The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee was super fun

Title: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
Author: F.C. Yee
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mythology
Publication: August 8th 2017
Pages: 352 pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Abrams & Chronicle for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5/5 cupcakes

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid who becomes Genie’s guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries.  This epic debut draws from Chinese mythology, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded Bay Area life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.
I have heard incredible things about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, and when I first heard about it, my interest was piqued. It sounded similar to Percy Jackson but with Chinese mythology instead of Greek mythology. Although The Epic Crush of Genie Lo wasn't quite what I was expecting, I did enjoy reading it. 

I think the first characteristic of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo that stood out to me was its readability. This book is engaging and sucks you in. I thought I'd read a couple of pages, and before I knew it, I was almost 100 pages into it. The fast-paced nature of the text and the writer's humorous voice lends The Epic Crush of Genie Lo with an intriguing, absorbing quality.

Another thing that I really liked about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is the humour. If you've read Rick Riordan's books, a big reason for readers enjoying them so much are due to the humour he uses. The same holds true for this book. I found myself giggling on several different occasions. It's a funny book. I loved the scathing dialogue and the genuine reactions of surprise from Genie to what was happening to her. She wasn't always unflappable which made for quite hilarious situations.

I also like Genie as a character. She's motivated, intelligent, and a hard-worker. She also has a scathing tongue and a hot temper which made her a realistic character that you couldn't help but to root for. She's also not a stereotypical YA heroine; she's tall and described as not being utterly gorgeous unlike a lot of YA characters. She was flawed and genuine.

I liked the writing style. The author has an engaging narrative voice that makes The Epic Crush of Genie Lo a compelling read. The writing is natural, humorous, and has a steady rhythm to it - there's no staccato, awkward sentences here! 

Although I found this book very entertaining, there were a couple of things that prevented me from loving this book as much as I was hoping to.

One of those things is Quentin and the other characters. Although Genie Lo had a lot of personality and razor-sharp wit, I struggled with the other characters. Quentin, for example, is an ancient incarnation of the Monkey King and the love interest. He would say things that were drastically out of place and then things that fit into the 21st century, but I didn't feel like the change in what he understood about 21st century culture flowed smoothly. He also seemed quite one-dimensional and I just couldn't warm to his character like I was hoping to.

Another thing is that the stakes never felt that high. There were these demons that kept appearing, but Genie and Quentin fought them very easily. It didn't feel like there was ever that much of a struggle

I also didn't feel the romantic relationship whatsoever. If Quentin and Genie were friends, I think it would've worked much better. There just didn't seem to be romantic chemistry between them; it felt quite forced. Their chemistry as friends would've worked much better and I feel like the inclusion of that prevented me from LOVING this book as much as I was hoping to.

Lastly, sometimes the text seemed quite info-dumpy. There were quite a few moments where the mythology was unloaded all at once which slightly pulled me away from the story line. 

Overall The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was a fun urban fantasy with Chinese mythology elements. With a sarcastic, relatable character, humour, and an engaging writing style, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a novel that will be enjoyed by many who love humour, a fast-paced story, and fantasy with mythological elements.

I give it: 3.5/5 cupcakes

  • Mild blasphemy and swear words
  • Spiritual content: Chinese mythology. Mentions of Heaven and Hell. God doesn't exist in this tale but the Jade Emperor does. Brief mentions of Buddha and reincarnation.