Finally Heard

S. & S. Audio. Feb. 2024. 727p. $17.99. ISBN 9781797168678.
Gr 4-6–Both opening and ending credits specifically mention “a note read by the author,” but that doesn’t seem to be included here. While Yang’s “Dear young readers” isn’t essential to the narrative, her reveal of the truth in her fiction is a sobering reminder of the dopamine-spiking dangers of social media. Versatile, youthful Lu thankfully returns as Yang’s voice-of-choice; aural continuity from Finally Seen is unnecessary and Heard easily stands alone. Lina Gao, recently reunited with her parents and sister, has settled into her American life thanks to family bonding and supportive friends. Puberty is hitting her hard, though, especially in sudden physical changes. Although she’s one of the few phoneless fifth graders, helping her mother create content for her struggling bath bomb business gets Lina connected. Inheriting Mom’s old device, however, gives her too much access for which she’s unprepared.
VERDICT Lu elevates Yang’s occasionally pedantic lessons on digital safety.

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