Maizy Chen's Last Chance
(Newbery Honor Award Winner)
NEWBERY HONOR AWARD WINNER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • ASIAN/PACIFIC AMERICAN AWARD FOR YOUTH LITERATURE
Twelve year-old Maizy discovers her family’s Chinese restaurant is full of secrets in this irresistible novel that celebrates food, fortune, and family.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY School Library Journal • Booklist • The Horn Book • New York Public Library
Welcome to the Golden Palace!
Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota . . . until now. Her mom’s plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance and at the Golden Palace—the restaurant that’s been in her family for generations—she makes some discoveries.For instance:
You can tell a LOT about someone by the way they order food. People can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in disappointing ways.And the Golden Palace has secrets...
But the more Maizy discovers, the more questions she has. Like, why are her mom and her grandmother always fighting? Who are the people in the photographs on the office wall? And when she discovers that a beloved family treasure has gone missing—and someone has left a racist note—Maizy decides it’s time to find the answers.
In this fast-paced narrative, Chinese American only child Maizy Chen travels with her food stylist single mother from Los Angeles to her mom's hometown of Last Chance, Minn., to care for Maizy's ailing grandfather. As the 11-year-old gets to know her estranged grandparents mischievous poker player Opa and stern but loving Oma, proud restaurant owners she must navigate unfamiliar stressors both familial and social, including the tension between her mother and Oma, and microaggressions as the only child of color in town. Over the course of an unpredictable summer, Maizy learns how to play poker, how her ancestors helped to support paper sons, and how to insert custom messages into the restaurant's fortune cookies, all while solving a mystery or two. Interspersed segments reveal Maizy's great-great-grandfather's journey to Last Chance, efficiently conveying historical struggles faced by Chinese emigrants to America. If the book feels overstuffed at times, Yee's (The Kidney Hypothetical) full house of endearing characters and assured voice prevail in a humorous, sincere story emphasizing the taut thread between past and present, and the imperative to aid others. Back matter includes an author's note with historical context, a recipe for Oma's Cream Cheese Wontons, and resources. Ages 8 12.