“I didn’t hide it.”

“No, I know exactly what going on. Go put on your jacket.”


“I show you something. We leave now.”


“What did I tell you to do?”

It was too late. There was no going back now. No changing her mind. Ma raised her brows at Thom, and Thom slumped up the stairs to get her jacket, even though it was 80 degrees outside and she was already wearing one.

Van Hoang, Girl Giant and the Monkey King

I don’t do these QUOTES until I’ve finished the book, but I’ve been loving this book so much I needed to share something about it.

This is exactly the kind of middle grade fantasy I want to write. Like, from the get go, I was IN this story. It’s humor balanced out with the delicate world building as Thom Ngo, a young Vietnamese girl who has tremendous strength (in our introductory scene she accidentally breaks a girl’s ribs when she kicks a soccer ball too hard), discovers there’s a world of myth and magic laying beneath her feet.

I read the above quote to my wife, who’s Filipino, and she chuckled. My wife’s mom always, always, ALWAYS asks/tells her she needs a jacket. I’m Mexican and I can recognize a lot of similarities in family dynamics in other Hispanic cultures. We’re closer than we think, is what I’m getting at.

We live in Phoenix. We almost NEVER need a jacket. Yet, still, she insists on asking.

Representation matters, but more importantly, good representation matters more. This book has me chuckling, has me gasping for air when Them encounters her bullies at school even though she could feasibly knock their blocks off, and makes me want to turn every page. She’s genuine, timid, and all sorts of authentic in her emotions. This is the first book I’ve read of Hoang, but she’s done a spectacular job and I can’t wait to read the second.

Should probably finish this one, though. Sorry if this seems a little cluttered as I’m gushing over it, but I had to tell someone. This seemed like the best place to share.

Pick it up if you can.

Thanks for reading,

Follow me:

Instagram: @robacosta

Twitter: @robacosta

Contact: robertmichaelacosta@gmail.com