Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation

by Sylvia Liu (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Perfect for fans of Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee, this thrilling, cinematic sci-fi novel follows Hana Hsu's mission to save herself--and her friends--from a dangerous plot to control their minds. Hana Hsu can't wait to be meshed. If she can beat out half her classmates at Start-Up, a tech school for the city's most talented twelve-year-olds, she'll be meshed to the multiweb through a neural implant like her mom and sister. But the competition is fierce, and when her passion for tinkering with bots gets her mixed up with dangerous junkyard rebels, she knows her future in the program is at risk. Even scarier, she starts to notice that something's not right at Start-Up--some of her friends are getting sick, and no matter what she does, her tech never seems to work right. With an ominous warning from her grandmother about being meshed, Hana begins to wonder if getting the implant early is really a good idea.

Desperate to figure out what's going on, Hana and her friends find themselves spying on one of the most powerful corporations in the country--and the answers about the mystery at Start-Up could be closer to home than Hana's willing to accept. Will she be able to save her friends--and herself-- from a conspiracy that threatens everything she knows?

Kirkus Reviews

This smart science-fiction thriller envisions a technologically advanced future America in which Chinese culture plays a prominent role and which is still grappling with concerns like climate change, classism, and monopolies. A suspenseful glimpse into a dystopian America dominated by technology.


Liu's plotting and characters shine as Hana and her friends unravel Start-Up's less than savory mysteries. A high-stakes tale.

Review quotes

"Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation is a refreshing, imaginative take on a cyberpunk future, filled with wickedly cool technology and unraveling intrigue!" -Xiran Jay Zhao, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Iron Widow and Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor

"Exciting and suspenseful! Sylvia Liu's twisty sci-fi debut will have readers rooting for Hana and turning pages until the satisfying end." -Tae Keller, Newbery Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of When You Trap a Tiger

"A spellbinding sci-fi adventure full of twists and turns, readers will be rooting for Hana Hsu from start to finish." -Katie Zhao, author of Last Gamer Standing, the Dragon Warrior series, and the Winnie Zeng series

"Sylvia Liu has crafted a wonderfully scrappy heroine to root for in Hana, paired with immersively charming world-building that could give Pixar a run for its money." -Andrea Tang, author of Rebelwing and Renegade Flight 

Sylvia Liu
Sylvia Liu grew up with books and daydreams in Caracas, Venezuela. Once an environmental attorney protecting the oceans, she now spins stories for children, inspired by high tech, ghost crabs, and strong girls. Sylvia lives in Virginia with her family and a very fluffy cat. Find Sylvia on Twitter @artsylliu.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
June 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV036000 - Juvenile Fiction | Science & Technology
JUV053000 - Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction
JUV011020 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - Asian American
Library of Congress categories

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