cover image Summer at Squee

Summer at Squee

Andrea Wang. Kokila, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-11131-4

Phoenny Fang looks forward to Squee—a Chinese heritage summer camp—every year. As senior campers, she and her friends—the Squad—plan to make the most of their final experience. But things go awry from the start when the Squad is broken up due to an influx of new, unenthused campers. Phee tries to be as welcoming as possible, but in attempting to befriend her group members, she finds herself butting heads with McKenna, who is irritated by Phee’s probing personal questions. This new group doesn’t take to martial arts, language lessons, and other Chinese cultural activities as easily as the Squad and, upon learning that they’re all adoptees, Phee and the rest of Squee’s senior campers shift their perspectives. Over the next two weeks, Phee experiences transformative moments and first crushes, and her love for her friends and community deepens. With light prose and even pacing, Wang (The Many Meanings of Meilan) relays themes of identity, belonging, and acceptance, deftly communicating the feelings of both the senior campers and Squee’s newest members without minimizing their plights. An author’s note speaking to Wang’s own experience at a camp like Squee as well as adoptee resources conclude. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)