cover image Three Keys

Three Keys

Kelly Yang. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-59138-5

Aspiring writer Mia Tang, 11, returns in this complex yet accessible middle grade novel, the sequel to Yang’s Front Desk. Newly named co-owners of the Calivista Motel in Anaheim, Calif., the Tangs are “on the good rollercoaster now,” having escaped the authoritarian rule of former owner Mr. Yao. But their financial security is not guaranteed, and burgeoning racist sentiments and hate crimes—involving the impending 1994 gubernatorial election and one candidate’s bill proposing to “kick undocumented children out of California schools”—only make matters worse. As Mia and her family and friends face numerous instances of discrimination, they must concurrently inhabit the liminal spaces of being immigrants of color in America, interrogating exactly what it means to believe in justice, fight for their dreams, and belong in a country that seems to resent them. Yang expertly presents resonant themes—including privilege, assimilation, and solidarity—in nuanced ways, providing an entrée into contemporary issues for even the most uninformed young readers. Engaging with a political climate that is similar to current times, Mia is the compassionate, action-driven heroine today’s readers deserve. An author’s note reveals Yang’s personal inspiration and extensive research. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Sept.) [/em]