The Queens of New York

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Jun. 2023. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063237957.
Gr 9 Up–One summer, two continents, and three best friends make this novel a compelling story of resiliency, strength, and finding your people. Ariel, Jia and Everett are best friends. They all come from different Asian American homes, but that’s where the similarities end: Ariel is a prodigy student dealing with the grief of losing her sister who tragically died while traveling in South Korea; Jia works at her family’s dim sum restaurant in Queens, knowing she will one day inherit it—whether she wants to or not; and Everett is an accomplished actress with her mind set on Broadway. Although all three live in New York, Ariel and Everett are traveling for the summer, going to a prestigious STEM scholarship program in California and a theater program in Ohio, respectively. Only Jia is left behind with her parents’ mounting bills and the responsibilities of looking after her grandmother and young sister. As each girl deals with pressure from families, racism, poverty, grief, and even budding romance, they find ways to connect and keep each other supported through the distance. This book is a love letter to female friendship, and how girls can show up for one another in a very organic and meaningful way. The story has something for every reader.
VERDICT A good purchase for high school libraries, especially those in need of diverse main characters and voices.

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