Delightful and insightful are two words that describe Lisa Yee’s middle grade fiction Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, (Random House, 2022). Yee’s wonderful sense of humor is on display, enhancing the tale of Maizy’s attempts to solve family and community mysteries, both contemporary and historical. The story within a story about the immigrant experience, told to Maizy by her grandfather Opa, is skillfully sprinkled throughout the narrative, like nuggets of pork in a scrumptious stir fry. I came to love Maizy and her family (past and present) and the townsfolk she befriends at the Golden Dragon, the family’s Chinese restaurant in Last Chance, Minnesota. With such memorable characters, a mystery to solve, foodie tidbits, and some poker tips from Opa thrown in, it’s no surprise that this novel has earned so many awards, capped off by the prestigious Newbery Honor Medal. If you’re ready to smile some, cry some, and learn some, take a chance on Maizy Chen.
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