Maizy Chen’s Last Chance

Finalist, National Book Awards 2022 for Young People's Literature

book cover for Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
ISBN 9781984830258
Random House Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
author photo of Lisa Yee. (Photo credit: Emi Fujii)
Lisa Yee

Lisa Yee is the award-winning author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time; So Totally Emily Ebers; Absolutely Maybe; and many other books, including the DC Super Hero Girls series and numerous American Girl books. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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.

Judges Citation

With humor, warmth, and deceptive simplicity, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance offers a delectable story of food, family, and community that deftly interweaves Maizy’s modern-day fight against racism with her ancestor’s struggle to live under the Chinese Exclusion Act. Prickly relationships, intergenerational tensions, intriguing mysteries, and deep love imbue Yee’s poignant novel with the messy contradictions of real life while anchoring the Chen family’s present within the enduring legacy of its past—and the history of Chinese immigrants in America.


Lisa Yee at the 2022 National Book Awards Finalist Reading