A Duet for Home

HarperAudio. Apr. 2022. 619p. $21.99. ISBN 9780358716785.
Gr 3-7–According to young Maybelle, June is “the best eleven-year-old viola player in the world.” But instruments are forbidden at Huey House, a homeless shelter where the sisters and their mother have landed after the sudden loss of their father resulted in eviction from their Chinatown apartment. Practice June must, which means she’s going to have to trust longtime resident Tyrell to show her a safe place to play. Like June, Tyrell is fatherless—although his Chinese father isn’t dead, he’s in prison. Music—and a longing to belong—will ensure their friendship. Sura Siu gently ciphers June’s chapters, moving from bewildered to empowered; June’s mother’s Cantonese dialogue benefits from Siu’s multilingualism. Preston Butler III, a self-described “multihyphenate artist,” voices Tyrell’s energetic chapters, particularly effective in capturing exploits with his best friend (and coconspirator) Jeremiah.
VERDICT Siu and Butler nimbly transform Glaser’s alternating chapters into harmonious counterpoint.

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