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"Finally Seen," | Reviewed by Alayna Rives

Finally, after five years, she would see her family again. In Kelly Yang’s story, “Finally Seen,” 10-year-old Lina Gao, a Chinese immigrant, goes to live in America where she joins her mother, father, and younger sister.

Lina had been living in China with Lao Lao, her grandmother, who was moved into a nursing home and isn’t very keen about the whole idea. Leaving China is hard, but Lina is excited to live in a two story house with her microbiologist father; her mother, who works in a fancy salon; and her little sister, Millie.

After Lina gets off the plane to America, she manages to find her parents, and they enjoy a happy reunion. Lina faces her first challenge when her parents give her money to buy water. Sparkling or Still? There are different types of water? For help Lina calls on her little 7-year-old sister has to help her order water. Anyway, at least she has other things to look forward to in America? Well, maybe not.

As it turns out, she does not live in a two story house, rather a small apartment in which the family is struggling to pay rent. Also, her dad isn't a microbiologist, he works for a farmer, and her mother has lost her job. So not only did her parents leave her in China, they lied in the letters they sent to her there. So much for the “American Dream.”

Then there’s school in the United States, an endless array of problems—trying to speak a new language, having kids tease you relentlessly, and trying to make friends. The whole long while, Lina is helping her mother and sister run a small bath-bomb business to try to pay for their house rent. Lina can’t help wondering about what will happen if they can’t pay it?

One thing that really helps Lina through school, well through pretty much everything, is reading. Lina takes a great liking to graphic novels, especially “Flea Shop,” which is about a Chinese immigrant whose family started a flea market.

Thankfully Lina also finds people who can help lead her in the right directions, like Finn, Mrs. Ortiz, Mrs. Hollins, and Carla. Unfortunately, some people make things harder, like Jessica. Meanwhile, Lina is trying to hide all her feelings, her disappointment in American life, her sadness that her family left her in China years ago, and all the hard things that are going on at school. Lina just wishes she could make her parents proud of her, or that they would say “I love you.”

But everything has good and bad, right? Lina just has to learn to speak up for what she believes in to be finally seen. This novel really expressed how life is like a story with different chapters. Some chapters are good, some are bad. It reminds me you can’t choose what happens to you but you can choose how to deal with what happens to you.

Anyone who likes a good, well-written book should take a look at “Finally Seen” by Kelly Yang.



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