Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Three Keys (Front Desk #2) by Kelly Yang


6th Grade and Up


Mia Tang thinks she’s going to have the best year ever.
She and her parents are the proud owners of the Calivista Motel, Mia gets to run the front desk with her best friend, Lupe, and she’s finally getting somewhere with her writing! But as it turns out, sixth grade is no picnic…
1. Mia’s new teacher doesn’t think her writing is all that great.
2. The motel is struggling, and Mia has to answer to the Calivista’s many, many worried investors.
3. A new immigration law is looming and if it passes, it will threaten everything—and everyone—in Mia’s life.
It’s a roller coaster of challenges, and Mia needs all of her determination to hang on tight. But if anyone can find the key to getting through turbulent times, it’s Mia Tang!


I was not expecting Kelly Yang to write a sequel to Front Desk. I hadn’t realized how much of the story I had forgotten. I had to skim speed read through the first book to catch up.


Just like the first book, this story tackles some seriously complex social issues. Those issues mainly being undocumented immigrants and Proposition 187. For those of you who don’t know, Proposition 187 was a 1994 ballot initiative which sought to deny public services to immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status. I’m not even going to try to explain it any more than that. I just cannot wrap my mind around it all.


The one aspect of the story I want to discuss is all the hate and cruelty directed towards immigrants. I was disgusted by how some people used Proposition 187 as an excuse to be cruel to immigrants, both illegal and legal. I’m not a fan of immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally. They are technically breaking the law. But regardless of the circumstances, they should not be treated with outright hatred. Immigrants have enough problems. They don’t need to deal with harassment on top of everything else.


There are a few holes in the story. For one thing, it was explained how people come into the U.S. illegally but it was never explained how someone can come into the U.S. legally. All they talked about was having the right papers and that wasn’t enough of an explanation.


From personal experiences, I found it very hard to believe that kids would discuss current events of any kind. As a quiet and naive kid I had no idea what was going on in the world. I can’t speak for my past classmates but what little bits of conversations I could understand were about miscellaneous nonsense. I’m glad there are more books like this so kids can learn about these hard subjects.


Although these are difficult subjects, I hope kids can learn that it’s not ok to discriminate, regardless of the reason. Read this book and you can work out your own opinion.

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