cover image Gigi Shin Is Not a Nerd (Gigi Shin #1)

Gigi Shin Is Not a Nerd (Gigi Shin #1)

Lyla Lee. Aladdin, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-66593-917-1

Korean American seventh grader Jiyoung “Gigi” Shin, who lives in Bluebonnet, Tex., has big dreams of following in her aunt’s footsteps to become a renowned artist—even if her working-class parents would prefer that she take her math and science assignments more seriously (“Art is just an elective, so make sure to focus on your other, more important classes first”). When she learns about the Starscape Young Artists’ Program—a prestigious but expensive art camp on the East Coast where her idol, Korean American graphic novelist Christiana Moon, will be an instructor—Gigi schemes to raise money for the application fee and tuition. With her best friends Carolina Garcia, a Latinx video game enthusiast; hijabi Zeina Hassan, an aspiring picture book author; and book-smart Taiwanese American Emma Chen, Gigi forms tutoring club Ace Squad. But even though the girls initially work well together, Gigi struggles to balance running a new club, keeping her grades up, and emergent friendship troubles with Carolina. Via emphatically depicted character interactions, Lee (the Mindy Kim series) skillfully handles topics surrounding cooperation, financial anxiety, first crushes, and pursuing one’s goals in this sweet and wholesome new series. Ages 8–12. Agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative Management. (Mar.)