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The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling

“Heart-wrenching… The novel provides an insightful look at the powerful role food plays in our emotional lives.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Gritty details lend depth to this viscerally powerful tale of a teen struggling to help her troubled family.”
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.

But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

A nourishing tale about the crevices of culture, mental wellness and family, and the surprising power of a good dumpling.

“A book with a huge heartbeat and so much love infused in every page.”
Alice Pung, award-winning author of Laurinda

Out Now


Winner Best Young Adult Novel, Indie Book Awards 2020 AU
Finalist Kirkus Prize, Young Readers 2021 US
Shortlisted Best Young Adult Literature, Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2020 AU
Shortlisted Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2020 AU
Shortlisted Book of the Year for Older Children, ABIA Awards 2020 AU

Other books by Wai

Freedom Swimmer


The Chook Chook Series