present. As she ventures into the dangerous territories that have secrets about her father and his own reasons for staying out of touch, she gets sucked into the limbo even more. Enters Lian Chen in her life. He is a recluse, for he is not able to get along with the people of the town. Serene and Lian become good acquaintances and then decide to take their relationship even further only to discover that the road is loaded with heartache and unprecedented outcomes. Teenage love stories are not always intriguing because most of them are predictable. Somehow, Private Label, in spite of being quite predictable, kept me hooked till the very end. I give the credit to its taut narrative and fast-paced flow of the story. Private Label is about Serene who aspires to start a fashion brand of her own. Luckily for her, she has a chance to learn from her mother who already has enough experience in the same field. But like they say when you already have something, you value it less, Serene, too, eagerly waits for the doorway of opportunity to begin her very own business in the near future. Things go out of hand when her mother’s illness takes a toll on Serene’s mental, emotional and psychological well-being. On one hand, she battles between the choice of leaving behind her past and coming to grips with the present. As she ventures into the dangerous territories that have secrets about her father and his own reasons for staying out of touch, she gets sucked into the limbo even more. Enters Lian Chen in her life. He is a recluse, for he is not able to get along with the people of the town. Serene and Lian become good acquaintances and then decide to take their relationship even further only to discover that the road is loaded with heartache and unprecedented outcomes. Read the complete review here: https://www.aliveshadow.com/category-...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    3.5 stars I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. Private Label is Kelly Yang’s second YA novel, and her most romance-leaning work to date. As such, I had high hopes for this one, which it mostly delivered, with Yang exploring the complexities of the Chinese-American parent/child dynamics from the perspectives of two people who find comfort in each other. Serene has a close relationship with her single mother, and her mothe 3.5 stars I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. Private Label is Kelly Yang’s second YA novel, and her most romance-leaning work to date. As such, I had high hopes for this one, which it mostly delivered, with Yang exploring the complexities of the Chinese-American parent/child dynamics from the perspectives of two people who find comfort in each other. Serene has a close relationship with her single mother, and her mother’s cancer diagnosis really shakes her, with Serene having to take over her mom’s fashion business. In the process, she does carve out a niche for herself, and it’s nice to have a generally positive relationship, to contrast with the other parent/child relationship in the book. Lian, meanwhile, has recently moved from China to California, and his parents have really intense expectations for his future, which don’t fit what he wants to do, which is to become a standup comedian. His mother is pretty intense, and she doesn’t seem to grasp that while Serene may be playing a role in helping him come out of his shell, Lian is his own person making his own decisions, rather than a hormonal teen under the influence of a girl. This book is super subplot-heavy, and at times, I did wonder at the relevance of some of them. Serene’s quest to find her father felt extraneous, coming up, then being forgotten about when convenient. The circumstances of the parents’ relationship is a big reveal that pertains to the plot and Serene and her mother’s larger circumstances, but I don’t know if it truly felt like an earned reveal. I also have really mixed feelings about Serene’s relationship with her toxic boyfriend, Cameron. At a few points, it seemed like he was strung along in the background for the sake of drama, particularly this one plot point that occurs quite late in the book where things have finally come to a head, and he decides to get revenge. While I do have some issues, this is a pretty solid book from Kelly Yang. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys multicultural YA contemporaries.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sam Bortle

    “It makes me feel guilty that I’m falling in love while my mom’s chugging liquid dinner. But maybe Lian’s right. Cancer doesn’t hold all the cards.” Bestselling author Kelly Yang makes her first foray into contemporary YA romance with PRIVATE LABEL, again proving why her voice is one to be reckoned with on both the MG and YA scenes. On the surface, PRIVATE LABEL is an earnest story of first love, but Yang’s skills shine through in the novel’s thoughtful, nuanced explorations of belonging, familia “It makes me feel guilty that I’m falling in love while my mom’s chugging liquid dinner. But maybe Lian’s right. Cancer doesn’t hold all the cards.” Bestselling author Kelly Yang makes her first foray into contemporary YA romance with PRIVATE LABEL, again proving why her voice is one to be reckoned with on both the MG and YA scenes. On the surface, PRIVATE LABEL is an earnest story of first love, but Yang’s skills shine through in the novel’s thoughtful, nuanced explorations of belonging, familial expectations, immigration, assimilation, and the weight of care-taking. Despite being the only Chinese-American students in their mostly white Southern California beach town, Serene Lee (née, Serene Li) and Lian Chen could not be further apart in the hierarchy of their high school. Serene is popular — the daughter of a self-made, successful fashion designer, with the right friends and the “golden boy” boyfriend. Lian is a nerd — his entire class calls him “Liam,” refusing to learn his name when he moved from China a year ago, and his closest friend is the kid who copies his homework every morning. Serene dreams of making a name for herself outside of her mom’s fashion empire, but for now she’ll settle for being the intern. But when her mom collapses on a business trip and receives a stunning diagnosis of stage 3 pancreatic cancer, Serene finds herself taking over the business and struggling to prove herself to ruthless investors. Meanwhile, Lian’s parents have their eyes set on his early admission to MIT. This means hours of studying, tutoring, and reaching for perfection on tests that Liam doesn’t care about. His dream of becoming a stand up comic is feeling more and more out of reach, until in a last-ditch effort he starts a “fake” Chinese Club after school… and Serene walks in. Told in alternating first-person narration, PRIVATE LABEL follows Serene and Lian as their lives spiral out of control and propel them toward each other on a crash-course neither could have predicted. PRIVATE LABEL is out TODAY, 5/31/22! Thank you to @katherinetegenbooks @harpercollins and @netgalley for the eARC. cw: racism, classism, parental abandonment, cancer, BRCA gene

  26. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    Faced with the utter upheaval of her world, Serene must support her mother during a terminal diagnosis and continue to steer and fight for the fashion design company her mother built. Serene faces racism, sexism and must fight against men who think they know better as they try to silence her and her mother. But Serene is smart and determined and won’t go down without a fight. Serene knows her future is in the world of fashion, just like her mother who built a fashion company from nothing. But lo Faced with the utter upheaval of her world, Serene must support her mother during a terminal diagnosis and continue to steer and fight for the fashion design company her mother built. Serene faces racism, sexism and must fight against men who think they know better as they try to silence her and her mother. But Serene is smart and determined and won’t go down without a fight. Serene knows her future is in the world of fashion, just like her mother who built a fashion company from nothing. But loans and investment partners are trying to force her mother out and when her mother is given a terminal diagnosis, it falls to Serene to fight for her mother, herself and their company. Serene and Lian are the only Asian students in their school and in a mostly white area. Serene has survived by conforming and changing herself to fit in. For Lian, he’d just like kids to pronounce his name properly. His parents are no better, trying to force him into a career he has no interest in while ignoring his love for comedy and performing. When Lian forms a Chinese Club at school, a diversion to get his parents off his a case and give him cover to explore stand up comedy, he doesn’t expect to get any members. Serene joins the club as she needs Lian’s help translating a note she has found from her father. She wants to reconnect with him and is horrified to learn that her mother has lied to her about their relationship and who her father is. Dealing with grief, the impending loss of her mother and men who want to control her every action, Serene finds a friend and support in Lian, as their relationship grows. Private Label is a story of strength and determination, standing up and speaking out against discrimination. A story of love and friendship. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda Liu

    This was my first Kelly Yang book I've read. I enjoyed the story overall. The targeted audience was for older young adult and I thought for this target audience, the story was perfect. I loved the dynamic between mother and daughter. Loved how Serene and her mom had such a strong bond since her mother was a single mom. The struggles of being a single mother and making it into the fashion world was so fun to read. When their world was turned upside down because of her mom being diagnosed with canc This was my first Kelly Yang book I've read. I enjoyed the story overall. The targeted audience was for older young adult and I thought for this target audience, the story was perfect. I loved the dynamic between mother and daughter. Loved how Serene and her mom had such a strong bond since her mother was a single mom. The struggles of being a single mother and making it into the fashion world was so fun to read. When their world was turned upside down because of her mom being diagnosed with cancer was well expressed. I also thought the dynamic of Serene trying to fit in with the "cool" kids was very representative of a lot of first generation immigrants trying to fit into affluent America. Being less ethnic and more "white" to fit in was a huge focal point of Serene's high school life. Lian, I loved his character. Loved how Kelly Yang introduced him and his family dynamic. I thought she painted a very accurate picture of what it is to grow up in an immigrant house hold, where all that mattered was when your achievement was one upping your mom's friends and family. What I didn't like about him was that he supposedly moved to the US the year prior from Beijing but understood all the American slang and idealism. To me, that seemed so unrealistic. I thought the friendship between Lian and Serene was so sweet and pure. I hated how their love story seemed so abrupt. The ending was sweet although a bit anticlimactic. I felt it was a little rushed when there was so much build up. Overall, sweet and fun read. Would recommend if you're looking for a sweet read. Thank you publisher and NetGalley for this ARC.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fon

    Private Label was underwhelming. The book is marketed as a YA romance, so I expected ✨ sparks ✨ to fly off the pages. Instead, the relationship between Serene and Lian was surface level. Throughout the entire book, I felt lukewarm about their relationship and found myself wondering why they were together in the first place. It felt like their relationship came out of nowhere. Ultimately, I was more interested in learning more about Serene's mother, Lily, (view spoiler)[who is diagnosed with canc Private Label was underwhelming. The book is marketed as a YA romance, so I expected ✨ sparks ✨ to fly off the pages. Instead, the relationship between Serene and Lian was surface level. Throughout the entire book, I felt lukewarm about their relationship and found myself wondering why they were together in the first place. It felt like their relationship came out of nowhere. Ultimately, I was more interested in learning more about Serene's mother, Lily, (view spoiler)[who is diagnosed with cancer. We learn that Lily founded her own label, Lily Lee, in America using the $250,000 "hush money" Serene's father gave her to get out of the picture. As context, Serene's father is married and his wife found out about his affair with Lily (hide spoiler)] . That's not all, we also learn that Lily's first angel investor, Julien Pierre *suggested* Lily to erase her Chinese identity for the sake of appealing to Americans. "It'd been his "suggestion" that Mom use Lee, just as it'd been his suggestion that Mom start getting highlights and honey-brown eye contacts. Lighten, lighten, lighten. It was all part of his rebranding of Mom — an all-American designer for all Americans — which started when I was twelve and never stopped." While I liked how the whitening and erasure of the Asian-American identity is highlighted in Private Label, I ended up struggling to finish the book. Private Label has a lot of potential (fashion design and stand-up comedy, need I say more?), but this was a miss for me. @movedbyprose's rating system ★★★★★: i love everything about this book ★★★★✩: notable with minor issues ★★★✩✩: mediocre but slightly enjoyable ★★✩✩✩: struggled to finish / forgettable ★✩✩✩✩: problematic Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. instagram | goodreads | storygraph

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Newton

    Private Label is a story about finding yourself and the courage to be who you truly are, without fitting yourself to someone else's expectations. This book is a very sweet romance, with some deeper issues explored as well. I would say this book is more character driven, rather than plot. There is still a lot happening, but not all of the sub-plots felt necessary to me. Serene's quest to find her father seemed a bit random, it came up and then was forgotten about when it was convenient. I think th Private Label is a story about finding yourself and the courage to be who you truly are, without fitting yourself to someone else's expectations. This book is a very sweet romance, with some deeper issues explored as well. I would say this book is more character driven, rather than plot. There is still a lot happening, but not all of the sub-plots felt necessary to me. Serene's quest to find her father seemed a bit random, it came up and then was forgotten about when it was convenient. I think the revenge Cameron got at the end was purely for shock factor, but as there was no real build up to it, it just felt unrealistic. I felt this book was well written, the pacing was good, but the emotional scenes lacked depth for me. There should have been moments where I cried, but I didn't. This book highlighted some of the struggles non-white people face in America. This was well explored in my opinion. Character wise, I liked Serene and how much she wanted to prove herself in her career. Lian however, had scenes where all he wanted to do was his stand up career and was willing to risk his relationship with his parents for it, then the next minute was willing to throw it all away for Serene. There was no consistency. The romance didn't seem to have much build-up. Serene didn't even know who Lian was then all of a sudden they were making out. I also thought Lian was borderline obsessed with Serene, all his waking thoughts were about her and how he could impress her. It was a bit much for me. Overall, it was a nice read and most of the romance was sweet and enjoyable. Thank you to Harper360YA for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    A powerful story about love, loss and family. 🪡 Serene has dreamed of following in her designer mother’s footsteps, even working for the company as an intern, but when her mother is diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer Serene finds herself making big decisions sooner than she thought. Similarly, Lian has recently moved to California from Beijing and is struggling to find his place at an almost all-white wealthy school. His dream of becoming a stand up comic wars with his parents’ dream of him A powerful story about love, loss and family. 🪡 Serene has dreamed of following in her designer mother’s footsteps, even working for the company as an intern, but when her mother is diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer Serene finds herself making big decisions sooner than she thought. Similarly, Lian has recently moved to California from Beijing and is struggling to find his place at an almost all-white wealthy school. His dream of becoming a stand up comic wars with his parents’ dream of him being an engineer. When Serene and Lian come together at Chinese Club, they challenge the social hierarchy of their campus and start to fall in love, despite the odds. 🪡 Oh, my heart. This YA book was the perfect combination of young love, heartache/loss and finding yourself. It’s what every good young adult book should be IMO. I haven’t really read a book for teens about the BRCA gene yet so it was very interesting to see it from a 17-year-old’s POV and know there are adults and teens getting these types of diagnoses everyday. It’s no secret Yang was born to write everything from picture books to MG & YA. I’ll read anything with her name attached. Also—she can write FUNNY! Lian was hilarious! Grab this novel May 31. CW: cancer, leaked nude photos from underage teen, racism, microaggressions

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