An awesomely commercial narrative with a nuanced (and relatable) discussion of the pressure to succeed that many teenagers face, including the seemingly arbitrary series of gatekeepers they encounter along the way
THE GIRL WHO WAS IRON AND GOLD
by Christian Yee
Abrams, Fall 2017
Agent: Writers House
Sequel: THE GIRL WHO HAD TOO MANY HEADS
THE GIRL WHO WAS IRON AND GOLD is essentially a tale of fifteen-year-old Genie wrestling with her potential. On page one, the struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes her every waking thought, as it’s the only path she sees out of her sleepy suburb. On page two hundred, she’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of Heaven with her fists, but she can’t crash the celestial party because her sleepy suburb is in danger of being incinerated by a demon from Hell. It’s a bodacious transformation, and it’s nurtured—sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively—by Quentin, an enigmatic new transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie pretty much to the brink.
In this impressive debut, Christian Yee pulls from some fascinating and cool Chinese mythology to develop the story, and he distills it effortlessly, so it doesn’t feel like a novel based on an unknown cultural reference.
Christian Yee studied fiction and published comedy at Brown, and he’s written case studies for Google (he still works in tech in San Francisco). THE GIRL WHO WAS IRON AND GOLD will be followed by its sequel, THE GIRL WHO HAD TOO MANY HEADS.