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Room to Dream

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New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang is back with another heartwarming and inspiring story of Mia and friends! Mia Tang is going for her dreams! After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family -- to China! A total dream come true! Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams a New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang is back with another heartwarming and inspiring story of Mia and friends! Mia Tang is going for her dreams! After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family -- to China! A total dream come true! Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China's going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . . 1. Lupe's taking classes at the high school! And Mia's own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck. 2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it. 3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing. Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!


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New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang is back with another heartwarming and inspiring story of Mia and friends! Mia Tang is going for her dreams! After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family -- to China! A total dream come true! Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams a New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang is back with another heartwarming and inspiring story of Mia and friends! Mia Tang is going for her dreams! After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family -- to China! A total dream come true! Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China's going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . . 1. Lupe's taking classes at the high school! And Mia's own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck. 2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it. 3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing. Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!

30 review for Room to Dream

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    This new chapter in the Front Desk series is a reminder of the power of words. When Mia and her family visit family in China, she begins writing a column for a middle school newspaper. As she journals and sends in her entries the editor encourages her to emphasize the drama. Fan mail begins to come in reminding Mia of how much she has shared with people she has never met. Back at home the Calivista is threatened by a mega hotel that has been built across the street. They are using ads and other This new chapter in the Front Desk series is a reminder of the power of words. When Mia and her family visit family in China, she begins writing a column for a middle school newspaper. As she journals and sends in her entries the editor encourages her to emphasize the drama. Fan mail begins to come in reminding Mia of how much she has shared with people she has never met. Back at home the Calivista is threatened by a mega hotel that has been built across the street. They are using ads and other ploys to build up business while taking away the livelihood of Mia's family and investors. A visit to the Anaheim paper educates Mia on the rules of journalistic integrity (many of which she has broken) and also the possibilities of using articles to help their hotel and other struggling indies. It is a war of words that costs nothing, but can mean everything. I loved the great relationship we see between Mia and her parents. There are also some great friendship lessons as Mia works on her craft alongside Lupe and Jason. With both favorite characters from the previous books, new ones that we meet for the first time, and few bad eggs this is a fantastic addition to the series. Thank you to Scholastic Press and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    Following Mia's life has been one of the most fun adventures in the last couple of years. Mia's life, so much influenced by author Kelly's own life, is phenomenal. Kelly's writing hooks you in and connects to students SO much. I can't wait for my students to get their hands on Room to Dream in September. Next year I will be teaching Front Desk to my 6th grade students and then continuing on with the series. Room to Dream themes: following your dreams, using your voice, accepting change, growing Following Mia's life has been one of the most fun adventures in the last couple of years. Mia's life, so much influenced by author Kelly's own life, is phenomenal. Kelly's writing hooks you in and connects to students SO much. I can't wait for my students to get their hands on Room to Dream in September. Next year I will be teaching Front Desk to my 6th grade students and then continuing on with the series. Room to Dream themes: following your dreams, using your voice, accepting change, growing up, maturing, understanding others, selflessness, and family. So impressed with Room to Dream, it's always so hard to follow your stories, but these keep getting better and better.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacey DeCotis (Reading in the Middle Grades)

    So excited to have Mia Tang back in the THIRD book by @kellyyanghk In ROOM TO DREAM Mia and her mom & dad go back to China to visit family. Mia realizes so much has changed. When she gets home after a month, she sees changes in Anaheim, her friendships, and her writing. This 3rd story brought all the things I love about Mia and her family together and was a beautiful conclusion. Thank you @scholasticinc for sharing an #advancedreaderscopy with #bookexcursion 📖

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    I like this third book even more than the second! Yang raises more complex issues in the third installment of Mia's story, but Mia, her friends, and family work through it all with their unfailing determination. I like this third book even more than the second! Yang raises more complex issues in the third installment of Mia's story, but Mia, her friends, and family work through it all with their unfailing determination.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yapha

    Another fantastic book in the Front Desk series! In this one, Mia and her parents are finally going back to China for an extended visit to see their family. (They even bring Hank along!) But the China they return to is nothing like the China left. The rest of the family seems to have done exceptionally well financially, while Mia's parents continue to struggle with their motel. And it isn't getting any easier, as a huge conglomeration is trying to put them out of business. Can Mia save the motel Another fantastic book in the Front Desk series! In this one, Mia and her parents are finally going back to China for an extended visit to see their family. (They even bring Hank along!) But the China they return to is nothing like the China left. The rest of the family seems to have done exceptionally well financially, while Mia's parents continue to struggle with their motel. And it isn't getting any easier, as a huge conglomeration is trying to put them out of business. Can Mia save the motel yet again? Or will she lose her friends in the process? Give this to fans of the series. It makes the most sense to read them in order. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up. eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Mia Tang and her family are finally doing well enough with their Calivista motel that they are able to travel to China to visit family. Hank also decides to come along. It's been five years, and Mia is glad that her teachers are okay with her taking a month off school, as long as she keeps up with her work. Lupe and her family will be running the motel, and there is some tension with her best friend, who is taking high school classes and is too busy to run the fro E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Mia Tang and her family are finally doing well enough with their Calivista motel that they are able to travel to China to visit family. Hank also decides to come along. It's been five years, and Mia is glad that her teachers are okay with her taking a month off school, as long as she keeps up with her work. Lupe and her family will be running the motel, and there is some tension with her best friend, who is taking high school classes and is too busy to run the front desk with Mia. There is also tension with Jason, who wants to be a little more than friends. These things are simmering in her mind as Mia reconnects with her cousin Shen, grandparents, and even her old school crossing guard! Things have changed a lot in the neighborhood, and her Aunt Juli wants to move her grandparents from their old fashioned neighborhood where they are comfortable and have a lot of friends, to a new luxury apartment like the one that they live in. Mia does have some struggles with going back; she has trouble with the outdoor toilet, isn't as good as the language as she was, and sometimes feels that she doesn't fit in with people in China any better than she fits in with people in the US. There are plenty of adventures to be had in six weeks, though, and she helps Hank run a hamburger stand to help out a local vendor, is approached to write a column for a children's newspaper because her grandfather shows her work to the publisher, and is allowed to wander around the neighborhood with her cousin. It's good to be with family and sad to leave, but there's plenty going on back in Anaheim. Two competing hotels have been bought by a large corporation, and the Calivista is once again in trouble. Other things are changing in her neighborhood, and favorite restaurants and shops are also going out of business. Lupe is still struggling to keep up with school demands, and things are awkward with Jason, who is being pressured by his parents to give up his Asian fusion style of cooking and stick with traditional French cuisine. Mia has found the power of the press, so turns her attention to the new hotel conglomerate. Will she be able to unearth something that could save the family business? Strengths: Mia is an engaging character and it has been interesting to watch her work and grow. Many of my students whose parents have immigrated to the US go back to visit family, so this is interesting not only for the details of what daily life is like (Shen has a very demanding school, there are local food vendors who sell from their bicycles), but what emotions are involved in going "home" and visiting family. A good portion of this book also takes place in Anaheim, advocating for the hotel, dealing with school, and navigating friendships. It's good to see that Lupe and Jason are still around, even if their roles in Mia's life change. I feel that there is at least one more book about Mia's life that we need! Weaknesses: It was a little hard to believe that Mia got so much coverage in the news, but younger readers won't think twice about this. Also, Mia's literary career is based off Ms. Yang's actual one, which is phenomenal! What I really think: This series is popular in my library (Front Desk is a Battle of the Books title), and I will definitely have students waiting for this one when it arrives!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    Kelly Yang knocked another one out of the ballpark! Mia, Lupe, and Jason are in 7th grade now and each is finding her/his path. Mia continues to grow as a writer, Lupe is in accelerated math and English classes, and Jason learns to follow his heart as a chef. A trip back to China shows Mia how much things have changed there, and things are changing in Anaheim as well. Mia uses her voice to help save the Calavista while shedding light on the importance of saving all kinds of small local independe Kelly Yang knocked another one out of the ballpark! Mia, Lupe, and Jason are in 7th grade now and each is finding her/his path. Mia continues to grow as a writer, Lupe is in accelerated math and English classes, and Jason learns to follow his heart as a chef. A trip back to China shows Mia how much things have changed there, and things are changing in Anaheim as well. Mia uses her voice to help save the Calavista while shedding light on the importance of saving all kinds of small local independent businesses. This is another book that will prompt great discussions about racism, bias, and social justice. Thank you, Scholastic, for the ARC!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mid-Continent Public Library

    This new chapter in the Front Desk series is a reminder of the power of words. When Mia and her family visit family in China, she begins writing a column for a middle school newspaper. As she journals and sends in her entries the editor encourages her to emphasize the drama. Fan mail begins to come in reminding Mia of how much she has shared with people she has never met. Back at home the Calivista is threatened by a mega hotel that has been built across the street. They are using ads and other This new chapter in the Front Desk series is a reminder of the power of words. When Mia and her family visit family in China, she begins writing a column for a middle school newspaper. As she journals and sends in her entries the editor encourages her to emphasize the drama. Fan mail begins to come in reminding Mia of how much she has shared with people she has never met. Back at home the Calivista is threatened by a mega hotel that has been built across the street. They are using ads and other ploys to build up business while taking away the livelihood of Mia's family and investors. A visit to the Anaheim paper educates Mia on the rules of journalistic integrity (many of which she has broken) and also the possibilities of using articles to help their hotel and other struggling indies. It is a war of words that costs nothing, but can mean everything. I loved the great relationship we see between Mia and her parents. There are also some great friendship lessons as Mia works on her craft alongside Lupe and Jason. With both favorite characters from the previous books, new ones that we meet for the first time, and few bad eggs this is a fantastic addition to the series. * Reviewed by Darla from Red Bridge *

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liana Grace

    I adore this entire series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    I was so happy to see that another Front Desk book is out, and Mia is still a wonderful main character. However, I was a bit disappointed by this one (I have high expectations for these books) because its plot and character development did not seem as strong as the previous books. Instead, it seemed more message-driven, to the point where it started to get redundant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Simpson

    I love this book just as I did the first two. I had told a few kids at school that I was starting it and they are eager to hear my review this week. I love Mia as a character. She is strong and brave but real enough to show her fears and shortcomings. Her relationships are not perfect but resemble those in real life. I look forward to adding copies to our library as the students will be waiting to church them out! Digital review copy from Edelweiss+.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen Parisot

    A heart-warming story for young readers. The third installment of a series, it follows the life of Mia Tang, a young Chinese American girl who dreams of being a writer. It’s a multi-cultural story about family, friendship, and reaching for your dreams. Mia is a very likable and inspiring young lady. She doesn’t give up, loves her family and friends, and learns some valuable life lessons. After reading the author’s note, I realized the story is based on some of her own life experiences which I fo A heart-warming story for young readers. The third installment of a series, it follows the life of Mia Tang, a young Chinese American girl who dreams of being a writer. It’s a multi-cultural story about family, friendship, and reaching for your dreams. Mia is a very likable and inspiring young lady. She doesn’t give up, loves her family and friends, and learns some valuable life lessons. After reading the author’s note, I realized the story is based on some of her own life experiences which I found interesting. She even includes some examples of her own early writing. 4.5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allyson Bogie

    Kelly Yang is an amazing writer and I feel so lucky that we have the Front Desk trilogy in the world. I rarely recommend a book to everyone - but this trilogy is one of those rare occasions. The stories are wonderful and the writing style is fresh and brings everyone to life. Now I’m sad the trilogy has concluded but excited to read what’s next.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maddy 🌱

    A great sequel to front desk, and three keys. I highly recommend reading it if you have read any of the series. As Mia is facing troubles with friends, family, and the Calivista, can she find time to follow her dreams? If you read this book, don’t forget the authors note in the back, which includes stories written by Kelly yang when she was Mia’s age.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pam Page

    Mia Tang returns in this third story about the Tang family. Mia is such an inspirational character who clearly loves her family and friends. In this story we read about Mia's trip back to China to visit relatives, Lupe going to the high school for classes, and what may be the demise of the Calavista! Readers will be fascinated with Mia's column that is read by hundreds of thousands of kids in China. My favorite of the three books! Mia Tang returns in this third story about the Tang family. Mia is such an inspirational character who clearly loves her family and friends. In this story we read about Mia's trip back to China to visit relatives, Lupe going to the high school for classes, and what may be the demise of the Calavista! Readers will be fascinated with Mia's column that is read by hundreds of thousands of kids in China. My favorite of the three books!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex Rozenstine

    As much as I loved the first two books, this feels like a very weak finale in comparison. Moreover, some of the conflict felt unnatural and dragged out the story (mostly Lupe's high school studies, I wished we've seen from her perspective much sooner, but couldn't due to lack of communication). I did enjoy the first half a lot, though, where Mia visits her family in China, I love seeing characters come back to their old environment and learning how much things have changed. And while my feelings As much as I loved the first two books, this feels like a very weak finale in comparison. Moreover, some of the conflict felt unnatural and dragged out the story (mostly Lupe's high school studies, I wished we've seen from her perspective much sooner, but couldn't due to lack of communication). I did enjoy the first half a lot, though, where Mia visits her family in China, I love seeing characters come back to their old environment and learning how much things have changed. And while my feelings for this installment are lukewarm, I am excited to read more from Yang, her writing is very engaging and fast-paced, I cannot wait to check out her YA standalone!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Macy Davis

    I adored this book and how it effectively ties up the Front Desk trilogy. Mia has so much to deal with, but just keeps pushing for the best for herself and those she loves. I also appreciated how this book shows that it's okay to mess up sometimes in friendships, but you have to know how to apologize and work on moving forward together. I adored this book and how it effectively ties up the Front Desk trilogy. Mia has so much to deal with, but just keeps pushing for the best for herself and those she loves. I also appreciated how this book shows that it's okay to mess up sometimes in friendships, but you have to know how to apologize and work on moving forward together.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim Bahr

    Beautiful language that showcases the power of words and being true to yourself. A must read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Grover

    “Where so ever you go, go with all your heart.” Picking up the latest book in the Front Desk series was heartwarming. I feel like I know each of these characters personally and find myself cheering for them all the way to the end. @KelllyYang is an inspiration to you people and I hope she continues to tell her stories. I will continue to read and recommend them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Arisha Kabir

    How on Earth do I read this if They don't even let me do it How on Earth do I read this if They don't even let me do it

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bella Rae

    Thanks to Edelweiss+ for providing an E ARC! We're back in 1995 with Mia Tang and her friends in the third installment of Front Desk. I will say, I liked this book better than the second one. But it wasn't quite as good as the first one. Mia and her parents are going to China! After 5 years in America, the Tangs decide to fly back to China to visit family. They also bring Hank with them, because, why not? In China, things are different. There are large businesses, and the city is more modern than Thanks to Edelweiss+ for providing an E ARC! We're back in 1995 with Mia Tang and her friends in the third installment of Front Desk. I will say, I liked this book better than the second one. But it wasn't quite as good as the first one. Mia and her parents are going to China! After 5 years in America, the Tangs decide to fly back to China to visit family. They also bring Hank with them, because, why not? In China, things are different. There are large businesses, and the city is more modern than it was. Mia finds herself missing what used to be there. She also finds that she's "less Chinese now." Her relatives disapprovingly observe how she's forgotten how to use chopsticks, and can't remember some Chinese words. While she's in China, Hank helps a struggling restaurant by making burgers for them and starting a food delivery service. Mia's grandfather submits some of her writing to China Kid's Gazette, and the editor loves it! Mia is given a column, which she writes for even after leaving for America. And they leave less than 50% of the way through the book. I was expecting her to be in China most of the book, but no. They're there less than half of the book. Oh, I forgot to mention, Jason kissed Mia before they left, and she wasn't happy about it. So, when Mia gets back, things are awkward between her and Jason. The Tangs return to find trouble at the Calvista. Vacation Resorts hotel chain want to buy the Calvista. Mr. Cooper, one of the investors, wants to sell, but Mia's family doesn't want to. They eventually uncover that the Vacation Resorts chain is owned by the Magna, their hated rivals, so none of the investors except Mr. Cooper want to sell. They also call the health department on the Magna, and the newspaper posts an article about the Calvista being cleaner than the Magna. Mia starts getting closer to Da-Shawn, who's often Writer of the Week in her class. They go to the dance together, and in a fit of rage, Jason DUMPS AN ENTIRE PUNCH BOWL ON THE GROUND!!!! Yikes. Da-Shawn tells Mia that she's a great person, but he doesn't have a crush on her. She's kind of embarrassed, but eventually realizes that it's okay. She makes up with Jason and Lupe, and they live happily ever after. Oh, yeah, Lupe and Mia were fighting, by the way. Lupe keeps moving up in math and doesn't have time to work at the front desk, and Mia is mad. So she writes a mean article about her "treacherous friend" in the China Kid's Gazette. Lupe reads it, and they have a fight. But, like I said, they make up at the end. THE END Post-book thoughts My review might not have been super accurate, because I honestly forgot part of what happened in the book. I finished it a few days ago, but I already forgot, so I guess it didn't make a huge impression. It was good at the time, but it's not going to be in my long-term memory. I didn't like it all, though. I made a note to bookmark every single thing I didn't like about the book. Here's the list below. Page 17-19: It's mentioned on the news that a black man is favored as the prime suspect in a murder. Everyone at the motel says that the poll is clearly skewed, and that people are just racist. Um, no? If a majority across the entire country thinks someone is guilty, there's a good chance they are. You can't just assume they're racists. Just a paragraph later, Mia and Lupe relay an incident that happened during picture day (I don't remember on what page it was first mentioned on). They're dressed kind of sloppy on picture day because they forgot about it, so the photographer puts them in the back. All the motel people think it's because the photographer is racists against the girls because they're Chinese and Mexican. C'mon, I never went to public school and had pictures made, but I'm pretty sure being put in the back isn't a sign of racism. They're gonna put the nicely dressed kids in the front, because they don't want the kids wearing the ratty clothes to be front and center. Now, that may be slightly offensive to people who aren't very well off and can't afford fancy clothes, but it has nothing to do with skin color. As I mentioned in my review of Three Keys, this series has a bit of a problem with finding racism in every scenario. Page 20-21: Hank goes a bit over the top when following a guidebook of China that tells what to pack. Mia gets offended and pitches a fit over a roll of dang TOILET PAPER. She "covered her eyes and ran back to the manager's quarters." And Hank APOLOGIZES. For not knowing something that no one had bothered to tell him. Seriously? He was just following the guidebook and there was no need to apologize; if you think it's wrong, tell him politely. Act your age. Page 26: Mia and Jason ooh and ahh over how out of this world and realistic Toy Story is. Toy Story. Calm down, girl. It's just a movie. Page 38-39: Mia thinks it's super offensive and racist when her little cousins (I'm talking no older than 8 years old) pat Hank's hair because they've never seen a black person. They're little kids, there's nothing offensive about that. Page 117: Mia writes in her column about how hard it was coming to America with little money. Her mom gets mad at her because her relatives see it, and, "A good Chinese girl does not make her family lose face." So, because she's embarrassed, Mia's mom chews her out for nothing. That got on my nerves. Page 135: I forgot to mention this in my Three Keys review, the book where this first came up; Lupe comes up with a "brilliant" idea to get more customers and more money. She suggests putting bunk beds in the room so you can fit 4 or more people in a room. The motel people say it's "genius." 😲 This means that if you're the only person in your group, than you could share a room with at least three strangers. Uh, no thanks. That's a terrible idea. Page 138: Mia runs away and refuses to talk to Lupe because she got to move up to Geometry. Instead of being HAPPY for her friend, she's mad because Lupe won't have time to work at the desk anymore. Get over yourself. Also, a 7th grader made it into Geometry? I'm not sure if the author remembers what high school math is like. The only time we see Lupe do math in any of the books, it's really simple stuff, but people treat her like a genius. Page 146: Mia's editor in China LOVES when she writes about best friend drama. Really? You're a middle aged man? Why do you enjoy 7th-grade drama so much? Page 179: Mia takes the Geometry entrance test, hoping she can be in the same class as Lupe. She doesn't think she did well, because it had hard questions, like a question about a rhombus! 😐 A rhombus? A 10th grade class entrance exam, and the hard question is about a RHOMBUS????? Once again, I'm not sure if the author remembers what high school math is like. Also, Mia doesn't know what a rhombus is? What do they teach in middle school math?? Page 199: Jason's mom makes a comment about how it'll be hard for him to become a French chef because he doesn't "look" French. That's a terrible thing for a mother to say!! Page 219-220: This is kind of a continuity error. Mia visits Mr. Hadden, who works at the newspaper. He says that she needs to talk to the editor-in-chief about her idea, and proceeds to take her into the office. Then he leaves, and the editor in chief says that Mr. Hadden, "said that you and your family manage a motel over on the Coast." Mr. Hadden didn't say a word to the editor in chief; the entire section is told in detail, and there was not opportunity for him to say anything. Page 303: Mia writes an article in the school article about how girls are labeled as "mean" if they turn down a guy who asks them on a date, but are labeled as "boy crazy" if the girl asks the boy. Good point, but Mia gets a quote from her best friend (who has really nothing to do with this topic; she wasn't one of the people who experienced this). Lupe says, "We're tired of all the labels. The only 'crazy' I want to be called is respect-crazy!" Am I the only one who thinks that the "respect crazy" play on words is super cringey?? Other than that, it's not a bad book. That seems like a lot of complaints, but those are the only things in the entire book that I didn't like. So, it was an improvement over the last book, but not quite as good as book 1. I give this book the second highest score: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    ARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Scholastic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    EARC from Edelweiss Plus I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the Calivista with Mia Tang.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    It’s 1995, and Mia Tang is looking forward to her family’s six week vacation in China. It will be the first time since they moved to America that they are going back, and Mia can’t wait to see her family again. Here in America, she helps her parents and friends with the Calivista Motel, which they own. And now that they have found some success with the motel, they have set aside the money to travel back and see Mia’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. But before she leaves, she has p It’s 1995, and Mia Tang is looking forward to her family’s six week vacation in China. It will be the first time since they moved to America that they are going back, and Mia can’t wait to see her family again. Here in America, she helps her parents and friends with the Calivista Motel, which they own. And now that they have found some success with the motel, they have set aside the money to travel back and see Mia’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. But before she leaves, she has plans to meet her two set friends for a movie and dinner. Toy Story is in the theater, and Mia is excited to see it with Lupe and Jason. Lupe is a friend from school and her partner running the front desk at the motel after school. Jason was a bully to Mia when they first met, but they have since become friends. But at the last minute Lupe calls Mia to tell her that se can’t make it. She got moved ahead in math and English at school, and she is having a lot of trouble keeping up with her work. So it will be just Mia and Jason at the movie and the dinner. Mia loves the movie, but she’s less certain about dinner. Jason wants to try a new chain restaurant that’s opened up, but Mia realizes that the restaurant is where her favorite congee shop was, and she’s sad at its closing. But she focuses on her meal, which is delicious, and on her conversation with Jason. But when e suddenly reaches over and kisses her, she is more than surprised. She doesn’t know what to do or say. But she does know that doesn’t feel that way towards Jason. The next day, Mia and her parents and their friend Hank travel to China. Mia is super excited to see her extended family, but she and her parents can’t believe how much China has changed in the years they’ve been gone. There are cars instead of bikes, there are skyscrapers taking over the horizon, and chain restaurants are popping up. But Mia is still able to enjoy time with her family and seeing the city with Hank, who keeps getting mistaken for Samuel L. Jackson. But Mia has a secret. After she got an article published in a California newspaper, she’s been sending it to other newspapers across the country, to see if she can get published again. She has dozens of rejections. She hasn’t told her parents or her friends about that yet. She was waiting until she got published again. But when she showed her article to her grandfather, he loves her writing and sends it to an editor of a Chinese newspaper that goes out to middle school kids. And the editor there loves it. He wants Mia to write her own column about living in America for his Chinese students, and she agrees. She is so excited to be published again! But after six weeks, it’s time to go back home, and as soon as they show up at the motel again, they are crushed. Two local motels have combined and been redone, so the Calivista is now against a giant motel advertising really low prices. They’ve already lost a lot of business, and it will take all their creative ideas to keep the Calivista open. Also, Mia has six weeks’ worth of homework to catch up on, as well as her friendships with Lupe and Jason to work on. Plus, she’s still writing her column for the newspaper in China and she has a extra writing project in her English class where she gets paired up with De-Shawn, and they talk about starting a student newspaper at the school. But will the Tangs be able to save their motel and stay in California to pursue their American dreams? Or will they get forced out by another big chain? Room to Dream is the third book in the series that author Kelly Yang started with Front Desk. These books about an immigrant family trying to find a better life in 1990s California are warm and inspiring. Based on Yang’s own experience as a kid, there is an authenticity to Mia’s voice and in her unrelenting enthusiasm. Room to Dream is a fun exploration of life in an immigrant family. It’s a fantastic portrait of America and China in the 1990s, the changes that they were going through and how those changes affected the citizens. However, this book has a lot going on. The trip to China could have easily been the entire book; the same could be said of the motel fighting against the giant Mega Motel that opened across the street. There are topics of bullying and respecting boundaries in relationships as well as finding a way to support a friend even if you’re jealous of their success or wanting them to step back to spend more time with you. It will take a strong reader to be able to keep up with Mia, but the story really draws you in and does its best to keep you grounded through all the story lines. It’s a lovely read, and I hope lots of middle schoolers spend some time with Mia in her world. Galleys for Room to Dream were provided by Scholastic Press, with many thanks.

  25. 4 out of 5

    thewanderingjew

    In this third book of the Front Desk series, the author draws from her own life experiences. She has written a book for middle grade children that is both inspiring and instructional. Parents, teachers, and grandparents of children who are that age, are very aware of the trials and tribulations that their loved ones will face, and this book is a good choice for all children, but especially for those who don’t feel they fit in perfectly and are struggling to compete in a tough environment, especi In this third book of the Front Desk series, the author draws from her own life experiences. She has written a book for middle grade children that is both inspiring and instructional. Parents, teachers, and grandparents of children who are that age, are very aware of the trials and tribulations that their loved ones will face, and this book is a good choice for all children, but especially for those who don’t feel they fit in perfectly and are struggling to compete in a tough environment, especially for those who feel that they are a bit different. Mia Tang is 12 years old. She lives in a motel with her parents. They are part owners of the Calivista, and they work very hard. Mia’s dad cleans the motel, Mia runs the front desk, and her mom has just earned her substitute teaching certificate. Mia has two best friends, Jason and Lupe. When she travels with her folks and another part owner, Hank, to China for a month-long vacation, lots of things change in her life, both in China and back in America. For one thing, she becomes a published journalist writing for a Chinese magazine for children. She doesn’t know the proper rules of journalism and puts in some private information about her friends that she does not want anyone back home to read. It would be embarrassing and upsetting to them. For another, she realizes that ignorance can cause racism everywhere, when their part owner, Hank, who has traveled with them, is gawked at. Most of her friends and family in China had never seen a black man before. She realizes that people in China can be just as insensitive as some White people in America. Mia loves to write and has to learn to deal with rejection without losing hope. Jason has to learn to control his temper. Lupe has to manage her time better. Each of them comes from a family with different values and needs. The reader discovers that each of the characters has some trait which makes them outstanding in their own way if they do not give up. The book covers racism, bullying discrimination, loyalty, judgment, integrity, appropriate journalistic behavior often absent today, the corporate vs private world of work, each with a different set of goals, the difficulties immigrants face, and the many situations that pit David against Goliath. The author enlightens the reader as the characters discover that while there is dissatisfaction sometimes, with perseverance, challenges can be overcome. There is always hope. Immigrants make the choice to come to the country, and they understand the sacrifices that have to be made to assimilate. They can always return to their own homeland if they believe opportunities there are greater. America is a good place with many different types of people, some are greedy and discriminate against others, some are selfish, but those kinds of people live everywhere. All of the characters in this book grow and improve with each obstacle they clear. Complaining doesn’t solve a problem, actions do. Telling the truth, even when it is painful, is sometimes the best thing to do. Mia and her friends are courageous and energetic, eager to attack the world and live their lives to the fullest. Is the book realistic, no, probably not. It is more like a fairy tale, but the message it sends is a very worthwhile one to give to each student in the middle grades of life. Yes, Margaret, there are bullies. Yes Margaret, we all make mistakes. Yes Margaret, sometimes it is necessary to apologize or forgive someone else as we grow up and to learn how to better navigate a world full of challenges.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dragons*4 Ever

    📃💜🏮📃💜🏮ROOM TO DREAM📃💜🏮📃💜🏮 3 stars ( THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW ) WARNING: SPOILERS "After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family--to China! A total dream come true. Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China's going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . . 1. Lupe's taking classes at the high school! And Mia's own 📃💜🏮📃💜🏮ROOM TO DREAM📃💜🏮📃💜🏮 3 stars ( THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW ) WARNING: SPOILERS "After years of hard work, Mia Tang finally gets to go on vacation with her family--to China! A total dream come true. Mia can't wait to see all her cousins and grandparents again, especially her cousin Shen. As she roams around Beijing, witnessing some of the big changes China's going through, Mia thinks about the changes in her own life, like . . . 1. Lupe's taking classes at the high school! And Mia's own plans to be a big writer are . . . stuck. 2. Something happened with Jason and Mia has no idea what to do about it. 3. New buildings are popping up all around the motel, and small businesses are disappearing. Can the Calivista survive? Buckle up! Mia is more determined than ever to get through the turbulence, now that she finally has . . . room to dream!" Sadly. for me this book fell short from the other too, it was good nevertheless. There were many pros- and cons towards this story so I'll be writing about what I loved and scenes or choices that were not my favorite. The first 20 chapters were heartfelt, but hard to connect with, Mia spent most of her time in China, and we dealt with the emotions that she felt "she was not Chinese enough." Mia's cousin Shen has a jam-packed schedule with tutors, life in China has changed and the economy is improving for some and making life harder for others. Mia's' Aunt Juli, is rich and tension rises between her mother and aunt. I love how the author wrote those scenes, where others would be mean to her parents because they are not wealthy, those scenes were sorrowful and made you feel all riled up to shield her parents. Mia starts a column in China, but she writes about Jason, how he kissed her and boys , and she writes about her friends blaming them, and who she likes for millions of people to read. She comes up with a mantra "They won't see it so it doesn't matter." That's not a fair excuse to to badmouth your friends and thing they won't see it. That was foolish, and the whole time I was aghast at her choice. Lupe is now in high-school, since she skipped many grades, as she was ahead of her grade at school, rather then feeling happy, the anger overrides everything. I understand, it's okay to feel jealous, everyone does, but Mia only thinks "Lupe doesn't want to hang out with me anymore!" "She's abandoning me." And so she badmouths her friends. Personally I think the author is exceptionally skilled at writing, but Mia... I think people over estimate or give her more credit then deserved. I felt mostly, disconnected and bored when reading this. Mia is still immature, this dealt more with crushes and boys then racism. ( Like it normally does ). And more miracles kept on happening to save there hotel Calivista. Lupe and Mia had some friendship problems and Mia did't try to find out Lupe's side of the story. Mia relationship was with Jason was strained so much, when they got in many fights. This one was good nevertheless the, the big theme was about crushes and boys, fitting in. Though it was my least favorite of the trilogy, it was a good finish to the series and the ending tied to together perfectly. For all the atrocious things happening the lesson was heartfelt, and the friendship between the three was great to see them work through things together.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Just as I liked the previous two titles featuring Mia Tang [Front Desk and Three Keys], this one, the third in a series, didn't disappoint. I can just picture the readers of each book growing along with Mia, making mistakes, celebrating successes, and realizing that change is inevitable. Mia, her parents, and Hank travel to China for six weeks over the Christmas holidays, and Mia finds that her homeland has changed in many different ways. She still manages to enjoy some of her favorite foods coo Just as I liked the previous two titles featuring Mia Tang [Front Desk and Three Keys], this one, the third in a series, didn't disappoint. I can just picture the readers of each book growing along with Mia, making mistakes, celebrating successes, and realizing that change is inevitable. Mia, her parents, and Hank travel to China for six weeks over the Christmas holidays, and Mia finds that her homeland has changed in many different ways. She still manages to enjoy some of her favorite foods cooked by her grandmother or from various vendors, but there are other special places that have closed and the streets are congested with cars instead of bicycles as was the case five years ago. She reconnects with her cousin Shen and begins writing a column for China Kids Gazette. She continues doing so after she returns to Anaheim, but she realizes that perhaps she has been more honest and more biased about what she's written about her friends Jason and Lupe. She also notices that her parents seem embarrassed about their socioeconomic status and the fact that her father is part-owner of a small hotel and not a big business. Little details such as how Mia and her mother notice that her aunt's maid is wearing the sweater that Mrs. Tang brought to her sister from the United States add poignancy to the visit and the book. Once the family arrives back home, they discover that things have not gone well. A chain hotel has bought out some of their competition and has cut prices for stays so deeply that the Calivista may not be able to stay in business. Mia can't bear the thought of losing her job at the front desk and seeing her parents struggle again especially since her mother is now a certified substitute teacher and is starting to see at least one of her dreams come true. To add to Mia's worries, Lupe is on an accelerated track in school and she barely sees her, and there is still awkward between Mia and Jason after his impulsive kiss before she left for China. Jason becomes increasingly angry at Mia's budding friendship with Da-Shawn, a talented writer in their class. Covering a wide variety of topics from consent to gentrification to racism to first crushes, this book is full of heart and hope. Mia is such a striver, imperfect but perfectly loveable, and readers will enjoy watching her continue to grow. It's always inspiring to watch a young person or a young character fight against the system and win--and Mia does it time and time again. While it might be hard to believe that her investigative reporting would make its way into newspapers as hers does or that a seventh grader could solve problems that adults couldn't, many of these experiences were drawn from the author's own life. Perhaps that's what makes them so fresh and so enjoyable. I hope in the next book--if there is another one--that Mia's father will get a little bit of space or room to dream too. Having Mia's letters to classmates and her newspaper columns adds some variety to the storytelling and the reading experience.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Middle grade realistic fiction. This is the 3rd book in the series started by Front Desk, and I do think it is much more enjoyable having read the first 2. Mia is starting another school year without Lupe by her side. Lupe goes to the high school in the morning for advanced math, while Mia and Jason stay in the middle school. Due to Lupe's harder classes, she also has less time to spend at the Calivista after school. Mia and Jason end up spending a lot of time together, and end up going on a dat Middle grade realistic fiction. This is the 3rd book in the series started by Front Desk, and I do think it is much more enjoyable having read the first 2. Mia is starting another school year without Lupe by her side. Lupe goes to the high school in the morning for advanced math, while Mia and Jason stay in the middle school. Due to Lupe's harder classes, she also has less time to spend at the Calivista after school. Mia and Jason end up spending a lot of time together, and end up going on a date that Mia wasn't quite prepared for. Mia also gets the chance to go back to China with her parents and Hank, and they stay for 6 weeks. In China, Mia expected to feel more comfortable because she doesn't stand out physically from everyone else like she does in the US. But she doesn't speak fluent Mandarin anymore, she's not great with chopsticks, and definitely is out of practice with the squatlet toilet that is outside her grandparents' home. While visiting, it becomes clear to Mia that her grandparents still love her, that her Aunt Juli's family has become very wealthy, and she really did miss her cousin Shen. But when the family returns to California, things are not well at the motel. The two other hotels on the street have joined forces and become one mega hotel. The Calivista gets a purchase offer, and Mia's family have to weigh the pros and cons with their team of investors. When it becomes clear that the new owners make no guarantee of letting the staff and weeklies remain, Mia is determined to sway the investors' minds towards keeping the motel. But can the team stand their ground against the corporate forces when so many local shops and restaurants have already been bought out? Another great story by Kelly Yang. I enjoyed seeing life in China, and thought the friendship drama was very realistic. Yang sensitively deals with the importance of consent and gentrification while never going above the heads of the target audience. I was happy to return to this world and spend an evening with Mia and her friends. Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Many thanks to @librarianmsg for sharing Kelly Yang’s newest book about Mia’s adventure at the Calivista Motel. Happily, Mia is back at the front desk of the Calivista. She’s in seventh grade now and so much is changing. Her best friend, Lupe, is taking classes at the high school and has no time to work at the motel with Mia, the two motels next door have been replaced by a giant Magma motel who is underselling the Calivista, her good friend, Jason, is getting a little too friendly (Mia just wan Many thanks to @librarianmsg for sharing Kelly Yang’s newest book about Mia’s adventure at the Calivista Motel. Happily, Mia is back at the front desk of the Calivista. She’s in seventh grade now and so much is changing. Her best friend, Lupe, is taking classes at the high school and has no time to work at the motel with Mia, the two motels next door have been replaced by a giant Magma motel who is underselling the Calivista, her good friend, Jason, is getting a little too friendly (Mia just wants to be friends!), and neighborhood small businesses are being bought out by mega chains. However, something really great is happening, too. Mia and her family are returning to China for a month-long visit after being away for five years. I especially liked visiting 1995 Beijing with Mia. I’m certain readers will find the descriptions of China, just as they begin to modernize, as enlightening, as I did. Middle graders will identify with so many of Mia’s feelings about friends, family and growing up. Just as they are, Mia is struggling with friendships and first crushes. They will also be inspired as she once again uses her creativity and determination to fight for what she believes in and save the motel. This is the third book in the series about Mia, her friends, her family and the Calivista motel. It follows author, Kelly Yang’s life, a Chinese immigrant who at the age of six came to the U.S. with her family and faced hardship and discrimination as they went for the American dream. It is such a satisfying end to Mia’s story. This is a book for every elementary and middle school’s collection. It’s available 9.21.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Netra Surana

    It's my first time reading a children's book other than harry potter. The reading was to post a guest review on a website. But safe to say, this was the most mature book even after being intended for a child between 8-12 years of age. It tackles important topics like racism, sexism, and not being able to belong completely due to being an immigrant. It keeps its focus on these topics without taking on a heavier tone of storytelling which makes it perfect for kids. Essentially, in this book, we ar It's my first time reading a children's book other than harry potter. The reading was to post a guest review on a website. But safe to say, this was the most mature book even after being intended for a child between 8-12 years of age. It tackles important topics like racism, sexism, and not being able to belong completely due to being an immigrant. It keeps its focus on these topics without taking on a heavier tone of storytelling which makes it perfect for kids. Essentially, in this book, we are following Mia Tang, a Chinese-American, as she and her family take a vacation to China for the first time in five years. There she meets her favourite cousin Shen, her aunt, uncle and grandparents. The excitement of it all leaves quickly when she starts getting comments about her tanned skin. After returning from China, they discover that their motel is in trouble due to corporate control and influence, resulting in the closing of several small businesses. Through this all, Mia shows resilience and determination. She stands up for herself and her family while reigniting her passion for writing as well as developing journalism skills on the side. Apart from dealing with racial issues and corporeal issues, We also see Mia, her friend Lupe and Jason, becoming a powerful and skilful friendship trio. This book has characters representing from all backgrounds. We have Mia who is Chinese-American, Lupe who is from Mexico, Jason who is Asian, and Hank who is African-American. It is perfect for kids, as it teaches them how discrimination according to someone's race/ culture/ color is not okay. It also teaches them to be brave and respect others at the same time.

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