Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies by Stacey Lee

Before I get started with the review – the Cybils Award winners were announced today! And while I really like reading through as many of the finalists as I can, going for just the winners can be a lot less overwhelming.

I really enjoy Stacey Lee’s books, and I try to read all of Rick Riordan Presents books I can, so I couldn’t resist reading this one – just out this month!

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies
by Stacey Lee.
Read by Brian Kim McCormick

Rick Riordan Presents, 2023

Listened to the audiobook through Netgalley.

Ebook and audiobook available through Libby.

Winston Chu has just baked his father’s favorite shoofly pie in his cooking class, in honor of the anniversary of his death – “Dadiversary”.  He’s confident in his skateboarding skills, but somehow as he and his best friend, Mac, are heading home, he trips, flipping the pie onto a pair of truly scary-looking men.  As they also drive the men away from the store they’re outside, the owner of Mr. Pang’s Whimsies gives Winston an ancient broom and dustpan as a reward.  But when things start going missing at home – his soccer jersey, his older sister’s favorite stuffie – even his baby sister – Winston knows he needs to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.  

I had mixed feelings about this book.  I loved the mixture of humor, his family’s working through the pain of losing his father, and his four best friends from the soccer team, and the blend of Chinese mythology with modern-day San Francisco.  The narrator had a great basic voice for most of the story, but voiced a couple of Winston’s friends in voices that felt just too cartoony for me to really get behind.  Stacey Lee writes mostly teen books with strong romance plots, and this had a small romance plotline as well.  I was never quite sure why Winston likes the girl he does, but I liked that the relationship developed from pretty epic awkward adoration to a real friendship.  Despite all these positive elements, the story never quite came together enough for me to love it in a way I haven’t been quite able to put my finger on.  Still, if you’re a fan of the Rick Riordan type, especially the ones with higher silliness quotients like Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, this is an excellent choice. 

If you want more Stacey Lee books, I’ve reviewed Under a Painted Sky, Secret of a Heart Note, and Outrun the Moon.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
This entry was posted in Audiobook, Fantasy, Middle Grade and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies by Stacey Lee

  1. I’m a fan of Stacey Lee so I may check this one out even if this wasn’t your favorite. Thanks for the review. Natalie @ Literary Rambles

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