By Malinda Lo
This is a must-read – it is a poignant and necessary look at an ugly history of homophobia, racism, and scapegoating, but it also points out that there have always been people willing to challenge that.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Recommended Age Level: 15+
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father–despite his hard-won citizenship–Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
It is hard to put into words how immeasurably beautiful this book was. It is all the more important now, even though the events of the book take place more than half a century ago, and the characters and their stories stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Even though I didn't share many identities with Lily, the protagonist and narrator, I felt like I connected with her and was really with her the whole way through. This book tells the classic tale of needing to be true to yourself without having the first clue as to how to go about doing that while balancing seemingly conflicting identities, something that everyone can connect with in one way or another. This is a gorgeous book that will make you really think, and I cannot recommend it enough.
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