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A DUET FOR HOME by Karina Yan Glaser Kirkus Star


by Karina Yan Glaser

Pub Date: April 5th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-544-87640-8
Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

New York City tweens June and Tyrell bond while living at a family shelter.

After the unexpected death of her father, 11-year-old June Yang, her dog-obsessed little sister, Maybelle, and their depressed mother are evicted from their Chinatown apartment and relocated to a homeless shelter for women and children in the South Bronx. Sixth grader Tyrell Chee, who has been at Huey House for three years, thinks getting three hot meals a day and living in the same building as his book-loving best friend, Jeremiah, beats the uncertainty of life alone with his unreliable mother. Despite a messy first impression, June and Tyrell become fast friends—especially after they discover a shared love of classical music (she plays the viola, he appreciates their mysterious neighbor’s nightly violin practice). The dual-perspective narrative offers alternating points of view on navigating life in a shelter. Although the author doesn’t shy away from the trauma endured by children in the system and the various mental health, financial, educational, and social challenges the families face, this is a hopeful and inspiring story about the lives of children who are rarely represented in middle-grade fiction. The young people engage in activism that is both thought-provoking and profound. The wonderfully diverse multigenerational cast of characters includes Chinese American June, Chinese and Black Tyrell, and mostly Black and brown supporting characters.

A powerful, heartwarming, and thoughtful tale of kids cultivating chosen families during challenging circumstances.

(author’s note, music list, note on Cantonese) (Fiction. 9-13)