The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling


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SHORT-LISTED: 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, Young Adult Fiction
FINALIST: 2021 Kirkus Prize, Young Readers

Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen. But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

This nourishing tale about the crevices of culture, mental wellness and family was the winner of the Indie Book Awards.

‘A book with a huge heartbeat and so much love infused in every page.’ Alice Pung, author of Laurinda

‘Deeply immersive storytelling, with sophistication and unfailing empathy. I adored this book.’ Leanne Hall, author of Iris and the Tiger

‘A heartwarming tale of family, food, and first love that will make you cry both happy and sad tears.’ Justine Labalestier, author of My Sister Rosa

‘Between the laughs and dumplings, Wai Chim’s readers are plunged into an unflinching look at the tough stuff, but how Anna does and doesn’t cope is what makes this compelling, heart-wrenching and heart-warming book so powerful.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘I’m a complete blubbering mess after reading The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, which moved me to tears upon finishing it. From the mental illness in the family, to caring for your siblings, and the Chinese-Australian experience growing up … I’ve never had a book that reflected my own experience so succinctly before. It’s a book that is heartwarming, meaningful and thoroughly important, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.’ Happy Indulgence

‘This novel is as lovely and it is brutal … The dynamics among the protagonist and her siblings feel incredibly authentic and the way they cope with their feelings – through resentment, disillusionment, anger, shame, but also an incredibly, sometimes devastatingly, strong sense of loyalty – are really heart-wrenching … A fantastic young adult read.’ The School Librarian (UK)

‘An honest, devastating, nuanced look at a family in crisis.’ Kirkus Reviews

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