FRONT DESK is a middle-grade novel from debut author Kelly Yang. Based on the author’s life, the story follows Mia—the daughter of first generation Chinese immigrants. Every day, while her parents clean, Mia manages the front desk of a motel in Southern California. Published: May 29, 2018 by Arthur Levine/Scholastic, the publishers of Harry Potter.

Summary: FRONT DESK tells the story of 10 year old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed!


Advance Praise: 

Four starred reviews!

* “Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “A first purchase for any collection.” — School Library Journal, starred review

* “It’s the details that sing in this novel, particularly the small moments that feel like everything when you’re a kid…Deserving of shelf space in every classroom and library.” — ALA Booklist, starred review

“Honest…powerful…heart-wrenching.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

A Best Book of the Year (Amazon)

Front Desk is a story about the hardships of immigrant life, the perpetuation of injustice, and a sweet, kind, indomitable young girl who chooses to rise up and fight no matter how hard it gets. Kelly Yang’s debut is a stunner.” — Mike Jung, author of Unidentified Suburban Object


FRONT DESK — A Best Children’s Book To Inspire Young Readers (The Washington Post)

Kelly Yang on NBC Talking about FRONT DESK (NBC)

Kelly Yang Taps Memories of Her Childhood for YA Novel FRONT DESK (NPR)

Kelly Yang Mines Her Experience As Child Immigrant in US for Touching Debut Novel (SCMP Post Magazine)

Mr. Schu’s Cover Reveal

London Book Fair showcase


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FRONT DESK is available for order on Amazon!

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Foreign Rights:

The Australian/New Zealand edition will be published by Walker Books in August 2018.


For more information please contact:

For any publicity inquiries related to FRONT DESK, please contact:

Lauren Donovan, Publicist, at

For all other inquiries, please contact Kelly’s agent:

Tina Dubois, ICM, at

You may also contact Kelly at kellyyangauthor (at) gmail (dot) com.

Upcoming Events:


Sept 27-29, 2018 — ALSC National Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio