A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

A River of Stars

In a powerful debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman makes her way to California and stakes a claim to the American dream.Holed up with other moms-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory job and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she's carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, he's overjoyed becaus...

Details A River of Stars

TitleA River of Stars
Release DateAug 14th, 2018
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreFiction, Cultural, China, Contemporary, Literary Fiction

Reviews A River of Stars

  • Aura
    Vanessa Hua's first novel is wonderful. I enjoyed this novel about Scarlett Chen, a Chinese woman factory manager who is impregnated by her rich lover boss. He sends her away to Perfume Bay, a place in America where Chinese women are housed and where they can deliver their babies. The goal ofcourse is to have the baby in US soil with automatic American citizenship. Scarlett is really a very interesting complex character and I admire her pluck. Th...
  • Kirstin Chen
    A truly stellar debut novel about motherhood, immigration and the search for the American dream. I fell for Scarlett Chen from the very start—and would have happily followed her for another 100 pages!
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'Mama Fang held everyone’s wallets, passports, and their cash in the safe in her office, part of her pledge to take care of every detail. That meant Scarlett couldn’t pay for the fare and couldn’t leave the country. And if she asked Boss Yeung for a ticket, he’d refuse.'Scarlett Chen becomes pregnant by her lover and owner of the factory she works for, Boss Yeung. A self-made successful b...
  • Jane
    I loved this book for the incredible bravery and determination of its protagonist, Scarlett Chen. Pregnancy, motherhood, immigration, entrepreneurship... this book tackles so much and never stopped surprising me. An amazing, captivating read.
  • Chris(tine)
    I feel bad. I made it 2/3 through this book but just couldn't go any further. I enjoyed the characters and was interested in the story but it didn't seem to be progressing. It felt stagnant. I expected more from the narrative and interaction between the primary characters but it felt bogged down in so much superfluous language rather than moving the story forward at a quick enough pace to hold my attention. I wish I knew how the sorry ends but af...
  • Laura Hill
    Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an early review copy of A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua, which will publish August 14, 2018.  All thoughts are my own.Writing: 4 Plot: 4 Characters: 3.5Heavily pregnant, Scarlett and Daisy, meet at Perfume Bay — the exclusive maternity home in Los Angeles for Chinese women who want to have their “anchor” babies in the U.S. for automatic citizenship. Neither wants to be there — teen-age Daisy ha...
  • Andrea
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. SOLID 3.5. I really wish I could round up, but cannot. I expected more from this novel. At times I quite liked it, other times I thought it dragged. Though I didn't particularly like the somewhat pat ending [no spoiler alert necessary], I loved the epilogue!Setting: A "...debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman [Scarlett, 36] makes her ...
  • Angie
    At first, A RIVER OF STARS might grab you with its outward allure: A window into the the unseen world of Chinese maternity hotels, into the mind of a Chinese mistress hidden away in the United States by her much wealthier lover -- who also happens to be her boss, and into the rollicking adventure that the protagonist, Scarlett, takes us on when things do not go as planned. Read deeper and further, and the settings and milieus start to look more a...
  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    LOVED IT. Review to come.
  • Danielle
    A River of Stars right away draws you in with a description of, "…mountain ridges pinched like dumplings." talking about the main character's, Scarlett's, homeland. A River of Stars explores immigration, culture and what a mother's love and determination for her child. The book brings to light a side of immigration that many of us don't know about and the struggles that one who wants to come to America goes through. Through the words on the pag...
  • Ethel Rohan
    As a mother, immigrant (albeit a white, privileged one), and longtime San Francisco resident, much resonated in this high-stakes novel about protagonist, Scarlett Chen. Despite great odds, Scarlett is determined that she and her baby will not only survive, but triumph. A River of Stars offers a memorable story and important voice that are timely and telling.
  • Lillian Li
    I had a very hard time putting down Vanessa Hua's propulsive, funny, and knowing debut. I kept trying to put my finger on why. Was it the simultaneous strength and vulnerabilities of her characters? The savvy of independent Scarlett, the charismatic impudence of teenage Daisy, or the fragile obstinance of Boss Yeung? The intimately drawn madhouse that is San Francisco's Chinatown? All of the above, and also something that I don't believe many oth...
  • LibraryReads
    "A Chinese woman makes her way to America with her unborn daughter determined to make a life for them both. For readers who enjoy modern immigration stories like Behold the Dreamers and Little Fires Everywhere."Abby Johnson, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, New Albany, IN
  • Laura
    I heard (at ALA) about these places in the US, where wealthy Chinese could come and give birth so their children would have American citizenship. Perfume Bay is one of those places, but it's a little less than what the brochures promise. And Scarlett and Daisy are a little less than the usual "client", being unmarried (and poor - Scarlett - or young - Daisy). Their unlikely friendship after they manage to escape, the life they manage to eke out a...
  • Vina
    I enjoyed reading about the Chinese culture. The book provides some insight on what immigrants had to got through. The book focuses on motherhood, which any mother could related, however, I felt the book dragged here and there.
  • Pam
    Thank you NetGalley for this 3.5 star ARC. This immigrant story looks at many different perspectives rich, poor, etc. yet all at times feel less than who they are. I had a hard time getting into the book, but then it picked up but in fits and starts for me. At times I felt like the book was soon going to be a four star read and then it wasn’t. I did love how the various characters evolved and became a family of sorts. Overall a mixed bag for me...
  • Katherine
    A River of Stars is a bright debut brimming with hearty potential. Scarlett is an expectant mother living in Los Angeles with a community of women who all want American birth certificates for their future children. Sent by her paramour (and boss) from China, Scarlett is at once a plucky and resourceful tenant compared to the other women. In a house that is beginning to feel like a prison rather than a retreat, she takes a leap and escapes the wat...
  • R.O. Kwon
    Vanessa Hua’s A River of Stars is an epic, necessary tale about a pair of pregnant women on the lam from a maternity home. They flee to San Francisco's Chinatown, where they try to make a life for themselves and their expected babies. This is a moving, wildly entertaining, and compassionate debut.
  • Rachel (Life of a Female Bibliophile)
    See even more book reviews at: https://www.lifeofafemalebibliophile.comIn A River of Stars, the main character is a Chinese woman named Scarlett who is unwed and pregnant by her boss (Boss Yeung). She is whisked off to America to Perfume City in america to have her baby, but she soon finds out that the grass is not greener on the other side. Perfume City houses expectant mother and is owned by the money hungry Mama Fang. After escaping the home S...
  • Lynne Lambdin
    In China, People would have stampeded away from such lunacy, but American's loved a circus A River of Stars wasn't the type of book that commonly makes it to my to-be read pile. But this story was incredibly unique and different from what I usually consume. I needed a change and this was a well received change. However, it wasn't a story that I immediately took to. In fact, I would say that I had read about a third of the book before I decided th...
  • Jennifer
    This book had a lot of strengths. I thought the characters were vividly drawn and memorable (the father of Scarlett's baby in particular could have been a onenote character, but by the book's ending you really start to feel for him.) I also think it did a great job of exploring family relationships and what it mean to be tied to someone else (plus offering an intriguing peek into how lesbians are perceived in China.) It's hard not to root for bot...
  • Nancy
    What a wonderful first novel by Vanessa Hua! You're almost immediately captivated by the main character, Scarlett, a temporary resident of Perfume Bay, sort of a hotel for soon-to-be mothers from China who want to give birth in the US. It's a story of three strong (whether they know it or not) women determined to succeed in America: Scarlett, Daisy and Mama Fang. They know what their lives would be like in China and are determined to stay in the ...
  • Lindoula
    Disclaimer: I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.Lives up to all the hype on Goodreads. I don't know a better way to describe this than to say that it's utterly readable. I didn't know what to expect going in at all but I kind of feared from the first chapter that it would be an entire book describing the subtle and not-so-subtle power plays between the women in the pregnancy house. Luckily that turned out not to be ...
  • Sally Stieglitz
    A River of Stars by Vanessa HuaScarlett Chen is at a crossroads. She has been exiled by her powerful employer, Boss Yeung, from China to America, to wait out the birth of their son at an oppressive maternity home for wealthy Chinese pregnant women who want to ensure their babies’ American citizenship, a valuable commodity even to those who never intend to live in the United States. Scarlett knows her precarious status rests with Boss Yeung’s ...
  • Abby Johnson
    Coming in August! Scarlett Chen has traveled to America to give birth to her son at a retreat for pregnant women called Perfume Bay. Dozens of Chinese mothers gather there to give birth so that their children will automatically have US citizenship. But when Scarlett discovers that her son is actually a daughter, she knows that the baby's father, her married boss at the factory where she worked, will reject the girl and bring them back to China. S...
  • Jaimee
    I liked this book. I wanted to love it, but it fell short for me. Solid 3.5 stars.Weaving her way through pregnancy, childbirth, entrepreneurship, and immigration, Scarlett Chen finds herself navigating a world with which she is unfamiliar. Relying on intuition, sheer luck, and the kindness of acquaintances and strangers, she finds herself chasing the goal of freedom for her daughter, a freedom found in the security of an American passport. While...
  • K
    Due to current events, I think it's very important that we make an effort to keep seeing "others" as fellow human beings who have desires, hopes, and dreams no different from our own. This book does a good job of serving that purpose, packaged in nuanced characters and well-paced storytelling. Scarlett is a gem of a protagonist, Daisy the sympathetic figure that doesn't bemoan the loss of her privileged upbringing, and Boss Yeung a complex antihe...
  • Jennifer Fosket
    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was excited to read it. Vanessa Hua offers a unique, compelling story of immigration in this novel. The primary story line follows the pregnant Scarlett Chen as she arrives in California to have her baby at a maternity home run by Mama Fang. The maternity home is Mama Fang's latest scheme, providing a path to U.S. citizenship for the offspring of wealthy Chinese families. Things soon fall apart and Scar...