Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

by Kelly Yang

RELEASE DATE: Feb. 28, 2023

A Chinese girl moves to America to be reunited with her family.

When she was 5, Lina’s parents and baby sister left her in Beijing with her grandmother. Now she arrives in Southern California as a 10-year-old stranger to her own family. And what of the American dream? Her scientist father toils (sans green card) for a villainous, bigoted organic farmer, while her mother, unemployed since the pandemic put the nail salon where she worked out of business, makes bath bombs to sell online. They live in a one-bedroom apartment whose back rent is due in six weeks. Why isn’t Lina in any of the pictures displayed in their home? School is worse. Bullied by mean girls for her English, she vows never to speak again. But with the help of her ELL teacher, the school librarian, and a new friend, Lina begins to find her confidence and her voice through reading. Yang covers a lot of ground, from immigrant experiences and socio-economic inequities to climate change and middle school angst. The plotline that really stands out, however, is when Lina discovers that books can comfort the struggling, link people together, and create changes both internal and external. This theme propels the action through the book’s satisfying climax when she must decide whether to use her voice to stop a book that she loves from being banned in her classroom.

Timely and pointed.

(Fiction. 8-12)

Ad Date: Feb. 28, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8833-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec 15, 2022

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