Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Arthur A. Levine Books , 2018, 304 pages
Mia Tang may seem to have it together from an outsider’s perspective, but this young girl was constantly under fire growing up and living in a motel. A product of immigrant parents, Mia is forced to grow up quickly working the front desk of the Calivista Motel as her parents clean rooms and handle the wrath of a iron fisted owner. The front desk eventually becomes a place of other struggling immigrants to stay a night without paying and keeping it hush, hush to the evil owner Mr. Yao.
Mia battles challenges of being a newcomer to the United States with a mother who doesn’t believe in her English ability; rather, she is insecure about her own abilities and pushes Mia away from her passion to focus more on math. Mia displays a stubborn grit that allows her to get herself into trouble for all the right reasons. As she befriends the regulars, she finds herself in some small trouble.
Mia takes on the institutional racism and stereotypes of Mr. Yao all while gaining courage to persevere through it all. A youthful child, Mia is an inspiration for middle level students (ages 10-12) who carry a heavy burden on her heart daily. As fate seemed not on her side, Mia surrounded herself with the regulars that became like extended family members. Together, they battle many challenges and Mia develops into a fine young lady.
Recommend: Yes, purchase this title for upper elementary or lower middle.