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Mae Coyiuto Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Chloe and the Kaishao Boys (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Year We Became Invincible (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mae Coyiuto is a Chinese-Filipino author of young adult books. She pursued her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Pomona College and obtained a Master’s Degree focused on Writing for Young Adults/Children from The New School. When not immersed in her writing, Mae is an enthusiastic fan of Beyoncé, tennis, and “Gilmore Girls,” often expressing her admiration for all these passions. She resides in Manila.

Mae Coyiuto’s literary entrance, ‘Chloe and the Kaishao Boys,’ intricately weaves the tale of Chloe Liang’s transition into adulthood, in a culturally rich Chinese-Filipino community in the Philippines. This novel transcends the conventional bounds of young adult fiction by embedding Chloe’s coming-of-age story within her heritage’s vibrant traditions and modern challenges.

In the Philippines, the transition to adulthood for girls is often marked by a grand debut celebration on their eighteenth birthday, featuring eighteen male friends or relatives as ‘roses’ and eighteen female peers as ‘candles.’ Chloe’s story, however, is not just about organizing a grand debut; it’s a profound exploration of identity, familial obligations, and personal dreams.

Navigating the complexities of a bicultural identity, Chloe lives with her father in Manila while her Filipino American mother resides in the US. Despite the longstanding presence of their Chinese family in the Philippines, Chloe and her generation enjoy a certain ease and freedom unknown to their ancestors. Her true calling lies in animation, a path she eagerly anticipates pursuing at the University of Southern California—a dream momentarily threatened when her father expresses reservations about her moving to the US and leaving the family business behind.

The immediate dilemma Chloe faces is her debut. Eschewing the elaborate customs of eighteen candles and roses, she yearns for a simpler celebration. However, her father and Aunt Queenie have grander visions involving the tradition of kaishao—essentially matchmaking—to find suitable young men to serve as her ‘roses.’ This aspect of the story introduces a fascinating layer of cultural tradition and family expectations, setting the stage for Chloe’s journey toward asserting her independence and shaping her destiny.

Chloe’s three kaishao boys include Jappy, the brother of her best friend Cia; Miles, a celebrated basketball star; and Raph, a Chinese teenager navigating the complexities of dating outside his culture due to his parents’ strict expectations. Chloe humorously categorizes Raph’s family as a ‘Great Wall family’—those with stringent requirements for dating within the Chinese community—contrasting them with the more lenient ‘Great Fence families,’ who might be persuaded to accept non-Chinese partners.

As Chloe grapples with her emerging feelings for Miles and Jappy, she finds herself at a crossroads, torn between the allure of newfound romance and the looming decision about her future in animation at the University of Southern California. The sudden importance of her debut and the kaishao boys complicates what was once a straightforward dream, further tangled by her deep-seated concerns about leaving her father alone in Manila after her mother’s departure to the US years earlier.

The debut party, adorned with a lemon theme inspired by Chloe’s favorite Beyoncé album, offers a momentary respite from her dilemmas, filled with dance routines and joy that lighten the atmosphere. ‘Chloe and the Kaishao Boys’ transcends the typical YA rom-com formula by embedding Chloe’s story within a rich cultural context, exploring themes of identity, belonging, and intergenerational conflict with humor and heart.

Beyond the lightheartedness and romantic entanglements, Coyiuto delves into more profound issues, such as racism and the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ characters striving for acceptance. These elements add depth to the narrative, showcasing the characters’ growth and efforts to challenge outdated beliefs.
Ultimately, ‘Chloe and the Kaishao Boys’ is a delightful exploration of self-discovery, love, and the courage to follow one’s heart. Coyiuto’s storytelling weaves together a tale that is as much about navigating the complexities of cultural identity and family expectations as it is about the universal experiences of growing up and finding one’s place in the world. It’s a testament to the power of listening to oneself and the journey of learning how to love in the process.

First published in 2018, The Year We Became Invincible introduces us to Camille Li, a diligent senior high school student who embarks on a unique and reflective journey by deciding to write letters to her future partner. Her intention is heartfelt; she desires a deep connection, wishing for her future soulmate to understand the essence of who she is beyond the surface. Through these letters, which serve as windows to her soul, readers gain intimate access to Camille’s aspirations, dreams, and the meticulously planned path she envisions for her life. As an exemplary student, Camille has her life mapped out with precision—pursuing a medical career like her father, marrying a man of esteem, and nurturing a family of three children.

However, with its unpredictable nature, life introduces Camille to four individuals who swiftly become her close companions. These new friendships propel her into a whirlwind of adventures, challenging her to reconsider her preconceived notions about the future. The experiences shared with her newfound friends illuminate the beauty of living in the moment, a stark contrast to the rigid timeline she had laid for herself.

Camille’s narrative beautifully illustrates how the influence of genuine friendships can shift one’s perspective, encouraging a leap from the safe confines of planned futures to the exhilarating embrace of the present.

Camille’s transformation is a testament to the power of open-mindedness and the impact of unexpected relationships. As she ventures beyond her comfort zone, she discovers a sense of invincibility not in the certainty of the future but in the richness and spontaneity of the present.

Camille’s story is a compelling reminder that while it’s prudent to have goals and aspirations, life’s true essence often lies in the unplanned moments that bring joy, growth, and a deeper understanding of oneself. Through her letters and the adventures they indirectly lead her to, Camille learns that the path to fulfillment is sometimes found in the detour’s life offers, shaping her into a more adaptable and open-hearted individual ready to embrace whatever the future holds.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mae Coyiuto

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