Publishers send loads of review copies to libraries, and I was recently shown the area where these are kept in our collection management department. I feel like I have the keys to the candy store. The first book I picked up was Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, which will be released on April 29, 2010.
After her father’s death, Ah-Kim Chang and her mother immigrate to New York, where her Aunt Pearl has a job and a home lined up for them. They are surprised to learn that the apartment they will be living in is a roach-infested hellhole, and her mother’s job is nearly slave labor at the clothing factory run by her aunt’s husband. Kimberly (Ah-Kim’s name in America) and her mother have to learn to fend for themselves.
Ah-Kim is used to being at the top of her class back in Hong Kong, but she struggles at her public school in New York due to the language barrier and a horrible teacher. Luckily, an administrator sees that she is intelligent and helps her find a good school to attend the next year.
Kwok was an immigrant herself, and this shows in the authenticity of the story. I was riveted reading about how Ah-Kim balances life with friends at an expensive private school with her home life of abject poverty. She must work hard with the weight of her mother’s salvation on her shoulders.
I sped through this book in two days because I couldn’t put it down. Make sure to check this one out in April.