Shanghai Girls: A Novel

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Though both sisters wave off authority and tradition, they couldn’t be more different: Pearl is a Dragon sign, strong and stubborn, while May is a true Sheep, adorable and placid. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree . . . until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, one that will take them through the Chinese countryside, in and out of the clutch of brutal soldiers, and across the Pacific to the shores of America. In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules. At its heart, Shanghai Girls is a story of sisters: Pearl and May are inseparable best friends who share hopes, dreams, and a deep connection, but like sisters everywhere they also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. They love each other, but each knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt the other the most. Along the way they face terrible sacrifices, make impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this novel hold fast to who they are–Shanghai girls.

Mi Sueno De America/ My American Dream

Young Yuliana Gallegos recalls her move from Monterrey, Mexico, to Houston, Texas. Initially excited about moving to Houston, where the huge freeways make her feel like she’s on a roller coaster, her excitement quickly wanes when she starts school. Everything is different at Yuli’s new school, and her discomfort is magnified by her classmates’ stares.

And to make matters worse, she learns that in spite of studying English in Mexico, she can’t understand anything that’s being said. All she wants to do is go back to her school in Monterrey. Yuli poignantly records the fear and anguish experienced by all immigrant children as they strive to adjust to a new language and culture. With the help of a compassionate teacher, a Japanese girl who becomes her friend, and her own determination to excel at her studies, Yuli gradually learns to speak English and feel comfortable in her new environment.