A Booklist Editors’ Choice in fiction, 2002
Waylaid is the story of a Taiwanese/Chinese American boy struggling to grow up amidst the drudgery and sexual innuendo of his parents’ sleazy motel on the Jersey Shore. Conscripted into the family business, the protagonist spends his summer days and afterschool hours renting out rooms to johns and hookers, lonely old men, and families whose homes have been repossessed. He becomes obsessed with losing his virginity, a preoccupation whose very intensity reflects a society that delivers sex as a distraction from despair. In its blackly humorous exploration of immigrant dreams and working class realities, Waylaid is a switchblade in the gut to stories of overachievement and success that ignore the human cost.