Wendy Wan-Long Shang gives readers a fascinating look at the ups and downs of a fairly typical 6th grader in THE GREAT WALL OF LUCY WU (Scholastic 2011). Lucy has been waiting all summer for school to begin again. Her older sister, the perfect Chinese-American daughter, will head off to college. Lucy will have a room of her own, finally. Basketball season will start up again. What could be better? Unfortunately, all does not go as Lucy has planned. She gets a new roommate, the long-lost sister of her grandmother, an old woman who speaks barely a word of English. Then, her parents inform Lucy she will attend Chinese school on Saturdays instead of basketball practice. Could things get worse?
Lucy is your average 6th grader: boys are starting to be attractive; mean girls can put you in your place; parents exist to torture you. Chinese history and culture and language are effortlessly woven into this story about how one girl manages to deal with her insecurities. Fans of Grace Lin and Lisa Yee will appreciate this new voice. However, bearing in mind that books are both mirrors and windows, there is much here that will appeal to all tween girls. <82>