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Front Desk

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  1,278 Ratings  ·  312 Reviews
Front Desk tells the story of 10-year-old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. ...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine
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Mariah It might depend on your population and your level of comfort with race relation issues. I am thinking its themes are a little too complex for many…moreIt might depend on your population and your level of comfort with race relation issues. I am thinking its themes are a little too complex for many second graders.(less)

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Fafa's Book Corner
Mini review:

GR Ultimate Summer Reading Challenge: Diversify Yourself.

Trigger warning: Racism, a break-in (wherein a character gets injured), and bullying.

I heard about Front Desk through Twitter. The cover caught my attention as did the synopsis. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed reading this!

I'm honestly so surprised Front Desk isn't more popular. This is such an important book especially for immigrant families. Front Desk takes place in 1990 following Mia and her family adjusting to life in Amer
Much deeper and complex than the playful cover indicates. A wonderful story about immigrants, poverty, and family.
Kate Olson
Thanks to @kidlitexchange for this review copy ~ all opinions are my own!

Hands-down one of my favorite middle grade titles of 2018, FRONT DESK is a spectacular and accessible glimpse into the life a 5th grade girl named Mia who lives in a motel that her parents manage. It is also a glimpse into the life of many Chinese immigrants in the US in the 1980s and early 1990s, as detailed in the author's note. The book draws heavily on the childhood experiences of the author, making the story even more
CW (Read Think Ponder)
Front Desk is a book that means a lot to me.
More importantly, I believe that Front Desk will be a book that will mean a lot to others - immigrants of all ages, children, adults, parents.

- The story is so full of heart. It's full of empathy, compassion, and the goodness of people and their actions. For this reason, I think Front Desk is an excellent book for children.
- The story, too, is full of tough lessons about the world. It addresses and explores how perspectives and prejudice can have si
Ms. Yingling
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by the publisher

It's the early 1990s, and Mia and her parents have moved to California from China in search of more freedom and opportunities. Unfortunately, they are not able to get the same sort of professional jobs they had in China, and work at a Chinese restaurant until Mia's help turns disastrous! They eventually find a hotel in Anaheim in need of managers, and are happy that they won't have to pay all of their salary for rent. The owner, Mr. Yao, promises them a certain rate
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
Wow. This book.

It tackles injustices for immigrants, and other communities, and I really admire the way Kelly Yang created that overlap and connection. The story is centered around Mia, a young girl working with her parents' at a motel near Disneyland who discovers that her writing has the power to fight injustice for herself and those around her that she cares about. A true and unflinching yet very hopeful, optimistic story sure to buoy and inspire kid readers.

"We're immigrants...Our lives ar
Jen Petro-Roy
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely spectacular. This is a must-read and such a vivid window into the life of new immigrants and those struggling with money. I love the voice in this one, and the supporting characters are so great.
Lou (BooksAreAWayOfLife)
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. I absolutely loved it. This book was everything that I was expecting it to be and more. I have a lot of books on my to be read pile of probably 400+ books, but within 24 hours of the book arriving in my house, I had read it. That is amazing for a reader like me. So Front Desk is a middle grade book that tackles so many important topics in such a good way. It deals with topics like racism, but not only to Asians, but to Black people as well. The story asks us to question the ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first heard about this middle grade debut many months ago, and FRONT DESK has remained on my radar since then thanks to incredible reviews and word of mouth, all of which are solidly earned by the novel. I was invested in Mia's story from page one. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to her and her Chinese immigrant family as they struggled to make ends meet as managers of a motel while the whole world seemed to be against them--except, ultimately, their own vibrant diverse community ...more
Jun 11, 2018 added it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Mia's family immigrated from China, and finding a job has been tough for her parents. But when the opportunity arises that allows them to live at a motel in exchange for their work (and a small salary on top of that), they take it. Mia is, of course, also recruited for covering shifts at the desk.

What follows is a story of Mia learning to fit into her new school, navigating new friendships and explanations for what her life is like, dealing with racism, and finding herself in the position to cha
Laura (bbliophile)
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-releases
I stayed up way too late to finish this book but I have no regrets because I loved it so, so much
Laura Gardner
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5/5 for FRONT DESK by @kellyyanghk; thanks to @scholasticbooks for the ARC to review...all opinions are my own. I'll be sharing this with @theloudlibrarylady and @kidlitexchange next!
Mia Tang is a recent immigrant to the United States from China in the 1980s. Her parents and she manage a motel; Mia works the front ten years old. Her parents hide immigrants who need a place to stay in extra rooms in the motel, but at great personal risk. Swipe for the back to see more...
Amanda Rawson Hill
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good and one that everyone should read. Kids and adults alike.
Jillian Heise
So full of heart and love. With messages of acceptance and perseverance and community, this is a story that is so needed today. This middle grade is a must-add to classroom and school libraries.
Laura Harrison
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disregard the cute but fluff cover art. This is a serious Newbery contender for 2019. Better yet, children will love it!
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the Kid Lit Exchange for sharing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

FRONT DESK is loosely based on author Kelly Yang’s life experience, as explained in an author’s note at the end of the book.

Her straightforward writing makes this book perfect for younger middle grade readers (Mia is 10). Yet Yang tackles difficult issues like interpersonal, systemic, and institutional racism. She writes so simply and honestly, it’s hard to imagine a young person walking away without u
Abby Johnson
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging story with a protagonist that kids will love to root for and also an important story about immigration experiences in this country told in a really kid-friendly way. Hand this to every tween you know.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my lord! This book was perhaps one of my favorites that I've read in a long time. Mia's story of being a Chinese immigrant and the struggle of getting your feet on the ground was so beautifully told.
Mia, Lupe, and the Weeklies captured my heart and I loved Mia's bravery and ability to use her words to help others.

I will for sure be sharing this book with as many students as I can!!

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic to review.
Afoma Umesi
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

I finished this cute book on Thursday night and I loved it! Mia Tang is a ten year old Chinese immigrant who lives in a motel with her parents. They run the motel for it’s crooked owner, Mr Yao. Mia runs the front desk and enjoys it.

The good: Mia is such a diligent, smart and kind girl. She has a big heart and is not afraid to do hard work. I enjoyed watching her gain confidence in her writing despite being repeatedly told to stick to math by mother. It was refreshing to read about her friendshi
Neha Thakkar
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
Thanks to the Anderson's Bookshop for sharing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This summed up a lot of immigrant experiences for me and I loved Mia’s voice, letters, “edits”, and the fact that she used a dictionary and thesaurus to improve her writing! I loved the writing and the story behind it (about wanting to share the author's experiences with her son). I already have some kids in mind who maybe feel like the “other” in the classroom but just don’t know there’s a Lupe jus
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-05
ALL the stars, and easily one of my very favorite books of the year!!!!

FRONT DESK is highly deserving of every positive review. It’s an eye opening book that will warm your heart one minute, and have you shaking your head in frustration the next. I can’t remember the last time I experienced so many emotions, and felt like I really comprehended what it can be like for an immigrant family in America. You definitely need to make time to read this book, and add it to your classroom libraries and d
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book about a strong girl who immigrated from China with her family to California. She faces racism and cruelty but powers through with kindness and her gift of writing.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A semi-autobiographical account of a bright young girl and her hard-working parents attempting to make a life for themselves in Southern California after leaving their home in China. Hindered to some degree by the language barrier and, more so by naivety, head-strong Mia Tang's parents eagerly sign the paperwork to become motel managers for the money-hungry owner. When the rules continually change, the family, so desperate to keep their job acquiesce every time. But Mia is determined not to give ...more
John Chew
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel by writer Kelly Yang is an engrossing, and highly readable novel about a young girl working and living through difficult situations will resonant with immigrants, and in particular immigrants to the United States from China. The story of a young, spunky, and intelligent protagonist winning the day through courage, and verve is timeless. What made this story emotionally compelling and real for me were the exchanges between Mia and her immigrant parents, and also her Mexican best ...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
For 10-year-old Mia Tang, migrating to the United States from China with her parents hasn't turned out exactly the way they had hoped it would. Living in their car and always being hungry wasn't what they had expected. And, even though her mother has a degree in engineering, in the U.S. she could only get a job as a waitress in a restaurant that hired her father as a fryer - until they were fired for Mia.

Now, they've landed a job as managers of the Calivista Motel, not far from Disneyland, and w
Christina Carter
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-excursion
I live in the City of Buffalo. The Queen City. Nestled in the Western region of New York State, with a sizeable immigrant and refugee population. We have people from many different countries. It's a city brimming with diversity and I love it! There's so much we can learn from one another if we are willing. Relationship is key. It amazes me that when we get the chance to know someone better, we find that there is room to celebrate those things that connect us as well as the things that make us un ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My one ask is that you not judge this title too deeply based on its cover. Based on the cover alone, I thought this book would be about a girl who plays secretary like the way toddlers play kitchen.

No, no, no. Mia might be in elementary school, but she helps run the front desk because her parents are too busy cleaning the rooms of the Calivista Motel. She has the burden of adult responsibilities and sensibilities, and she knows that food is scarce and items like new clothes or a new notebook are
Phil Jensen
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What we can learn from Kelly Yang

Kelly Yang possesses the dying art of plot structure. Right from the first chapter, she hooks the reader with an unfair situation. Inequality and betrayal are the two strongest hooks in narrative, and Yang works the former into nearly every chapter in the book.

Yang also gives her characters lots of meaningful things to do. The broad arc of the book is poverty and the escape from poverty. Every few chapters form a mini-arc around an obstacle relating to poverty or
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so fantastic! It's about hard work, family, friendship, being true to yourself and treating people with respect. It's also about immigration and life and struggles for children who find themselves in a new country. I cannot believe how much of the story is based in reality. I wish I had been reading this aloud to my almost 7 yr old.

We didn't get this one in a reading crate (I think I found it on a goodreads "what people have read" email!) but it would be a perfect fit for the Diver
Aliza Werner
More than five stars to this incredible semi-autobiographical story of an immigrant family working their hardest to achieve their vision of the American dream. Mia never takes no for an answer as her courage leads the way in fighting for what's fair and kind. This story will stick with me for a long time.
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Mock Newbery 2019: July Read - Front Desk 31 168 Aug 16, 2018 06:00AM  

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