Front Desk

Author(s): Kelly Yang

Middle Fiction

"Four starred reviews!

* ""Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages."" -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?"

It's the 1990s and 10-year-old Mia Tang has moved from China to America with her parents for a better life. But the reality proves to be far from the dream. Managing a motel in California for an unscrupulous owner, Mr Yao, her parents spend all their time cleaning rooms and doing the laundry, so Mia appoints herself front desk manager when she's not having to attend school. Mr Yao is so mean that he bans them from using the pool and constantly finds ways to withhold wages, knowing that the Tangs have nowhere else to go.

Mia is a feisty character whose indomitable spirit rises to every difficult challenge. She loves her job looking after the guests, some of whom live permanently at the motel and are practically family. With added dramas, such as hiding immigrants in empty rooms, dealing with insurance scams and coping with racism and language barriers, motel life is never dull.

Inspired by the author's own experience of running a motel with her parents, Front Desk explores themes of discrimination, hardship and courage in this heartwarming novel for age 10+.

- Ruth


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Product Information

Kelly Yang is an American citizen living and working in Hong Kong. She went to University of California at Berkeley at age 13, graduated at 17, and completed Harvard Law by age 20. She's now a columnist for the South China Morning Post and has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and She is also the founder and director of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debate center in Asia. She's been on the BBC, CNN, Huffington Post, and more, to discuss education and learning. Her YouTube channel hosts an extraordinary global issues show for teens. Launched just in January, the episodes have been hitting upwards of 25,000 views each on Facebook.

General Fields

  • : 9781760650469
  • : Walker Books Australia Pty, Limited
  • : Walker Books Australia
  • : August 2018
  • : ---length:- '19.8'width:- '12.9'units:- Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Kelly Yang
  • : Paperback
  • : [Fic]