Thursday, August 4, 2022

Today's read... Wei to Go! by Lee Y. Miao

Today's read heads to life in California and a brother and sister's adventures. I enjoyed the energy to on the front cover, and it seems to promise a more wholesome read. After reading the blurb, I am curious to see how it handles the main character's concern for her dad's job. I can't remember a book for middle graders, which tackles something like this (although I'm sure there are some out it below if you know some titles!). 

Since it's also the beginning to a new series, I think it's worth more than a small peek. Shall we?

Ellis & Co, Book 1
by Lee Y. Miao
Clear Fork Media Group LLC
Middle Grade Contemporary
298 pages
ages 8 to 12


Ellie Wei Pettit doesn’t know much about her middle name.
She gets lost a lot. And loves butting heads with her lacrosse-crazed brother. He has the same middle name.
But he’s a walking GPS. And loves butting heads with his word-nerdy sister.

Life is good in their California neighborhood.
Until a mysterious Asian corporation threatens her dad’s firm.
With only a week before her family gives up all they love.

No way that Ellie will let this happen.
Not now. Not ever.
Can she stop this by herself, like yesterday?




A young girl's desire to help her family not only poses a big challenge, but teaches her just how vast the world truly is.

Ellie is finally finding more footing in life. She's got a best friend, a good relationship with her family (well, she won't admit that where her younger brother is concerned), and is about to start her first successful softball season after a bad beginning year. When she returns home after a day's practice, she learns that her father's company is being taken over by a firm in Hong Kong. Refusing to risk moving away from her home, she convinces her mother to take her on her trip to Hong Kong (along with her brother in tow). There, she plans to find a way to save the company, and although that was already a pretty big task, now, she realizes how ridiculously large it is.

This is a wholesome read with a girl, who has tons of determination, a love for life, spunk, and, still, isn't perfect. Little things such as her inability to immediately pick-up sports and her extreme lack of direction make her a heroine to root for. Of course, she has strengths, but these obvious problems make her easy for readers to connect with. She comes across naturally, makes understandable decisions even when they are mistakes, and has more than enough drive to do what she thinks needs to be done. Since it's written in her point of view, it's very easy to follow her reasoning and thoughts as well. 

While the mystery and tension are well laid in these pages and drive the story forward in an exciting way, there are also tidbits of information about China and the culture. The reader comes out knowing a bit of history, habits, learning a few words, and having a better grasp for what life is like in the country, and that they discover it right along with Ellie is a plus. There's also a bit to learn about business and the professional world. While that seems like a lot of brain-food, it's never boring thanks to the the adventure and hurdles Ellie and her brother meet along the way.

I especially enjoyed the sense of family in these pages. Ellie's relationship with her parents is warm and full of goodness. While she does sneak around them, the entire adventure is her attempt to keep their life as good as it is. Her irritation with her brother does bring more than a smile or two and is super-sweet in so far that's it's clear how much they truly like each other underneath those prickly layers. Plus, they add balance to one another in the best ways.

This is a lovely start to what promises to be a fun series. Ellie is definitely a girl with tons of ideas and the determination to reach her goals. So, I have no doubt that her adventures will never bring a boring moment.

And here she is...

Lee grew up in a small Pennsylvania town with a fabulous library. After studying international relations in college, she worked for a magazine in New York City and then went on to graduate studies in business. Her California-based international banking work included a stint in Asia for a few years. Eventually, she became a freelance writer and editor for grades 6–8 English language arts and social studies and then pivoted to writing middle-grade fiction. She lives with her family in New York. 

Contact information: Lee Y. Miao

Instagram: @leeymiao.writer  



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