To me one of the most important things about this book is that it's from a small press, GemmaMedia. From their about page, "Gemma features cultural memoir from around the world, Irish fiction and fine journalism, the Open Door adult literacy series and current affairs publishing with diversity at the heart of the story." Dragon Chica is a pretty great book. It's not a memoir, but it reads like one. It tells the story of a Cambodian-Chinese refugee coming of age in Nebraska. She, her mother, her older sister Sourdi, younger twin sisters and younger brother move there to help their aunt and uncle run a Chinese restaurant.
For a coming-of-age story, there's surprisingly little about school, though there are a few tidbits from their early days in Dallas ESL classes and the siblings' other fights and triumphs with their fellow students. Most of the story is about how Nea relates to her family, especially her mother. Although I thought the book was really well-written and engaging, I'm afraid I don't have much analysis. I guess that will have to wait for my book club discussion with Celia. I do look forward to reading other books by Chai and more books published by Gemma.
Cat report: There are no cats to speak of in this book, a real failing.