cover image Parachutes


Kelly Yang. HarperCollins/Tegen, $18.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-294108-4

In her YA debut, Yang (Front Desk) draws from personal experience and the news to tell a contemporary story of class discrepancy, the pervasiveness of rape culture, and the Asian diaspora. Claire Wang, a high school junior living in Shanghai, is used to a life of luxury, while Filipina American Dani De La Cruz, a debate champ and Yale hopeful who is on a full scholarship at California’s American Preparatory, is living a completely different life, cleaning homes to help make ends meet. After receiving a bad grade, Claire is appalled when her parents transfer her to an American high school: Dani’s. American Prep is a magnet for parachutes, or “kids from China who come to the U.S. on our own,” often scions of wealthy families. When Dani’s mom rents out their spare room to an international student, the girls’ lives become twined, even as they chafe at the other’s socioeconomic misunderstandings. But when each girl experiences a traumatic incident, they learn about the devastating convergences of power, money, and male privilege. Despite occasionally flat side characters, this is a multifaceted read, by turns poignant, fun, and exultant in its celebration of the multitudinous experiences and strength inherent in diasporic identity. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (May) [/em]