Front Desk

Kelly Yang

Fiction, 2018 | 287 pages

two-hearts

Regular readers will know that once a year our local library system selects a book for a community read, and it is always delightful!  This year, they also selected a young adult community read, so I thought I would try it on for size.

Mia immigrated from China to Anaheim, California with her parents, just two years ago.  At 11, she is extremely precocious and smart, though not very street-wise in the ways of racism.   She and her parents run a hotel, under the direction of a mean-hearted employer.  Mia learns about the two roller coasters in our culture ... the one well-to-do people are on, and the parallel one that poor people are forced to. Mia wants to change her roller coaster!

While Front Desk does teach young adults about racism, judging, discrimination, self-confidence, assertiveness, love, and hate, I found it a bit too distant from reality.  Mia’s success at addressing some of the ways black, brown, and yellow people are treated in her diverse neighborhood is rather Pollyanna-ish.  For this reason, I find I do not choose to recommend this easy-to-read book.

May 2021

 

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