Disclosure: I haven't read LIKE MANDARIN. Yet. But I will. Because based on this Goodreads blurb, I can relate a little. Who didn't have someone who they would have given anything to be like in High School? And it looks like an amazing book. So in the spirit of raising some awareness for a debut author's debut book, here's my post on who I would have given anything to be like when I was a teenager. My Mandarin.
They sat together in every class. Perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect teeth. Exchanging perfect smiles with their perfect boyfriends. Making plans to go to each other's perfect houses in their perfect neighborhoods on the East side of town, up in the hills, wide boulevards lined with quaint little shops and grand trees. Far away from my neighborhood on the other side of town.
They played fine instruments: piano, violin. Nothing like the uncultured, raw sound of my second-hand guitar. My wild curls were always getting caught in things, but they never had a wisp out of place. My mouth watered at the sight of their rich lunches, wraps and sodas and candy bars, white bread and American cheese. My cheese wasn't American; it was just plain cheddar.
I stole pieces of their lives: the name of a movie, a band, a store, a brand, stowed away on scraps of paper and in the recesses of my mind for future reference. Waiting for the day to come when I would get my invitation to the party.
My invitation came in an acceptance letter, two years earlier than usual. And just like that, I was the Mandarin, and they were just plain cheddar.