Maizy's story is a fascinating look at how children relate to their parents, about the expectations of the children of immigrants, and about how powerful family history can be. Maizy's mother takes her back to her grandparents' home because her grandfather is seriously ill. Maizy doesn't really have a relationship with them - they disagreed with her mother's career as a food artist and have not been in Maizy's life. Now Maizy and her mom are living in her mother's childhood home and trying to help out with her grandfather's doctor visits and the restaurant while navigating the distance that has grown between her mother and grandparents over the years. It doesn't help that Maizy feels out of place as one of the few Asian Americans in the small town, especially after there is vandalism and some hateful graffiti at the restaurant.
I enjoyed the time Maizy spent with her grandfather and the stories he told her about their family's past. Many readers will probably encounter the concept of "paper sons" for the first time in this novel, since it is not often included in social studies lessons. I hope that they become curious enough to do some research of their own about those details in American history - the Gold Rush, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and other parts of Opa's stories. Watching Maizy accept her Oma and Opa and helping them to accept her mother's choices is a heartwarming and at times heart-wrenching journey, but readers will be glad they took it.
I read an advance copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.