ARC Review: LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI by Abigail Hing Wen

I recieved an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

Loveboat, Taipei.png
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Yes - book 1


loveboat taipei

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This is a contemporary romance… and I loved it? I picked this up and hardly put it down for two hours. I was gripped by Ever’s story and the rollercoaster of her time in Taipei at “Loveboat”.

It’s about love. Not only first loves and the mess of teenage relationships – platonic and sexual -, but also the complicated love we have with our parents who only want the best. However, most importantly of all, loving yourself and your dreams.

That’s the biggest thing I took away from the book, the journey Ever goes on with her love of dancing and embracing who she is.

The friendships are as well portrayed, complex and getting only more nuanced as I learnt more about the variety of characters. Ever and Sophie’s relationship is a perfect example. It was never plain sailing, but I loved that and I loved where they ended up.

The writing is phenomenal, transporting me to Taipei, a part of the world I’ve never been but I could picture it so clearly. From the busy markets to the serene mountains, the humidity clinging to skin and the typhoons rattling windows, and the taste of snake-blood sake (a vile, burning fire).

Not to mention discovering, from the author’s note, that this program is real.

I’m so glad there will be another book. 2021 is a long way away…

Read my reviews of other books by Abigail Hing Wen:

Loveboat, Taipei (this series):

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