Summer at Squee

Penguin/Kokila. Mar. 2024. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593111314.
Gr 4-8–After a lonely seventh grade year due to her friend group breaking up, Phoenny Fang is looking forward to her summer at Squee, otherwise known as the Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience. Phoenny and her summer camp friends are excited to experience the camp traditions as senior campers this year—until their group, the Squad, is split up to include a new group of campers. At first Phoenny tries to be friendly to the new members, sharing everything she loves, but they aren’t as interested in traditional Chinese activities. The new campers are facing their own set of challenges as adoptees, and with the fact that some of Phoenny’s favorite parts of camp make them feel excluded. This knowledge changes the perspective of the senior Squee campers, and over the next few weeks, themes of identity, belonging and acceptance surface as both new and returning campers explore what it means to be Chinese American. An author’s note shares the experience of Wang’s family with cultural heritage camp as well as resources about the adoptee experience.
VERDICT A fun summer camp coming-of-age story for all students, but especially those traversing issues of cross-cultural identity.

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