An Echo in the City

Little, Brown. Jul. 2023. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316396820.
Gr 7 Up–After tagging along with her older brother to a protest, Nix literally bumps into Kai, and they accidentally switch phones. When they switch them back, she invites him to come to the next protest planning meeting, not knowing that Kai is in the police academy. As the protests and their relationship heat up, Nix questions her future, while Kai struggles with his loyalties and his betrayals of Nix and their friends. Set against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s 2019 protest movement against the Extradition Treaty, Song’s debut thoughtfully examines class and belonging. Nix spent six years living in the United States and is unsure if she can call Hong Kong her home. Kai just moved from Shanghai after the death of his mother and faces anti-mainland prejudice. Both struggle with their relationships with their parents as they fight to figure out what home is, and how to keep it. Told in alternating perspectives, Song’s novel excels at seamlessly explaining many of the political issues and different viewpoints to those unfamiliar.
VERDICT Full of action and romance, this page-turning read, bittersweet but hopeful, lingers. Recommended for most YA collections.

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