The comeback

E. L. Shen

Book - 2021

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen dreams of being a figure skating champion, but a remarkably talented new girl at the arena and a racist classmate at school test her resolve.--

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jFICTION/Shen, E. L.
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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jFICTION/Shen, E. L. Due May 29, 2022
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux 2021.
First edition
Physical Description
265 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Ages 8-12.
Grades 4-6.
Main Author
E. L. Shen (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Twelve-year-old figure skater Maxine Chen knows that if she wants to make it to the Olympics, all she has to do is to make it to sectionals, and she will have a shot at a medal. She practices early in the morning and late after school, juggling schoolwork in between, but when Hollie moves to town, dread rises inside Maxine. Hollie isn't just good; she's incredible. To top it off, Maxine is growing apart from a lifelong friend and is being bullied by classmate Alex, who takes any opportunity to make racist comments about her. Just when she feels like she can't handle it anymore, she finds inspiration in competitor-turned-friend Hollie, some skater heroes, and her own parents, who pass on their pride in being Chinese. Through Maxine's point of view, readers will become enveloped in the world of skating, cheering her on in competition, in life, and in opposition to the infuriating Alex. They will also find Maxine's predicaments very familiar, as Maxine decides to keep the bullying to herself instead of confiding in her parents. Shen does an excellent job of depicting what racist bullying is like, how it can escalate, and the way it begins to take over every part of a victim's life. Fast-paced chapters filled with competition, friendship, and inspiration make this a worthy addition to any middle-grade collection. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen dreams of being a figure skating champion, but a remarkably talented new girl at the arena and a racist classmate at school test her resolve.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

E. L. Shen's The Comeback is a heartfelt middle-grade debut about a young Chinese American girl trying to be a champ—in figure skating and in life.

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however—she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?

Set in Lake Placid, New York, this is a spunky yet stirring middle-grade story that examines racism, female rivalry and friendship, and the enduring and universal necessity of love and support.