cover image Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies

Stacey Lee. Disney/Riordan, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-36807-480-3

In contemporary San Francisco, 12-year-old Winston Chu seeks to remember his translator father, who died in a friendly fire incident while serving in Iraq. On the night before that event’s third anniversary, Winston makes a shoofly pie in cooking class to honor him. But when the dropped pie startles two purported burglars outside of Mr. Pang’s Whimsies—a local store that Winston’s never before seen—the shop’s mysterious owner invites him to choose one item for his own. Accidentally ending up with a disappointing old broom and dustpan, Winston is further dismayed to experience a string of mishaps, and learns that according to Chinese custom, broom-inhabiting spirits may cast bad luck when the object is improperly used. When multiple dear items, then loved ones, begin disappearing, Winston and his friends must unravel the mystery of the shop, the spirits, and the broom’s seemingly targeted effect on Winston’s life. Contemplating grief’s lingering nature, Lee (Luck of the Titanic) plots a quickly paced, Chinese folklore–inspired story narrated by a sincere protagonist bolstered by loyal family and friends. Characters cue as racially diverse. Ages 8–12. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Feb.)