Author(s): Kelly Yang
Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma.
They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California.
Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out.
Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. But Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course when her debate coach starts working with her privately.
As they steer their own distinct paths, Dani and Claire keep crashing into one another, setting a course that will change their lives forever.
“[Parachutes] is about the radical possibility of young women finding and detonating their voices. Yang takes a sledgehammer to rape culture itself, swinging with equal parts artistry and force. If this were a television series it would look fabulous and land deep.”
"In her YA debut, Yang (Front Desk) draws from personal experience and the news to tell a contemporary story of class discrepancy, the pervasiveness of rape culture, and the Asian diaspora... a multifaceted read, by turns poignant, fun, and exultant in its celebration of the multitudinous experiences and strength inherent in diasporic identity."
"A fierce entrance into YA, navigating a plethora of complex themes with great honesty... Claire and Dani’s mettle and solidarity as they contend with the institutions and privilege that hide abuse is gripping and empowering. Yang offers a compelling exploration of the parachute experience and the intersection of ethnicity, class, and reputation, while underscoring striking cultural parallels between America and China. Strong characterization and thoughtful writing make for an unforgettable read."
"Yang deftly weaves in parallels to recent real-life events... On top of these explorations of nationality and wealth is the realistically pervasive look at rape culture... In short alternating chapters narrated by Dani and Claire, Yang creates a delicate balance between these heavier issues and the lighter moments of high school... [A] powerful exploration of race, class, and power through multiple lenses... An engrossing read that will spark discussions on a wide range of issues."
"Yang has created two distinct and vibrant voices that shimmer with passion for both justice and independence... The convincing narrative, told in alternating first-person perspectives, confronts pervasive and xenophobic stereotypes, with secondary characters’ complex identities adding depth and emotion to the story."
"Yang writes astutely about the destabilizing combination of family expectations, copious wealth, and absence of adult supervision. She’s also sharply perceptive about the class and race complexities of a community that contains rich Asian visitors and American-born Asians, great wealth and straitened circumstances... A spirited slice of cultural life and story of girls facing cruel inequities, and Yang’s compelling author’s note about parachutes and her own experience of being sexually assaulted adds another poignant facet."
“Parachutes is a force. As fast-paced as it is powerful, its story of immigration, social class, and rape culture calls out the damaging consequences of privilege in ways that will make readers want to speak up and take action.”
“Parachutes is not just a searing drama that explores the lives of Asians in America, it’s a courageous, empowering story about how high women can soar when they lift each other up.”
Awards and Praise for Front Desk: Asian / Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature
Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Fiction Award Winner
Named a Best Book of the Year by:
School Library Journal
New York Public Library
Chicago Public Library
Top Ten Debut Novels 2018
* “Debut author Yang weaves in autobiographical content while creating a feisty and empowered heroine. The supporting characters are rich in voice and context ...achingly reveal life in America in the 1990s for persons of color and those living in poverty.”