I noticed Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman on the teen shelf at Barnes & Noble on one of my many browsing trips and was immediately drawn to the cover and the title. The book’s description also appealed to me; the main character, Erin, writes an anonymous advice column and doles out some bad advice to one of her best friends. Her best friend acts on Erin’s alter ego’s advice, causing all sorts of problems for everyone involved.
Once I started reading Miss Fortune Cookie and made it about 50 pages into the book, I felt a little cheated; the description doesn’t entirely match what the heart of this book is about. Miss Fortune Cookie actually tackles a few heavier themes, such as mother/daughter relationships, “first time” woes, kissing, and which college to choose from. Erin, the protagonist, and her best friends Linny and Mei attend a public school called Lowell, where all of the students have very serious higher education aspirations. Erin and Linny have planned on attending Berkeley together, while Mei wants to attend Stanford with her boyfriend Darren. Mei has been keeping Darren a secret for over the past year from her Chinese mother, who would never approve of Mei having a boyfriend because it would interfere with her studies.
Miss Fortune Cookie’s advice to Mei is to tell her mother the truth; when Mei comes clean with Ma, Mei feels she has no other choice but to elope with Darren. Erin, Linny, and a bunch of colorful new friends they meet along the way must try to reason with Mei and help her make a decision that will not ruin her future.
What I had wanted (and expected) from Miss Fortune Cookie was a humorous, fun read. Instead, I all too easily felt the anxiety and insecurity of these teenage girls as they made decisions that could affect the rest of their lives. There were few “laugh out loud” moments for me, though I immensely enjoyed any scene containing nine-year-old Lincoln. The romance between Erin and Weyland did not particularly move me, either, unfortunately. Erin seemed far too naive for Weyland, and their slight age difference and levels of life experience seemed more likely to drive them apart than to bring them together.
Miss Fortune Cookie may be more of a hit for teen girls who are going through the same things as the main characters in the story, such as choosing a college, introducing a significant other to parents who might disapprove, or falling in love for the first time.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Lauren Bjorkman. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.