Eiyo Fadneiras,

Welcome back to Fadima Mooneira. After reading Elvroseth's Hikayat Allerednic, I did a Chinese New Year reading. And I picked House of Koi by Lilian Li. So now, I will share my review of the novel. Now let's begin this review with Lilian Li's bio...


Lilian Li and her latest novel, Duet Me Not (Image:

Lilian Li is a Malaysian novelist. She studied advertising at Boston University and went to an American international school during her teenage years. This Penang-born author is very proud of her heritage. She's very close to her grandmother. To Lillian, her grandmother was the person who helped her to continue speaking Mandarin and inspired her to write about her home and the struggles that come with living in two worlds. Lilian hopes to continue writing more Malaysian-inspired stories. Lilian also wants to inspire and share more diverse stories with her readers. If you're interested in Lilian Li's works, you can check out her  Instagram  @lilianofli and Facebook @lilianlibooks.


The story is set in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia and it follows a 14-year-old Chinese-Malaysian girl named Mila. Mila went to an American international school. She is not very familiar with her Chinese-Malaysian heritage. Mila is not fluent in Mandarin. And she's also not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia. However, it is not too late for Mila to return to her roots. That's what her family taught.

At the beginning of the story, Mila's parents went to Thailand for a year to work. So Mila is sent to Bukit Mertajam to live with her grandmother. Mila is not happy that she cannot avoid her native tongue. Yep, she has to learn Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia. To make matters worse, Mila must now attend a local private school and navigate a world she barely understands. This sudden change is a shock for Mila.

Mila's relatives keep telling her that she must not forget her heritage no matter how international she is. But this only makes Mila hide even deeper within herself. 

Later in the story, Mila meets a handsome local boy named Sean. They become good friends and teach one another what the other is best at. Sean helps Mila with Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia, while Mila helps Sean with English. 

Will Mila learn to love and appreciate her Chinese-Malaysian heritage? Will she open her heart to learn new things?


HOK has a very interesting premise. It's simple but unique and different compared to the novels I've read before. HOK also has a make-believe plot, storyline, and characters.

As a person who grew up in the US for five years, I can feel Mila's struggle. When my parents took me to the States, I was only eight months old. And when we returned to Malaysia, I was five. So like Mila, English was also my first language. When I first returned from the States, I had no knowledge of Bahasa Malaysia. So everything was a shock for me. But syukur alhamdulillah with the love of my parents, I learned a lot about my heritage, language, and culture. I'm now very proud of my heritage. Hehehe...just sharing some experience ^_^

I also believe that HOK is a reverse story of the author. Lilian Li mentioned in her bio that she once faced cultural shock when her parents moved her from a private local school to an American international school. Like Mila, she faced cultural shock when her parents moved her from an American international school to a private local school. Uhuhuhu...

Overall, HOK is an enjoyable slice-of-life and self-discovery novel to read. However, there are two things that I don't like in the story. Firstly, the pacing of this story is a little bit slow. It almost makes the story boring and less exciting. Secondly, I don't like that the author makes Mila and Sean jump into a relationship at the end of the story. I believe Mila and Sean are too young for a romantic relationship. They should remain as good friends.

Last but not least, I rate this novel 9/10. I highly recommend this novel to those who are into the slice-of-life and self-discovery genre. Like I said, this novel is an enjoyable read. So I'm sure you guys will like it too ^_^

Okay, so this is my review of Lilian Li's House Of Koi. Thank you for reading my review. I'll see you guys again in my next post.


Fadima Mooneira ^_^

(Authorpreneur, Content Creator, Blogger, and Illustrator)

PS: Has anyone read House of Koi by Lilian Li? If yes, what are your opinions of the story?

#HouseofKoi #LilianLi #SliceOfLife #CNY2024Reading #MalaysianAuthor #MalaysianNovel #NovelReview #BookReview #FadimaMooneiraLibrary #Edutainment #FadimaMooneiraDotCom




  1. This sounds like an interesting read! I'm quite familiar with cultural shock, even though I've only been moving around Europe. The biggest cultural shock I got when I moved back to Northern Europe: I left from there cause I never fit in, and going back was a nasty reminder of that. I'm intrigued by this book now, I'll have to see if I can find it here in Italy where I currently am.

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

    1. Yeah, moving places always gives cultural shock. But it is also a good experience. You can learn so many things.

  2. Someone else was just telling me about author Lilian Li and recommended her books. House of Koi sounds like a great coming of age story!

  3. I had no idea you grew up in the US until you wer 5! I can definitely see how you can relate to Mila, and it does sound like an interesting story even though it's a bit slow. Also, I love the cover of the book!

  4. This sounds like a decent read even if it is a bit slow (which can be quite frustrating). I would definitely give this novel a read as the cover itself really catches my eye (it's beautifully done).

    1. It still an enjoyable read even though the pacing is slow. This book still has its beauty.

  5. This sounds like an intriguing book, I do find books a little slow incredibly difficult to continue to read! x

    Lucy Mary

  6. Great review! This sounds like an interesting read!

  7. Thanks for sharing about this Malaysian novelist here, 1st time got to know her & nice to support local talent kan. Gonna check out this House of Koi for a read la. Cheers SiennyLovesDrawing

    1. Yep. I'm always rooting for fellow Malaysians, including you.

  8. I wanna read it with my girl later. interesting story based on Pulau Pinang.


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