The Unbeatable Lily Hong
Author: Diana Ma
A smart, funny, and heartfelt middle grade novel about Lily Hong’s attempts to save her parents’ Chinese school and the town’s community center using all the resources she has—devoted friends, ingenuity, a passion for filmmaking, mediocre dance moves (at best), and perhaps even her archnemesis.
If there’s one thing Lily Hong can’t stand, it’s being second best. That’s why she and Max Zhang have been bitter rivals ever since he swooped into town as the new kid with the cool clothes and his fancy downtown Chinese school and showed her up in the fifth-grade reading challenge. She had wanted to be the one to win the pizza party for their class. Okay, so that was two years ago . . . her best friends Kelli and Lauren didn’t totally get it, but they were on her side. And that’s why they agreed to help Lily with her submission for the Clarktown’s Got Talent video competition. Filmmaking is Lily’s passion—which means winning is more important to her than ever.
Unfortunately, finding time to work on her video submission is proving harder than ever. In addition to doing regular homework and attending the Chinese school her parents own and run out of the Clarktown Community Center, Lily’s been getting weird vibes from her parents lately and she can tell something is up. Then her mom announces that the Clarktown Community Center is having its first showcase, and the students of Hong Chinese Academy will be performing as a group—traditional Chinese dance! Lily is more confused than anything else—the community center is practically falling apart and they think this is a good time to put on a show? Could it be that the community center is in trouble and the only way to save it is to make the showcase a huge success? Lily has no choice. She’ll have to juggle the video competition and the art of Chinese dance simultaneously. But when Max Zhang unexpectedly shows up in her class at Chinese school with his perfect Mandarin and his surprisingly good dance skills, Lily might just have to embrace her longtime rival as a key part of her plan to save the community center.