Front desk by Kelly Yang

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Walker Books Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781760650469
(Age: Young adult - Adult) Recommended. Front desk is inspired by Kelly Yang's personal experience immigrating from China to America, and her journey of running motels with her parents from when she was eight to twelve years old. Many of the events that transpire in Front desk actually happened in Yang's life. The story follows ten-year-old Mia Tang who after moving to America with her mother and father has to help out in running a motel, all while overcoming the issues of language barriers, discrimination, and finding courage and confidence to make a difference for herself and her family.
This was a well-written and easy to read novel that really focused on Mia's journey growing up, and facing and overcoming tough issues for a ten-year-old. And while Kelly Yang did not shy away from expressing the harsh truths of discrimination, she balanced it out with heartwarming moments that made the story flow smoothly. While the themes explored are heavy ones she addressed them in a way that made you really think about them. I myself sat down after reading this book wanting to know more about what it was like for immigrants coming to America from China in the 80's and 90's. Kelly also wrote about Mia's character in a way that made her attitude seem older than that of a ten-year-old, especially considering the issues she went through in this story. Lastly, I found that Kelly's use of metaphors throughout the story to be very clever as Mia seemed to use them as motivators throughout her journey.
I would recommend this to young adults and adults as the themes explored in this story are important but also not too heavy.
Kayla Raphael