the many meanings of meilan
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Meilan Hua’s world is made up of a few key ingredients: her family’s beloved matriarch, Nainai; the bakery her parents, aunts, and uncles own and run in Boston’s Chinatown; and the Chinese fairy tales Meilan is obsessed with.
After Nainai passes, the family has a falling-out that sends Meilan, her parents, and her grieving grandfather on the road in search of a new home. They take a winding path cross-country before landing in Redbud, Ohio. Everything in Redbud is the opposite of Chinatown and Meilan’s not quite sure who she is — being renamed at school only makes it worse. She decides she is many Meilans, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Sometimes she is Mist, cool and invisible; other times, she’s Basket, carrying her parents’ hopes and dreams and her guilt about not living up to them; and sometimes she is bright Blue, the way she feels around her new friend Logan. Meilan keeps her facets separate until an injustice at school shows her the power of bringing her many selves together.
The Many Meanings of Meilan, written in stunning prose by Andrea Wang, is an exploration of all the things it’s possible to grieve, the injustices large and small that make us rage, and the peace and joy that’s unlocked when you learn to find home within yourself.
Andrea Wang is the award-winning author of The Nian Monster and Magic Ramen. Her debut middle grade novel, The Many Meanings of Meilan, releases in 2021. Her work explores culture, creative thinking, and identity. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in Colorado with her family.