Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma.
They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.
Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.
Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.
As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.
About the Author
Kelly Yang is the author of Front Desk, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature. She went to college at age thirteen and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She is the founder of the Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for children in Asia and the United States. She is also a columnist for the South China Morning Post and has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic. Kelly is the mother of three children and splits her time between Hong Kong and San Francisco. Please find her online at www.kellyyang.com.
“[Parachutes] is about the radical possibility of young women finding and detonating their voices. Yang takes a sledgehammer to rape culture itself, swinging with equal parts artistry and force. If this were a television series it would look fabulous and land deep.”
— New York Times Book Review
"A fierce entrance into YA, navigating a plethora of complex themes with great honesty... Claire and Dani’s mettle and solidarity as they contend with the institutions and privilege that hide abuse is gripping and empowering. Yang offers a compelling exploration of the parachute experience and the intersection of ethnicity, class, and reputation, while underscoring striking cultural parallels between America and China. Strong characterization and thoughtful writing make for an unforgettable read."
— ALA Booklist (starred review)
"Yang deftly weaves in parallels to recent real-life events... On top of these explorations of nationality and wealth is the realistically pervasive look at rape culture... In short alternating chapters narrated by Dani and Claire, Yang creates a delicate balance between these heavier issues and the lighter moments of high school... [A] powerful exploration of race, class, and power through multiple lenses... An engrossing read that will spark discussions on a wide range of issues."
— School Library Journal (starred review)
"In her YA debut, Yang (Front Desk) draws from personal experience and the news to tell a contemporary story of class discrepancy, the pervasiveness of rape culture, and the Asian diaspora... a multifaceted read, by turns poignant, fun, and exultant in its celebration of the multitudinous experiences and strength inherent in diasporic identity."
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Yang has created two distinct and vibrant voices that shimmer with passion for both justice and independence... The convincing narrative, told in alternating first-person perspectives, confronts pervasive and xenophobic stereotypes, with secondary characters’ complex identities adding depth and emotion to the story."
— Horn Book Magazine
"Yang writes astutely about the destabilizing combination of family expectations, copious wealth, and absence of adult supervision. She’s also sharply perceptive about the class and race complexities of a community that contains rich Asian visitors and American-born Asians, great wealth and straitened circumstances... A spirited slice of cultural life and story of girls facing cruel inequities, and Yang’s compelling author’s note about parachutes and her own experience of being sexually assaulted adds another poignant facet."
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Parachutes is a force. As fast-paced as it is powerful, its story of immigration, social class, and rape culture calls out the damaging consequences of privilege in ways that will make readers want to speak up and take action.”
— Randy Ribay, National Book Award finalist and author of Patron Saints of Nothing
“Parachutes is not just a searing drama that explores the lives of Asians in America, it’s a courageous, empowering story about how high women can soar when they lift each other up.”
— Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl
Awards and Praise for Front Desk: Asian / Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature
Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Fiction Award Winner
Named a Best Book of the Year by:
School Library Journal
New York Public Library
Chicago Public Library
Top Ten Debut Novels 2018
— ALA Booklist
* “Debut author Yang weaves in autobiographical content while creating a feisty and empowered heroine. The supporting characters are rich in voice and context ...achingly reveal life in America in the 1990s for persons of color and those living in poverty.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
* “Mia herself is an irresistible protagonist, and it is a pleasure to see both her writing and her power grow... Many young readers will see themselves in Mia and her friends.... A swiftly moving plot and a winsome protagonist.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
* “It’s the details that sing in this novel...This book will help foster empathy for the immigrant experience for young readers, while for immigrant children, it is a much-needed and validating mirror....Deserving of shelf space in every classroom and library.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“Reminiscent of the television series Fresh Off the Boat... Basing the story on her own childhood experiences, Yang writes Mia’s dreams into reality without sacrificing or minimizing the heartbreaking realities of many immigrants’ hardships... there is much satisfaction in this book’s powerful and heart-wrenching close.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Front Desk is a story about the hardships of immigrant life, the perpetuation of injustice, and a sweet, kind, indomitable young girl who chooses to rise up and fight no matter how hard it gets. Kelly Yang’s debut is a stunner.
— Mike Jung, author of Unidentified Suburban Object
“In this noteworthy, immensely enjoyable novel, Kelly Yang (Front Desk) tackles some of the systemic inequalities that foster racism, misogyny and sexual assault. She convincingly brings to light ways in which victims are often judged more harshly than their aggressors, but also provides a template for change. Yang dives with aplomb into issues of opulence and poverty, power and impotence.”
— Shelf Awareness