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Front Desk: Book Review


Despite what she's telling her classmates, Mia Tang doesn't actually live in a big house with a dog. Her and her parent run a motel, and every day Mia takes charge of the front desk while her mom and dad clean. Keys that don't work and cranky customers? No problem! Mia's even designed a system for sneaking in documented, yet down on their luck Chinese immigrants; a Yankees baseball cap sitting on the desk lets them know if it's all right to come in. But the man who owns the motel, Mr. Yao, is squeezing every penny out of her parents. He'd be furious to know they're keeping unpaid customers in their guest rooms! With running the motel, overworked parents, mean Mr. Yao, and equally-as-rude Mr. Yao's son, Mia has a lot on her plate. Her friend Lupe tells her that there are two roller coasters: a poor one and a rich one, and she's desperate to get off the poor one. So when Mia hears about an essay contest whose grand prize is their very own motel, she jumps at the chance. However, she's not a "native" English speaker. Is she even good enough to win the contest, solving their financial problems and getting off the roller coaster?

Front Desk addresses real issues in simple language all ages can understand. Readers will hang on to the edge of their seats, rooting for Mia. Spunky, determined, and independent, this is a protagonist I can get behind! Perfect for a family read-aloud, readers will adore this modern immigrant's story.

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