Kayla’s Review of “Parachutes” by Kelly Yang
About Kayla’s Review of “Parachutes” on The Book Brontosaurus
“I’ll admit that I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started it. This book is hard-hitting but such a necessary story. I ended up having mixed feelings about it for a few reasons but overall it was a good story. Proceed with caution because this book might be triggering for some.” – Kayla
Author: Kelly Yang
Page Count: 496
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Content Warning: Sexual harassment, rape
“They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.
Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.
Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.
As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.”
Overall Rating and Review Blurb
Book Review for “Parachutes”
Readability: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
I read this book pretty quickly but there are some triggering events that occur and it made parts of it hard to get through. I can see this being a hard book to digest for some readers. The subject material is delicate at times but the overall message of the book is empowering. I’ll talk more about this later, but I had a hard time with this.
Plot: 3 out of 5 Tree Stars
Some pieces of the story were predictable, but some I didn’t see coming from a mile away. I was really torn with some of the events in the book because, as I mentioned earlier, this book does contain sexual assault. For a while, I didn’t know where the story was going. Ultimately, I gave the plot a 3 because there were vital parts of the story that didn’t occur until late into the book. I have trouble with novels where the story progression isn’t super clear.
Characters: 4 out of 5 Tree Stars
The characters in this book brought out a lot of emotion in me, and not all in a good way. I loved that the characters were diverse and that we got to see some of the same events from both Dani and Claire’s perspective. I have to say I did not like Claire for a good chunk of this book. It’s because she was really unaware of her privilege for a while.
There was a lot of character development by the end of the book though and I enjoyed watching everyone grow. I don’t agree with using the suffering of women, young women especially, as a plot device. However, I think Kelly Yang did a good job of making sure her characters existed outside of their trauma.
Wow Factor: 5 out of 5 Tree Stars
“Parachutes” was hard-hitting. I didn’t expect some of the events that occurred and generally that’s a good thing. This was a really emotional read and I gave it a 5 here because sometimes it’s okay for a book to make you feel something that isn’t warm and fuzzy. I think we’d all agree that it’s preferable but sometimes books are designed to make you think. That’s how I felt about “Parachutes”.
I was really thrown off by this book. It was recommended as an LGBT+ novel so my expectations were a little off when I picked it up. There was one supporting LGBT character but the main characters do NOT end up together, nor are they even remotely interested in each other. That’s something that turned me off to the story for a while, because my expectations were flawed. But that’s a me problem, not a problem with the book. After reflecting on “Parachutes”, I’m not upset though.
I think the individual stories told in this book are so important. What I mean is that there are different characters, all with different experiences, and each and every one of them is important. Part of why I have mixed feelings though is the fact that these stories are so necessary. I hate that. I hate that women have to hear stories like this to know that they are not alone. It’s not fair. I think that’s why it was hard, at first, for me to feel like I enjoyed this book. Many of the events held within its pages are things that shouldn’t have happened in the first place