Finally Seen (Finally Seen #1)

by Kelly Yang (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Finally Seen

From the New York Times bestselling author of Front Desk comes a gripping middle grade novel about a young girl who leaves China to live with her parents and sister, after five years apart, and learns about family, friendship, and the power of being finally seen.

My sister got to grow up with my parents. Me? I grew up with postcards from my parents.

When ten-year-old Lina Gao steps off the plane in Los Angeles, it's her first time in America and the first time seeing her parents and her little sister in five years! She's been waiting for this moment every day while she lived with her grandmother in Beijing, getting teased by kids at school who called her "left behind girl." Finally, her parents are ready for her to join their fabulous life in America! Except, it's not exactly like in the postcards:

1. School's a lot harder than she thought. When she mispronounces some words in English on the first day, she decides she simply won't talk. Ever again.

2. Her chatty little sister has no problem with English. And seems to do everything better than Lina, including knowing exactly the way to her parents' hearts.

3. They live in an apartment, not a house like in Mom's letters, and they owe a lot of back rent from the pandemic. And Mom's plan to pay it back sounds more like a hobby than a moneymaker.

As she reckons with her hurt, Lina tries to keep a lid on her feelings, both at home and at school. When her teacher starts facing challenges for her latest book selection, a book that deeply resonates with Lina, it will take all of Lina's courage and resilience to get over her fear in order to choose a future where she's finally seen.

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Starred Review
In this involving, realistic chapter book, a likable character overcomes a series of obstacles while forging strong connections with her parents, her sister, and two friends. Yang...writes with a beguiling combination of clarity, simplicity, and immediacy in a new story exploring the practical and emotional challenges of immigration as experienced by children. 

Publishers Weekly

Five years after her parents left her in Beijing with her maternal grandparents, Lina Gao eagerly awaits being reunited in America, where she'll be starting the fifth grade. Though she's sad to leave her beloved Lao Lao behind, she's enthusiastic about what she perceives as the American dream: endless Frappuccinos and saying "I love you" all the time without embarrassment. But American life isn't how her parents have described it in letters. The two-story house she's been told about is actually an apartment, its back rent looming ever since the pandemic closed the salon that employed her mother. To make ends meet, Lina's mom sells bath bombs online, while her father works long hours for an irritable, xenophobic farmer who engages in shady business practices. As Lina attempts to adapt, facing bullying at school, she finds solace in the form of an encouraging teacher, new friends, and the school library. And gradually, when a class book selection that resonates deeply with Lina is challenged, her growing confidence develops into a tool she can use to speak out. In a thematically wide-ranging, character-driven novel, Yang (Front Desk) highlights the importance of representation alongside one child's experience of navigating a complex reality. Ages 8-12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Feb.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes



Kelly Yang

Kelly Yang is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including Three Keys, Room to Dream, Key Player, and the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature winner Front Desk, which was also chosen as a Best Book of the Year by multiple publications, including NPR, The Washington Post, and the New York Public Library. Kelly's family immigrated to the United States from China when she was a young girl, and she grew up in California, in circumstances very similar to those of Mia Tang. After attending college at the age of 13, she graduated UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for children in Asia and the United States. Her writing has been published in South China Morning Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. To learn more about Kelly and the Front Desk series, visit frontdeskthebook.com.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781534488335
Lexile Measure
-
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
February 28, 2023
Series
Finally Seen
BISAC categories
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV074000 - Juvenile Fiction | Diversity & Multicultural
Library of Congress categories
-

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