Maizy Chen's Last Chance (Hardcover)

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Maizy Chen's Last Chance By Lisa Yee Cover Image
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Eleven year old Maizy has only met her grandparents once.  They live halfway across the country in the small town of Last Chance, MN.  She’s never been-until now.  When her Opa becomes ill, Maizy and her mother fly out to spend the summer and help run the family restaurant, the Golden Palace.  Last Chance is quite a bit different from Los Angeles, but Maizy soon settles in; exploring the town, making new friends, and meeting a whole cast of interesting characters.  She spends time with Opa while he recovers, and what begins as tentative bonding over a food travel TV show, rapidly becomes something much deeper as Opa tells Maizy stories about the life of his grandfather, Lucky Chen, an immigrant from China in the 1800s.  As the stories unfold, Maizy begins to see connections to her life, both concrete and abstract.  When facing racism, Maizy leans on family and friends and learns that one of the Chen family’s greatest legacies is creating community and connections.  And that legacy is in Maizy’s very capable hands.  This story is hilarious, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and healing.  Yee’s impeccable research shines through, including several pages of back matter that are not to be missed. 

— From Lauren


Packed with surprises, heart, and stories within stories, this irresistible novel from an award-winning author celebrates food, fortune, and family.

Welcome to the Golden Palace!

Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota . . . until now. Her mom’s plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance (where she and her family are the only Asian Americans) and at the Golden Palace—the restaurant that’s been in her family for generations—she makes some discoveries. For instance:
  • You can tell a LOT about someone by the way they order food. 
  • And people can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in disappointing ways.
  • And the Golden Palace has secrets.

  • But the more Maizy discovers, the more questions she has. Like, why are her mom and her grandmother always fighting? Who are the people in the photographs on the office wall? And when she discovers that a beloved family treasure has gone missing—and someone has left a racist note—Maizy decides it’s time to find the answers.

    “Heartfelt, personal, and real—this book is a gift.” —TAE KELLER, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger

    About the Author

    Lisa Yee’s debut novel, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Her other novels for young people, with nearly two million copies in print, include Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, So Totally Emily Ebers, Absolutely Maybe, and two books about a fourth grader, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes). Lisa is also the author of American Girl’s Kanani books and Good Luck, Ivy. Her novel Warp Speed is about a Star Trek geek who gets beat up every day at school.    Lisa is a former Thurber House Children’s writer-in-residence whose books have been chosen as an NPR Best Summer Read, a Sports Illustrated Kids Hot Summer Read, and a USA Today Critics’ Top Pick.    Visit Lisa at

    Praise For…

    Praise for Maizy Chen's Last Chance

    ★ “Lisa Yee combines neglected U.S. history and multi-generational family legends… to create the delightful and enlightening Maizy Chen's Last Chance.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

    ★ “A moving, multilayered family narrative.” —Booklist, starred review

    ★ “Captivating... and prompts readers to consider what it means to be American.” —The Horn Book, starred review

    Heartfelt, personal, and real—this book is a gift. Readers will cheer and feel for Maizy as she bonds with her grandparents, discovers the joys and pains of growing up, and learns about her family’s Chinese American history.” —Tae Keller, Newbery-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger

    “Bursting with humor and heart, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance celebrates the power of food, family, understanding our roots, and stepping up to help others when it matters the most.” —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author of Breakout and Chirp

    “I love this book. This is a big story and brings up much-needed discussion about the importance of community, history, and truth.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781984830258
    ISBN-10: 1984830252
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Publication Date: February 1st, 2022
    Pages: 288
    Language: English