Most teens struggle to find a place in their family, with their friends, and in the world in general. Emily Wu is in the midst of this struggle.
When she is not at school, Emily is busy helping out at the family's Chinese restaurant. Her parents are strict about how she dresses and where she goes. She longs to have the freedom that many of her fellow teens take for granted.
Just as Emily meets Nick, a seriously cute new student at her school, she is told that she will be expected to call Alex, the son of one of her mother's old college friend. Emily has been volunteered by her mother to show Alex around and take him under her wing at school. Why can't they ask her to hang out with Nick instead?
Emily begins to lie in order to join her friends at parties and sleepovers. She invents stories so she can go on dates with Nick. The lies bother her, but she doesn't see any way around it; her parents are too strict. Can she keep her stories straight and continue this double life?
Expressing herself through her art allows Emily to escape the pressures from home to learn Chinese and be the perfect daughter. As she learns who the real Nick is, she also finds out more about Alex when they find themselves working on a common project, a mural at school. Who are her true friends, and are her family connections proving to be more important than fragile friendships?
SEEING EMILY is by Joyce Lee Wong. Readers are exposed to the Chinese culture as Emily adjusts to what life is like as a young Chinese American. Written in verse, Wong's narrative is descriptive and yet surprisingly direct.