18 Oct / Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu [in Booklist]
With a Chinese immigrant father and a white mother, Willa Chen examines her new adulthood as an untethered millennial. “If you’re undercared for, but essentially fine, what do you do with all that hurt, the kind that runs through your tendons and tugs on your muscles, but doesn’t show up on your skin?”
Her parents divorced early and moved on to new families, leaving Willa to shuttle in-between, never fitting into either. At 24, she’s become the nanny to 9-year-old Bijou, the precocious only child of wealthy white parents, a family so different from her disjointed own. Living in their Tribeca floor-through apartment, Willa quickly adapts to a privileged-adjacent lifestyle but remains well aware that she’s an outsider; racist microaggressions never quite cease.
Debuting novelist Kyle Lucia Wu, already recognized with fellowships, residencies, and teaching appointments, crafts impressive, insightful prose: “I didn’t hate him. I didn’t know I could,” “my senses are covered in tulle, dramatic and scratchy,” “She was still unfinished – new enough to be kind.” Though of interest, her novel doesn’t quite reach the same lofty level, ultimately proving more self-indulgent than self-aware.