Friday, September 18, 2020

Three Keys

Yang, Kelly. Three Keys
September 15th 2020 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

It's 1994, and Mia Tang and her family have bought the Calivista Hotel from the horrible Mr. Yao. She thinks that she and Lupe are going to have a great year in school. Jason Yao is in another class, but the girls have Mrs. Welch, who is a supporter of Proposition 187, which aimed to keep undocumented immigrants from being able to use a variety of state run support services, including the public schools! Since Mia and her family are very interested in issues surrounding immigration, the girls take this to heart. It hits even closer to home when Lupe's mother must return to Mexico for a funeral. In the meantime, the Calivista offers classes to its residents, and Hank, who is hired as the Marketing Manager, puts a sign on the front of the hotel that says "immigrants welcome". This is generally well received, but there are some people who do not agree with this, including some of the hotel investors. Jason wants to be friends with Mia, even though his father continues to be awful, and Mia is able to encourage him to take his cooking seriously. She is concerned that her parents are working too hard, and wonders if they will be able to get certified in the US to return to their more professional jobs, When Lupe's father is detained by immigration, the political environment becomes even more concerning. The Tangs take care of Lupe and manage to find a lawyer to help her family, and Mia encourages her school to try to fight against Proposition 187 and create unity in the school instead.
Strengths: There are so many timely issues that are covered in this, although it's sad that 26 years later they are still problematic. Hank deals with prejudice against Black citizens, there's some tension between recent immigrants from China (the Tangs) and more established families (the Yaos as well as some women Mia's mother meets at the mall), and the plight of immigrants from Mexico is well covered. Mrs. Welch is a fascinating character-- it would have been easy to make her one dimensional, but she learns and grows, and ends up being an ally to Mia and the other immigrant students.
Weaknesses: I forgot at the beginning that this was set in 1994; with the discussion of Proposition 187 being so central to the book, this is important to remember.
What I really think: The thing I liked best about Front Desk was learning about Mia's struggles with being new to the US; this was more concerned with the larger world, which was fine but not as personal. Definitely purchasing, however, since the first book was a huge hit in my library, and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Mia and her friends.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I loved Front Desk! So I guess I'm going to have to look for Three Keys.