School is out for the summer, but instead of languid days by the pool, 12-year-old Chinese adoptee Lindy Mackay must complete an unusual assignment.
“Follow your heart to discover your abilities and talents,” prescribes her middle school principal. Lindy is wracked with anxiety. On top of her project, her family is opening a bed-and-breakfast in their new Manhattan brownstone. Her mom and dad, who are both white, disagree on how to attract customers, and with each week that passes, tensions rise, worrying Lindy. Luckily, the frustrations of schoolwork and family business are relieved by the arrival of a neighbor’s grandson, Tyler (who is white), and his dog. Together Lindy and Tyler visit different spots in the city to help Lindy discover her true passion. Schroeder captures the angst of preteens and young teens who are feeling the pressure to figure out who they are. Lindy’s fears of failure are palpable and exhume familiar insecurities. The insertions of her writing (stories and poems) add further texture to her story. The rare hiccups in the text arise when narrator Lindy encounters characters of color, who are too often described only as dark-skinned. “Dark” is too loose and relative to stand alone, especially considering that Lindy’s race is important and another character is clearly described as Asian. Despite this fumbling of ethnicity, Lindy’s journey comforts those in search of themselves.
Sweet and familiar Lindy makes this story hard to resist. (Fiction. 9-12)