NEW FROM HERE, by Kelly Yang, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 1, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Set during the initial coronavirus outbreak, Kelly Yang’s New from Here follows an Asian American boy and his family as they face racism amidst family separation.
When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, 10-year-old Knox Wei-Evans’s mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California, where they think they will be safe. Suddenly, Knox has two days to prepare for an international move — and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work.
At his new school in California, Knox struggles with being the new kid. His classmates think that because he’s from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom just got fired and is panicking over the loss of health insurance, and Dad doesn’t even know when he’ll see them again, since the flights have been cancelled. And everyone struggles with Knox’s blurting-things-out problem.
As racism skyrockets during COVID-19, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you’re feared; can you protect if you’re new? And how do you keep a family together when you are oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through it is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness. —Synopsis provided by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
New From Here is inspired by author Kelly Yang’s own experiences during the pandemic. There’s a weight behind her words that rings true at every turn. Though you may not want to believe in the reality of what happened, you can’t help but know it’s true.
At the center of New from Here is Knox, a 10-year-old with ADHD that just wants his family to be together. He’s bright and a bit loud and lots of fun. He’s the kind of character that you know is going to take you on a great journey. And though Knox is the main character, Yang surrounds him with strong supporters that feel well-developed and grounded.
New from Here is a pandemic story that readers will find both relatable and thought-provoking. Yang looks at the experience through a different lens than many will have used, providing readers with a fresh and unique perspective.
As with Yang’s other middle-grade books (the Front Desk series), I can’t recommend New from Here enough. Emotional, smart and funny, it’s a great option for readers young and old.
Copyright © 2022 Cracking the Cover. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.