888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers

Abraham Chang has worked in publishing for years, so it's no shock that 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers, his debut novel, displays a confidence more common among established authors. The only question at this point is just how many people will fall in love with Young Wang and his search for perfection--in numbers and in life.

Set in the mid-to-late '90s, this book is a quiet riot of pop-culture references, full of song titles and movie moments, AOL and pager code. Young is a film nerd who regularly dreams of revered directors offering advice, and his love for his New York City home is enriched by his Chinese heritage. The structure and pacing bounce between Young's second year at New York University and the flashback sections focused on his first five loves. Each cinematic segment gets every detail just right.

Besides the delightful barrage of '90s nerdery, the other thread that ties Chang's work together is Young's insistence on the importance of numbers, some good and others terrifying. Young's uncle Su Su believes "we only get seven great loves in life," so when he falls for Erena (his number six), he is forced to question his faith in the numbers. Could she be his 888 love--"The most magical of numbers.... The triple A, top grade, best of the best. Infinity upon infinity upon infinity"--or is number seven out there waiting for him?

Perfect for GenX readers or younger fans of such classics as Ready Player One, this coming-of-age story is thoroughly fresh while touching something universal, that tender reminder of the power of love. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

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