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July/August 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“A stunning, nuanced book about grief, family, race, and standing up for what’s right. I love how Ho lets May say the wrong things and make mistakes on her way to understanding antiracist activism. Thoughtful and complex, this is a must-read!”
— Ann Branson, Beach Books, Seaside, OR
Maybelline Chen isn't the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can't come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May's beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.
In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much pressure on him. May's father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It's up to May to take back the narrative.
Joanna Ho masterfully explores timely themes of mental health, racism, and classism.