New from Here

S. & S. Audio. Mar. 2022. 803p. $19.99. ISBN 9781797136608.
Gr 4-7–Narrator Justin Chien elevates Yang’s latest, expertly distinguishing every member of the biracial Wei-Evans family. In January 2020, the United States is Covid-free, so Chinese American Mom and white American Dad reluctantly split the family, with Mom and three kids returning to their Oakland home while Dad and pup remain in Hong Kong for work. Middle child Knox narrates, revealing his growing anxiety about their overwhelmed parents, repeated bullying, oppressive racism, his new (Chinese American) best friend. Chien endows distinct personalities on rambunctiously earnest Knox, controlling older brother Bowen, adorably wise Lea. He’s impressively empathic as best friend Christopher trying to save his family’s Chinese restaurant. Even the ‘bad guys’ avoid becoming caricatures, from the racist dog owner to the opportunistic sanitizer-hoarding scammers.
VERDICT Listen while you can: a new Netflix series just grabbed Chien as Michelle Yeoh’s costar, surely curtailing Chien’s short-but-impressive audiobook career.

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