On her way to school one day Genie gets involved in helping a new boy escape from the beating he is taking from a group of others. Imagine her surprise when that same boy, Quentin, shows up in her class and proceeds to tell the class that she is the one for him. Genie's mainly concerned with getting into an ivy league school and getting as far away from home as possible so she has no time for Quentin, particularly when he tells her he is the Monkey King from Chinese folklore. What's more, Quentin claims that Genie is the reincarnation of his favorite weapon and the two of them are reunited to defeat over 100 demons who have been released from Hell. Although his claim is crazy, it turns out to be true and Genie now has to rediscover her powers while balancing the rest of her life.
I've read some Asian folklore in my past and it always confused me but I guess I absorbed a bit more than I thought because things were coming back to me as I read this book. The author did a nice job explaining the Monkey King's history but I do wonder how it will go over with teens who have no background in his legend. I'm overall okay with the story but I'm not wowed by it by any means. There were times when I had to back up because I was sure I'd skipped some pages (even though I was reading on a Kindle...) because the story jumped to somewhere new but it felt like I was supposed to have some background information at that point. I appreciate the focus on a female protagonist but girl power aside, that doesn't mean you can ignore the male lead's development. He's the Monkey King, after all! He should've been wowing me throughout but other than his awesome jumping ability and his imaginary parents, I don't feel like he brought much to the table in terms of demon-fighting. My other issue is with Genie's best friend. I really liked her and felt some pain as she watched Genie walk out of her recital for (in her mind) no good reason. That's a pretty common thread in superhero stories but unlike others, the two of them never really worked it out. They had an indirect make up session where Yunie came to Genie's defense over Quentin's suspected cheating, but no actual conversation. Instead, Quentin told Genie she didn't really need to try to make up for the recital thing because her friend would forgive her.
That sounds like a lot of complaints, because it kinda is, but I still basically enjoyed myself while I was reading. I just wish it had blown me away.