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Book - 2018 | First edition
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"Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?"--Page [2] of cover
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Inc., 2018
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781338157796
Branch Call Number: J YANG,K
Characteristics: 286 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

A wonderfully crafted tale of living in and running a motel in Southern California. A great insider look at immigration and assimilation. --Peggy's pick

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JCLLizW Feb 03, 2020

This realistic fiction, based on the author's own childhood, is now one of my top children's novels. Yang does an excellent job of portraying immigrant experiences, poverty, and racism in a way that does not condescend to children.

Hillsboro_RobP Jan 30, 2020

Excellent middle-grade novel that brings both the exploitation of immigrant labor and direct racism to the front for a compelling page-turner. Some of the plot points that had me doubting actually turned out to be true events in the author's life!
Although everything is painted in very broad strokes (the heavy-handed racism is intense) and the solutions a bit on the easy side (Although I love Mia, she's definitely a hero's hero), I really appreciated the angle that even though many immigrants are victims of racism, they can still hold very damaging racist views themselves. I don't think I've read another middle grade novel that addressed this.

Yang's personal story is similar to Mia's, and well worth reading in itself. Happy to see this as a 2020-2021 OBOB!

Nov 11, 2019

FABULOUS!!! Great storytelling, with tension that kept ratcheting upward. This will be one I return to again and again as a model for how to do MG novels correctly. Wonderful read.

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 27, 2019

Heartfelt novel for ages 10-12 about a poor Chinese immigrant family trying to adjust to life in California. A surefire school read-aloud.

This is a well-written, personally-felt children’s novel that can allow you to see life through the eyes of someone else in very different circumstances from you.

Mia Tang is a 10-year old fifth grader in the 1990s. Her parents thought that moving to the United States from China would allow them to escape poverty because in the United States everyone is happy and “free”. They are reduced to working menial jobs and living in an old car, until they get the opportunity to manage a motel, where they can live for free. Since they can’t hire help, they exhaust themselves cleaning the rooms, doing the laundry, and working 16-hour days. Mia, being clever, takes on the job of working the front desk whenever she is not in school. She befriends the regular renters and frequent stayers and starts to create a family atmosphere. She also begins working on a grand plan to get them out of this unsettled life.

Aug 28, 2019

My daughter just finished this book. She turned ten last week and is at a 9th grade reading level. Her report was that she loved the book and the author's voice. She admitted that she would not have picked the book out on her own (I did) and was happily surprised by it.

Aug 15, 2019

My favourite book!
This is a fiction story, yet there are non-fiction events, such as loan sharks.
I love how Mia's family is so hard-working for money, and will never give up. This story is well-written and brings back a lot of memories for me from Chinese films. Mia is a very capable kid! I'm just sitting here writing reviews...
Jason is also a cool character. Mia and him were enemies who turned into...Friends?
I liked how they showed Mr. Yao at the end that they were great/capable enough to buy his motel! LOVE THIS BOOK!

Jul 08, 2019

I enjoyed this novel immensely. As a child of immigrants, I can relate to how much sacrifice and suffering families have to endure, particularly in the 80s and 90s. Some things actually hit really close to home. This books deals with tough topics, but in a way a kid can understand without speaking down on them. Thank you, for having diverse books. I wish I had this when I was a kid. #PACL2019

teal_librarian Jun 06, 2019

A great read! Mia is a strong, independent, creative, and determined young lady. The author shows you her fears and how she deals with obstacles at school, in her community, and at her 'work' at the hotel her parents run. She truly persists and while the book doesn't have exactly the happy ending you might be expecting, it's a very satisfying one. #PACL2019

May 23, 2019

This book is perfect from head to toe. This is a heart-warming story that teaches children (and is a wonderful refresher to adults) on immigration, the American Dream and how to fight racism. Audiobook for this one is top notch and the narrator does an amazing job evoking all the important emotion needed for this very intelligent and gentle story.

May 15, 2019

A smart, funny, and very moving story about Mia, a young girl helping her Chinese immigrant parents manage a hotel in early 90s California. I couldn't put this down - I sat down intending to read a couple of chapters and looked up 200 pages later.

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Mar 28, 2020

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Sep 29, 2019

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OPL_KrisC Nov 27, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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