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

  • Bkwmlee
    4.5 starsThose who live in Southern California may remember that several years ago, there was a huge boom in “birthing tourism” where pregnant women in China would pay a lofty sum for the “privilege” of traveling to the United States to give birth so that their babies would automatically get American citizenship. The most notorious of the “maternity centers” that made these types of arrangements for the women were all located in San G...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    4 refreshing stars to A River of Stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Happy Publication Day to A River of Stars, a wonderfully told story of the Chinese immigrant experience from the perspective of a new mother. A River of Stars focuses on Scarlett Chen, a factory worker who has an affair with the married owner, Boss Heung. Scarlett is pregnant, and doctors tell her that she and Boss Heung will be having a boy, which is everything to Boss. He has three daughte...
  • Angela M
    3.5 starsThere are a number of things that I liked about this book. It covers the tough and highly relevant, timely issue of immigration. We get a view of the inequities in Chinese society in its view of people and the awful conditions in the factories and the difficulties of immigrants once they arrive in the US. I mostly liked it for the character of Scarlett Chen, who is determined to do what it takes to give her American born child the opport...
  • Theresa Alan
    Scarlett Chen is thirty-six-years old when she has an affair with her married boss at the factory she works at. He sends her to America to a house for pregnant women where they’re told the only things they can eat and do. He does this to give what he thinks will be his first son all the advantages America offers. Scarlett realizes that he’ll take the baby away from her, so she goes on the run to protect her child. Even though she hadn’t pla...
  • Melki
    At Perfume Bay, the mothers were treated like children, so that their children would obtain the most precious gift of all: American citizenship.Scarlett has been sent to California by her much-older, married lover to deliver their child, his only son, on American soil. She's stuck in a home with some other expectant mothers, guarded by an unpleasant harridan named Mama Fang. When Scarlett's sonogram reveals a big surprise, she and a pregnant teen...
  • Thomas
    A slow, moving story about two pregnant women, Scarlett and Daisy, who escape a dangerous situation and flee to San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown. There, they raise and nurture their children while carving out their own piece of the American dream. Behind the scenes, the father of Scarlett’s child, Boss Yeung, wants to find Scarlett so he can reclaim their child and maintain his legacy. I liked this book a lot for its portrayal of the immigr...
  • Jennifer
    “Here in America, she might change the world—but she had to hurry before someone else did.” Scarlett Chen's married lover requests she travel from China to America to give birth to their son. The benefit of having American citizenship in the family is priceless. Of course, Scarlett will have to give the highly desired baby boy to him and his wife thereafter. In return, she will have freedom and a generous amount of money for her sacrifice...
  • 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...
  • Jaime
    A moving novel that focuses on Scarlet, as she’s pregnant and trying to find her way and stake a claim to the American Dream for herself and her unborn child. Vanessa Hua’s was enthralling, and moving. It’s a story that timely and filled with vivacious characters while on their journey trying to create a new home. Highly recommend for those readers who love stories about immigration, identity and character driven stories.
  • Jamise // Spines & Vines
    2.5 stars I so wanted to like this book especially after reading the inside cover flap. The story sounded interesting and thrilling. The opening chapters were intriguing but the more I ventured into the story, the more it fell flat. I kept hoping to eventually care about the characters and was desperately seeking some type of epic climax in the story. It never came. I felt like I was on a never ending Ferris Wheel....going in circles, going nowhe...
  • 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...
  • Kate Olson
    PHENOMENAL! I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it - WHY DID I WAIT? The ferocious power of a mother’s desire to provide a better life for her child combined with the struggles of immigration to America, fascinating details about Chinese culture and female friendships, all set in the teeming neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown - I can barely describe this one except to say that it exceeded all of my expectations. Hopeful aga...
  • 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...
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    LOVED IT. Review to come.
  • Fareya
    A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua analyzes the many challenges faced to find one's identity as an immigrant, the struggles of new motherhood and the complicated relationship that is female friendship. It is a tale of hope and survival with quite a bit of drama, and some tidbits on Chinese culture. Although it gets a bit slow following the halfway mark and at times lacks consistency, I would still recommend you give it a try if literary fiction with...
  • Mel
    As I meandered through this book I knew I wouldn't love it but I stuck with it and was glad I did. If you like slow reads, and especially if you enjoyed the likes of Pachinko, then this one should be on your TBR. Though I also finished Pachinko with some pretty lukewarm feelings, Vanessa Hua's debut novel is much more condensed and that better served the slow-moving story. There is actually quite a bit of action but it is spread out and separated...
  • Kathryn
    Ms. Hua writes a creative, funny and yet serious story on the topic of treatment of women in China.Two women unite forces when they realize that they are not going to be allowed to raise their babies. Ms. Hua is a gifted writer, invoking emotions in the reader about the injustice done to the main characters while at the same time giving us insights about the motivations of those who impact their lives. She has a fresh voice and though the subject...
  • Sarah
    I'm honestly struggling to think of anything positive to say about this one...I think the premise had great potential, but that's about it. I just had one too many issues with this one to rate it higher than one star:- the characters are totally impossible to relate to. I don't mind dislikable characters in novels, but these were flat and void of personality. I couldn't give you more than a sentence description of any of the characters, even afte...
  • Elaine
    Here's what I liked about A River of Stars: ** Here come some spoiler-y bits ** 1. The premise; a pregnant, unwed mother named Scarlet is sent to the USA by her lover so her child will have American citizenship. When she discovers the gender of her baby is not what her lover desires, she seeks to escape the regimented home she has been sent to and make her own way, with the unlikely help of an American Chinese teen, Daisy.Scarlet realizes that in...
  • 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.
  • Tamara
    River of Stars is timely, interesting, and generally well-written. The book tells the story of Scarlett, a Chinese middle manager who goes to California to have her baby, to ensure he has US citizenship. Scarlett is sent to California by Boss Yeung, her married boss who she has been having an affair with. Boss Yeung wants to provide the best future for his unborn son, his first male heir.River of Stars follows Scarlett on an adventure through her...
  • Bonnye Reed
    GNa Vanessa Hua brings us a wonderful novel that sings. As a young teenager Scarlett Chen works her way from the small, northern Chinese village she was born in through jobs requiring increasingly more knowledge, better language skills and more sophistication as she works her way south. In her early thirties she works her way into a job as a deputy manager in Shenzhen, and also finds love with Boss Yeung, her married CO. Her first trip outside Ch...
  • Jaymee
    EDIT: Bumping this down to 3 stars because I just watched the film "Finding Mr. Right" (2013) on Netflix. It was uncannily similar.
  • Book Concierge
    Hua’s first novel looks at the immigrant experience from a slightly different angle: wealthy Chinese who pay a high fee to ensure their pregnant partners will stay in a secure location until they give birth to babies who will automatically have the always-coveted native-born U.S. citizenship. The story focuses on Scarlett Chen, the mistress or Boss Yeung. Boss already has three daughters with his wife, but ultrasound has shown that Scarlet is c...
  • Debbie
    My Takeaway"Here in America, she might change the world -- but she had to hurry before someone else did."Vanessa Hua, A River of StarsBefore reading A River of Stars, I had no idea birthing centers or "maternity hotels" (as they're known) existed right here in the United States. If you are asking yourself what the heck is a maternity hotel, let me explain. Basically, maternity hotels house Chinese women who want to give birth in America at a cost...
  • 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...