In Search of Rohan Chang

Young Adult - Coming of Age
572 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lincoln Lee received his Bachelor's degree in computer science from Queens College and his Doctorate in pharmacy from Long Island University. Born in New York, Lincoln often spent his days in the Bronx, exploring urban art during his misspent youth. As an Asian American, Lincoln advocates strongly for increased awareness of the Asian American community, whose diverse members have made countless significant contributions throughout America's history. From atomic science to labor rights, from inventing the USB to YouTube, Asian Americans have positively impacted America. Still, most have never made it into textbooks. When not writing or reading, working in the pharmaceutical industry, and drinking too much coffee, Lincoln enjoys exploring the outdoors in New Jersey with his dog, Licky, and spending time with family and friends.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

In Search of Rohan Chang is a work of fiction in the Christian sci-fi and fantasy, adventure, and cross-cultural writing subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience but can be enjoyed by adult readers and mature middle-grade readers too. Penned by author Lincoln Lee, this immersive and accomplished work follows an Asian-American teenager, the titular Rohan Chang, as a series of mysterious murders sends his world into disarray. Rohan begins to hear mysterious voices in his head, a serial killer stalks New York, and high school sweetheart drama rears its head at the most inopportune times in this incredibly magical and spiritual tale of self-discovery.

Author Lincoln Lee has penned an incredible work of young adult fiction that will quickly become a favorite read for so many young people and also adults that appreciate accomplished adventure works with plenty of depth and poignant themes. One of the major highlights of the work for me was the exploration of the immigrant experience and the clashing and melding of cultures that Rohan experiences as an Asian-American. This is penned in an emotive and natural way that makes the experience so accessible to readers and would be a fantastic talking point in any classroom or youth group. Beyond this, the mystery, suspense, and crime elements of the tale blend seamlessly into the magical realism and fantasy plotlines, giving an immersive and entertaining reading experience grounded in a core emotional concept. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend In Search of Rohan Chang to any reader anywhere, as it offers so much to so many different audiences.

Asher Syed

In Search of Rohan Chang by Lincoln Lee is a Christian fantasy novel that revolves around the titular character, a high school kid named Rohan Chang who discovers he's kind of a bigger deal than he or anyone else could have dreamed. Rohan is an Asian-American teen with a lot on his plate. At school, he is a bit of a nobody, an existence reinforced by the feelings of his crush Amayah gravitating toward more popular somebodies. Rohan also has to deal with the realities of family expectations and bigotry, set against a backdrop of New York City and its crime. Rohan's life changes when he begins to hear a voice that is matched by superpowers, which he wields to catapult his popularity profile at school and to manage issues at home. When a second voice begins to tempt Rohan with more sinister guidance, who Rohan really wants to be, when there isn't much holding him back between paths of good and evil, comes into play.

As an Asian man who grew up not seeing anyone who felt like they could be me in literature, I will always pick up a book where the protagonist is someone my children might be able to relate to. It's a mixed bag quality wise so when I started reading In Search of Rohan Chang by Lincoln Lee, my hope that engaging novels that represent Asian protags do exist was restored, big time. Despite all the action that weaves through Lee's storyline, and there is a lot to keep the pages turning, there is little doubt that this is a character-driven story with a character arc that is unmistakable. Rohan goes from relative invisibility to the guy everyone wants to hang out with, which is where a less skilled author would likely finish the journey. It's satisfying and easy even if it is clichéd. Instead, Lee goes further, incorporates time hops and a familiar theme of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other fighting for the soul of a boy, and melds them into a coming-of-age tale that is all things physical, emotional, and spiritual. The Christian elements hinge on the power of prayer and the strength of faith, but for me, the growth was cemented when the formerly introverted Rohan goes into a bar and embarks on a battle of wits with racist patrons and a condescending bartender with possible links to the mafia. It's a riot and overall this is a great piece of literature. Very highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

Lincoln Lee's theological fantasy In Search of Rohan Chang illuminates the quest of a young protagonist, Rohan Chang, as he navigates a complex but unextraordinary life. A high school student of Asian-American heritage, Rohan is beset by a multiplicity of challenges, from family demands to unrequited love for a classmate named Amayah that borders on obsession. In a New York minute, Rohan is imbued with a mystical voice that endows him with power beyond his wildest dreams. With his newfound abilities and confidence, his social status is elevated and he is ready to take the world and his family head-on...until the malevolent whisperings of a second voice cast a shadow over his decision-making process. As Rohan embarks on a journey of self-discovery, he must confront his inner demons and the external obstacles that assail him and New York City at large.

I once bought a battery-operated lightsaber from a dollar store and came home the next evening to find my daughter swirling it around, telling me if I needed her that she'd be out fighting crime. I suppose there is a little bit of the desire to be a superhero in all of us and In Search of Rohan Chang by Lincoln Lee gives us a dose of what it might look like. Lee presents a compelling coming-of-age narrative that poignantly captures the myriad of tribulations experienced by a contemporary teenager in America, amplified by the weight of a city with a serial killer on the loose and racism that is, unfortunately, a fact of life for people of color. I empathized with Rohan on the family front and have first-hand experience with the generational divide between the immigrant journey of parents and their American-born and bred children. I grew up with a bonafide Tiger Mom and, as a parent, now opted for the polar opposite: an ultra-soft and fluffy parenting philosophy. Rohan bucks the trend, gets the girl, saves a lot of people from terrible harm, and becomes a hero. Still, his salvation and balance come from meditation and the power of prayer, grounding a great story and a spectacularly written novel into a relatable tale.

Rosie Malezer

In Search of Rohan Chang is a coming-of-age tale by Lincoln Lee. Incorporating a multitude of genres, it tells the story of a boy from New York who goes from being a favorite target of bullies to a superhero overnight. As Rohan comes to terms with the new and unique powers within him, he also tries hard to live up to his parents' high expectations of him. He is also often compared to his brother who seems to do no wrong in their eyes. One day when trying to escape the police, Rohan teleports while running, coming upon a woman's dead body which had also been mutilated. Scared, he keeps the gruesome discovery a secret until it overwhelms him, and Rohan finally reveals what happened that night to two people - one, a stranger at school, and the other, his crush and best friend, Amayah. Between gang attacks, being bullied, finding a love of volunteering, helping those in need, and developing a new respect for his faith, Rohan (and Amayah) accidentally travel through time to right the wrongs done to others, changing history in their wake. Many lives are changed after two time jumps, creating a better tomorrow, but one thing is still desperately in need of remedying - the serial killer in New York has upped his kill count. Rohan is now able to see into the murderer's mind, which in turn makes him the new focus of the killer. If only Rohan can survive what is coming while keeping safe those he loves most in this world.

As this is the first book I have come across by Lincoln Lee, I was unsure what to expect as I began reading but quickly became quite captivated by this most unusual tale. What started as a story of an awkward teen living out a 'religious Back to the Future'-themed tale, suddenly transformed into a romance filled with action, social awkwardness, emotional growth, and more. I loved how Lee was able to meld such immense variety seamlessly, entwining each storyline with the next. The changes that each time jump carried forward to the future were remarkable. I loved how detailed and accurate each era was, and wish all books gave this amount of factual recall with books dealing in backward time travel. In Search of Rohan Chang introduces readers to a boy who is not sure of himself, of what is important, or how to reach his own goals during this incredible journey of self-discovery. I felt every thrill as Rohan defeated his bullies and his own demons while learning how to love others and accept himself by channeling his strengths. As complex as this book might seem, I can honestly say it is one of the most gripping, touching, humorous yet scary tales I have ever read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to readers aged 15 and over who like their heroes to reach outside the box.

Rabia Tanveer

In Search of Rohan Chang by Lincoln Lee follows the story of our titular hero Rohan Chang as he experiences upheavals and turbulent teenage years as a serial killer runs rampant across New York City. Of course, he should only focus on winning Amayah’s heart, but things are far more complicated than Rohan anticipated. As if battling anxiety wasn’t enough, Rohan starts to hear voices in his head. Add a sprinkle of powers, a dead body, and bullies, and we have the perfect young adult coming-of-age novel. Before he knows it, Rohan is fighting a losing battle with himself. One part of him wants power while the other shies away from it. Is Rohan going to find the answers to his questions? Or will the voices consume him?

In Search of Rohan Chang is set in the fast-paced environment of New York City and its five boroughs and features a richly descriptive narrative with well-drawn characters. An engaging plot and strong character development are the highlights of the story. The dialogues are fantastic. The descriptions of New York City as Rohan wandered through the different areas were transportive and made me feel I was beside him. Lincoln Lee crafted the narrative with perfection in mind, and he succeeded. He adds just the right amount of religion, family drama, and teenage angst to make us fall in love with Rohan. I was rooting for him until the end. I loved the world-building and the imagery created with well-chosen words. I have already recommended this novel to many friends and will continue until the libraries in my area have at least one copy.