Book Review

Complete Review: Fiona and Jane By Jean Chen Ho

At the University of Southern California, Jean Chen Ho is a Dornsife Fellow in fiction and a doctoral candidate in creative writing and literature. Her writing has appeared in The Georgia Review, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, Guernica, The Rumpus, Apogee, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and other publications. She holds an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She now resides in Los Angeles, after being born in Taiwan and growing up in Southern California.

Fiona and Jane and an untitled book written by Jean will both be published by Viking. The Vermont Studio Center, MacDowell Colony, and the Mastheads have all given her residencies. She is working on an archive project about gender and racial violence in 19th-century Los Angeles Chinatown as a W.M. Keck and George & Arlene Cheng Research Fellow at the Huntington Library for the academic year 2019–20.

Fiona and Jane Chen Ho’s Book

Fiona and Jane span nations and selves and is a bracingly honest portrayal of two Asian women who dare to lay a claim on joy in a changing, modern America. It also delves deeply into the universal perplexities of being young and alive.

Book Details

Released Date: JAN 4, 2022
ISBN-13: 9780593296042
Publication date: 01/04/2022
Sales rank: 20,620
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Pages: 288

Fiona And Jane Story’s Review 

Fiona and Jane, or Jane and Fiona, are close friends who are constantly in each other's lives, sometimes from a distance and other times in person. The two Taiwanese American young ladies navigate the challenges of their lives from childhood to early adulthood, navigating complex familial situations and bearing the burden of secrets both withheld from them and secrets they keep from others. 

Both of them spend their formative years in southern California—Fiona after moving there from Taiwan—in families where a father is perpetually absent in one manner or another. The ladies never completely leave one other's emotional sphere even as they embark on distinct educational, professional, financial, and sexual paths during their adolescence and early adulthood.

The realities of girlhood lived in league with someone who "gets" you are recounted in a series of short stories given from alternating perspectives by Fiona and Jane (for the most part). Moments of insight and knowledge pepper the characters' coming-of-age story, such as discovering you compete with your best friend, your mother knows (and knew), and you are not the only one with secrets. 

A stylistic choice that occasionally interferes causes some realizations to be clearly stated while leaving others for the reader to figure out. The stories have a universality because of Ho's deft depictions of childhood bewilderment, teenage sorrow, and adult melancholy, which is not diminished by her equally deft analyses of the racial and sexual challenges affecting Fiona and Jane.

The exquisite and anxious story "Go Slow" echoes throughout the entire work, with the tragic précis "Korean Boys I've Loved" setting a particularly resonant tone for the patriarchal perils facing the girls as they spread their high school wings.

The need for a Fiona or Jane in one's own life will be felt by readers.


Fiona and Jane: a fictional duo?

"Fiona and Jane," by Jean Chen Ho, is the tale of a true friendship. As the girls-turned-women navigate the ups and downs of life, their friendship has endured for a very long time and rings, at times, horribly true.

Do you have a childhood friend that served as the model for Fiona and Jane's enduring friendship? Question from author

Instead of one particular connection, the many different sorts of close relationships I've had with intelligent, humorous, and engaging women throughout my life served as the inspiration for this collection of stories. While none of the specifics of Fiona and Jane are derived directly from our lives, I do have a group of best friends that I've known since my wild adolescence. Many of the emotions I've tried to elicit in these stories come from a place of admiration for those priceless connections.

What genre falls under Fiona and Jane?

In the book industry, the terms "literary fiction," "mainstream fiction," "non-genre fiction," and "serious fiction" are used to describe popular novels that do not cleanly fall into a recognized genre.


Fiona and Jane is a popular book by Jean Chen Ho. This book contains a story about two women that give other women inspiration about how to face challenges while being alone. Remember, you are never alone. You have a lack of faith in yourself. Keep believing in yourself, and you can face every challenge easily. 

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