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Last Night at the Telegraph Club

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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  17,986 ratings  ·  3,344 reviews
A story of love and duty set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the Red Scare.

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exact
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 19th 2021 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
    Last Night at the Telegraph Club
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    Release date: Jan 18, 2022
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    Average rating 4.31  · 
    Rating details
     ·  17,986 ratings  ·  3,344 reviews


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    Elle (ellexamines)
    hi as a 2019 San Francisco lesbian I'm here for the 1950s San Francisco gays ...more
    Robin
    Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    ↠ 5 stars

    A historical fiction set in 1950's San Francisco, focusing on lesbian culture and the coming of age of a Chinese American? More of this please. In an era brimming with disruption and upheaval, the neon lights of a lesbian bar known as the Telegraph Club offer sanctuary to those in need of it. To a young girl questioning her identity, the dark nights and lively shows beckon her, bringing with them perhaps the very answers she’s been looking for. To do so, she’ll enlist the help of an unl
    ...more
    emma
    May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Recommended to emma by: s.penkevich
    I try to read basically everything.

    I am a book nerd in a way that is all-encompassing, not limited to any genre or niche but instead poisoning every category of literature (as well as books that could never be called literature even if you were being nice) in order to be absolutely as annoying as possible to both everyone I know in real life and everyone on this website.

    That being said:
    1) I have read less young adult stuff this year than ever in my life, and
    2) recently I have decided to all but
    ...more
    Steph
    i absolutely adored this book!! last night at the telegraph club is probably the most engaging and vivid historical novel i've read thus far. it feels firmly rooted in 1950s san francisco, where 17-year-old chinese american lily lives and has her sapphic awakening.

    it's about a lot of things: dreaming about outer space & things bigger than your world, tender first love, close family bonds & conflict, childhood friendships that eventually run their course, foggy san francisco, growing up in chinat
    ...more
    Lex Kent
    4.50 Stars. Now I know why this book had a lot of hype surrounding it. It was excellent and I’m glad I got to read it before the year ended. I have read quite a few of Lo’s books, but it has been around 9 years since I have read any of them. I was very interested to see how she has evolved as an author and all I can say is wow. This felt like a huge step-up from her earlier books and it was really cool to see the author she has become.

    I don’t know what happened but I had no idea what this book
    ...more
    Bryce Rocks My Socks
    Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
    Recommended to Bryce Rocks by: emmmabooks
    Shelves: fav, lgbt, contemporary
    3.5

    too many flashbacks to straight people
    theresa
    Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I loved this!! it was so interesting getting to read about history that has largely been left unexplored or supressed and the intersection of being Chinese-American in the USA at the time of the Red Scare, as well as a young woman interested in STEM and a lesbian exploring the lesbian bar scene.

    I really enjoyed Lily as a character and reading from her perspective. She was really easy to empathise with and understand and I loved the journey she went on as she realised this new part of her identit
    ...more
    Vee_Bookish
    Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
    The cover of this book is absolutely stunning, but the actual story didn't have the same impact that the cover did. While I found the picture of life for a Chinese American girl in 1950s San Francisco fascinating, the story seemed to move at a snail like pace.

    I enjoyed Lily and Kath's relationship, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I found the Telegraph Club, it's performers and patrons more interesting. Thinking back on it, I can't really say who Kath was, she was very generic and aside f
    ...more
    - ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
    Nov 27, 2019 marked it as to-read
    MALINDA LO AND QUEER CHINESE HISTORICAL FICTION???

    I'M HERE FOR THIS.
    ...more
    tessie
    i tried to write a review for this book when i first read it back in august, and have attempted to write several since then and,,put it off but now i’ve finished reading it for a second time i have no excuses left to put off writing a review for this

    so, first of all, if i were to try and rate this objectively it probably wouldn’t be a 5 star read. there’s definitely a lot of loose ends in this book, plot points that are very briefly touched on and then not spoken of again throughout the book. i
    ...more
    Sunny
    Jan 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
    deeply emotionally compelling. As a chinese American femme I’m gonna need someone to step up and be my Kathleen
    isha mitski
    Jul 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
    ✨🌃🛩🪐

    " An unfamiliar emotion swelled inside her at this image. A strangely sharp pang for a place she had never visited. For a people she resembled but did not know.”

    1950s Chinatown. Sapphic. Women in STEM.

    Girl who wants to make planes meets girl who wants to fly. It's perfection, really. I don’t make the rules 🤷‍♀️

    Taking place in 1950s Chinatown in San Fransisco, our main character Lily Hu, is a Chinese American who starts to ask herself some questions: what does she want to be when she grows u
    ...more
    Hsinju
    AUDIOBOOK REVIEW IN EN & ZH-TW
    有聲書書評(中英對照)


    EN

    Content warning: racism, homophobia, manipulation, mention of miscarriage, alcohol (underage drinking)

    She couldn’t find the right words for this dammed-up feeling inside, as if she were denying herself something absolutely vital, and she didn’t know why.


    Last Night at the Telegraph Club is less about the romance between Lily and Kath but more about Lily trying to grasp her identity as a Chinese American lesbian in the 1950s.

    In the prologue, four
    ...more
    Adri
    Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
    4.5 Stars

    CWs: Some exploration of racism, deportation, xenophobia, homophobia, underage drinking, some graphic sex, brief mention of miscarriage, some use of outdated racial and social epithets (relevant to time period), some exploration of familial estrangement and disownment

    I'll just say it: this is the queer historical YA of my dreams. It manages to capture an impeccable sense of place and time while also celebrating and reclaiming queer histories. That is 100% my jam, and I think Malinda
    ...more
    Fadwa (Word Wonders)
    Content warnings:(view spoiler)

    I loved this book so so much.

    It was so tentative and gentle but simultaneously rough to read at times and heartbreaking. It not only tackles what it was like to be an Asian queer woman (lesbian) in the 50s, but it also tackles the issues the Chinese community faces back then, head on. So it's a pretty well rounded story.

    I loved the way Lili and Kath's relationship
    ...more
    Charmel
    “Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to have nothing keeping you attached to the ground?”

    Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a lovely coming of age story of Lily Hu, a 17-year-old Chinese-American, set in the 1950s in Chinatown (San Francisco).

    Queer Asian Historical Fiction? Women interested in STEM?? YESSS

    “Perhaps that was the most perverse part of this: the inside-outness of everything, as if denial would make it go away, when it only made the pain in her chest tighten, when
    ...more
    Lucy Tonks
    Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: rtc
    I loved this book so much!!
    RTC.



    Happy Pride Month! In honor of Pride Month, I plan to only read books that have LGBTQ+ representation this month. I always try to read more books with queer representation so this month I will be trying to find new favourites and underrated reads.

    1. Girl Made of Stars: 4 ★
    2. They Both Die At The End: 2 ★
    3. Darius the Great is not Okay: 3 ★
    4. Every Heart a Doorwat: 5 ★
    5. How To Make a Wish: 1 ★
    6. Felix Ever After: 5★
    7. The Song of Achilles: 3 ★
    8. Clap When You
    ...more
    John Mauro
    Jul 17, 2021 rated it liked it
    This book is very similar to "Tipping the Velvet," the debut novel by Sarah Waters. But instead of being set in Victorian England, "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" is set in San Francisco in the 1950s.

    Both novels focus on forbidden love in the world of lesbian bars and male impersonators. "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" deals with the additional problem of racism. The main character, Lily Hu, lives in conservative Chinatown and is of Chinese descent.

    The best part of this novel is the detail
    ...more
    birdie
    this is perhaps one of the most interesting and informative books i've ever read. the historical and cultural parts were everything my gay history heart could hope for and more. malinda lo transports you to a whole different place and time, and it felt so vivid; i could literally picture everything, as if i was, indeed, right there!

    the thing, though, is that i expected to feel this sort of things-not for the background, but for the characters and their relationships. i definitely rooted for lily
    ...more
    layla
    I absolutely loved this book so much. The lesbian representation along with the representation of the experience of immigrants and Chinese-Americans was so important. The writing was so well done that I was just pulled right into the story which made the characters feel so real. It was heartbreakingly beautiful in so many ways that it left me tearing up throughout the whole time I was reading it. Malinda Lo wrote an impactful coming-of-age story of the intersections of race, sexuality and immigr ...more
    Hayley
    Nov 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: sapphic
    3.5/5 stars
    “Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to have nothing keeping you attached to the ground?”

    Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a wonderful, heartfelt historical novel that deals with intersectionality, discovering one’s identity, and first love.
    I love slow burn romance, but I always forget how much I love slow burn when it comes to other aspects of storytelling like friendships and self discovery. Lo includes so many layers in this book, it’s impossible to not feel seen.
    ...more
    Alwynne
    I was utterly absorbed in Malinda Lo’s YA novel, partly inspired by her family’s past it also draws on a wealth of research into 1950s lesbian life. Set in San Francisco in 1954, it features an extremely vivid reimagining of the city’s thriving, lesbian subculture seen through the eyes of Chinese American teenager Lily Hu. Lily lives with her family in Chinatown, a safe haven for Chinese Americans, already battling racism and unthinking stereotypes, now they’re the targets of America’s latest ‘r ...more
    Graciella Delgado
    Jul 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    I highly recommend listening to this book on audiobook to get a full appreciation for the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects incorporated into the story.

    This was a slow build up of a beautifully written story of self exploration and the intersection of multiple identities in the 1950s.

    Lily is a Chinese-American girl finishing up high school, figuring out that she's a lesbian through meeting other secretly queer people and visiting illegal gay clubs with her first crush.

    This historical fiction nove
    ...more
    Nomadic Reader (Baba Yaga)
    I knew I was going to love this book right from the dedication:
    "For all the butches and femmes, past, present, and future."

    Last Night at the Telegraph Club began pulling at my heartstrings before it even started, and didn't stop until the last page. I don't know what it is about young adult books that makes me so sentimental lately, but it seems like the older I get, the deeper I feel for the troubled kids at the center of these stories. Somehow, I just can't ignore the fact that I'm reading abo
    ...more
    Ash
    The amount of positive, affirming, LGBT representation in young adult fiction has skyrocketed since I was a teenager. For that reason, every time I read a book like Last Night at the Telegraph Club, I get a little overwhelmed by how glad I am that a book like this exists. Not just so that I can read and enjoy it, but so current and future LGBT teenagers can see themselves reflected in the books they read in a way I never did. Any book that communicates a message of “LGBT people exist, LGBT peopl ...more
    Cinda
    Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    Highly recommended. Lo takes us to 1950s Chinatown in San Francisco, where a teenage girl grapples with the expectations of immigrant parents, racism, anti-queer sentiment, and the awkwardness of first love. #LGBTQ
    kaela
    Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    as an 18 year old who lives in the bay area who is also chinese-american, i obviously saw a lot of myself in this book.

    you can just tell how much research and love was spent on this. i saw my asian american identity in the way the author depicted the lunar new year, the complexities and community within chinatown. the way san francisco was described was with such fine detail, it was kinda like i was witnessing a whole new SF despite living here my entire life. but even if i wasn’t those things
    ...more
    charlotte,
    (2.5)

    it's so authentically Lesbian and just exudes lesbian culture and the lesbian found family made me cry but i just didn't get along with malinda lo's writing (sort of expected, since i dnf'ed the last book of hers i tried) and i'm sad

    Rep: Chinese American lesbian mc, lesbian li, Chinese and Chinese American side characters, lesbian side characters

    CWs: period typical racism, homophobia and lesbophobia
    ...more
    rachel ☾


    Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

    Representation: Lily (mc) Chinese-American & lesbian; Kathleen (li) Italian-American & lesbian; Will (sc) Chinese; Chinese & sapphic scs.

    Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseTwitterInstagram
    ...more
    Emma Angeline
    Jan 10, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: queer
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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    BIO: Malinda Lo is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of several books, including the historical novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which received eight starred reviews and was nam
    ...more

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      Ellen Oh is an award-winning author of middle grade and young adult novels such as Spirit Hunters, The Dragon Egg Princess, and A Thousand...
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