Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Eighth grade salutatorian, Ana Shen, has a crush on the valedictorian, Jamie Tabata. With summer vacation looming and the prospect of different high schools in the fall threatening Ana’s chance to tell Jamie how she feels, her friend, Chelsea, convinces her to have a dinner party. For most families this probably wouldn’t be a problem, but for the Shens it could be a catastrophe. Nai Nai always has something going on, whether it’s a complaint about Grandma White’s gumbo or disappointment because she thinks Ana likes her maternal grandparent’s gift better than the huen bao, or red packet with money , that she and her husband offer.

With all of the bickering between the grandmas, Ana’s not sure if her family will make good hosts. Before they know it, they are preparing a feast of fried chicken, gumbo, pot stickers, and cake just in time for storytelling and uninvited guests. Sherri L. Smith offers another funny, family-centered read.