cover image Bridge Across the Sky

Bridge Across the Sky

Freeman Ng. Atheneum, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-6659-4859-3

A teenage immigrant faces the ramifications of the Chinese Exclusion Act in this vivid verse novel inspired by the anonymous poems of Chinese detainees found at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco. Upon arrival in March 1924, a teen, along with his father and grandfather, is detained on Angel Island. The youth is armed only with personal details: “I am Lee Yip Jing,/ nephew of Thomas Lee,/ a San Francisco merchant/ with whom my father, his brother,/ is a partner.” His story, however, is a lie meant to fool American authorities while they investigate his account. His real name is Tai Go, and for months he endures poor living conditions. Still, he is strengthened by writings from previous immigrant detainees etched into the walls of his barracks. He also joins a resistance group led by charismatic Yen Yi, witnesses how elders wield the most power within the station, and spies on Boocher, a teenage Black kitchen worker suspected of being an American informant. Ng (Basho’s Haiku Journeys) examines the history of white imperialism and racism through lyrical and introspective verse, while conversational dialogue fosters intimacy and immediacy with contemporary readers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)