When Helen Wan was still a law school student, she noticed a pattern in books marketed toward Asian-American women.
“It’s the same formula every time,” she wrote for the Washington Post in 1998. “Young Asian-American heroine confronts culture clash — unyielding Asian parents who won’t let her on the cheerleading squad, a flock of quaint-as-hell relatives, yadda, yadda. Throw in a budding interracial romance, stick a word like ‘moon,’ ‘jade’ or ‘dragon’ in the title, and voila! America’s new literary sensation. Give me a break. I could write an ‘ethnic’ novel in my sleep.”