The Fold Review

The Fold
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This book's premise is amazing, and it is the reason I picked it up from the masses. I'm always up for a good YA cultural tale. I'd never even heard of the fold surgery. Part of me has always been curious as to what Asians thought of their different looks (their eyes, in particular) in contrast with Americans. I imagined it would be something that either didn't bother them too much, or if it did, it was only a small bother. I never thought this Asian eyes issue was of this magnitude, with ample surgeries going left and right trying to "correct it". For raising awareness to this topic, this book deserves an A+.
I didn't love this novel. Why? Joyce wasn't that compelling a character. I'll be the first to say this was an important story to be told (read my paragraph above), but the overall execution didn't do a lot for me. More often than not, I was bored with Joyce's voice. The central issue in her life is this prospective plastic surgery, and while she's off obsessing about it, we've got so many more interesting characters making appearances but never interesting Joyce enough to explore their stories more. Examples:
Joyce's older, more beautiful sister, Helen, is the "perfect daughter". She's got a lot built up inside of her, which is blatantly obvious, but almost none of it is ever explored. Helen, despite always being pressured to do better every time, has an amazing, complex, and mature outlook. I would've read an entire book about her if given the chance.
Gina, the best friend. Here's a girl so sure of what she wants, but who has to work extra hard for it because of her family's financial problems. She works and has to keep her grades in tip-top shape at all times in order to get into college. Aside from all this, she's no more than a secondary character in the entire novel whose only purpose is to aide Joyce in the life-or-death situation that the surgery seems to be.
Gomo, the aunt who offered to pay for the plastic surgery. Far from perfect, but she's always got the best intentions at heart. During the brief point in the book where we're allowed to look into her past, we can see she's got so much compelling history, it's a wonder it didn't pop up more.
And those are only off the top of my head. It would've been easy to implement those characters' stories in with this novel's third-person narrative, but for some reason, all we get is Joyce. I wish she'd realized some time or another that the reason she's so insecure is because she spends interminable amounts of time overanalyzing her every facet. No plastic surgery is going to fix that. What she really needs is a hobby.
The ending was a little forced, but I liked it. I think she chose what she did for the right reasons and maybe it's a step in the right direction for her.
I am giving this three stars because I judged it as an important book, and for that purpose, it fell short. It's a highly readable novel, but it didn't stir me nearly enough as it should've or make as big a point as I was expecting. Maybe it's good for entertainment. I'm afraid I'll never know, because I started it expecting something groundbreaking, and those are irreversible expectations. But maybe.

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