Pacy Lin is excited about the upcoming Year of the Dog—according to her parents, it’s a year to “find yourself” and make friends. As one of the only Taiwanese-American kids in her school, Pacy sometimes feels like she doesn’t fit in, and the Year of the Dog seems like a good time to figure out who she really is.
Sure enough, she becomes fast friends with Melody Ling, a new girl in school who has so much in common with Pacy that they’re practically twins! Pacy is hoping that the Year of the Dog is a sign that she’s going to discover a new talent and decide what she wants to be when she grows up, and as the year goes by she and Melody compete in a science fair, perform in the school play, enter a Halloween costume contest, and more. But as the end of the year gets closer and closer, Pacy begins to wonder: will she find something that she’s good at before the Year of the Dog is over? Or will she be stuck without a special talent forever?
I read The Year of the Dog before Piranha T. and I started Rapunzel Reads, and we’ve been meaning to review it ever since! I loved it as second grader, and it was just as good when I re-read it recently—it’s one of those books that is impossible to grow out of, and while aimed for younger kids, older readers shouldn’t take that as a reason not to read it. There are some books which really capture what being a kid is like, and this is one of them. In an author’s note, Grace Lin, who based the story on her own childhood, says that when she was young her favorite books were about normal kids: “When I read those books, it was as if I was wrapped in a warm hug. I saw all the things that I loved and lived—my neighborhood, my friends, and my school. The only thing I didn’t see was me….I wrote [The Year of the Dog] because it was the book I wished I had had when I was growing up, a book that had someone like me in it.” Fun, believable, and engaging, I would highly recommend this book for ages eight and up. And if you enjoy it, I also loved both sequels: The Year of the Rat and Dumpling Days.