Cover Image: You Are Here: Connecting Flights

You Are Here: Connecting Flights

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Member Reviews

Ellen Oh's "You Are Here: Connecting Flights" is a powerful Own Voices novel. All of the chapters are told by different Asian American teens who experience something negative in the Chicago International Airport. Although all of the experiences and characters are different, they all connect to one another and work towards a culminating message. This novel is for anyone who feels unseen and the pressures of cultural expectations.
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This middle-grade story is set inside O'hare—airport, where a handful of families await a delay.  Each story focuses on a different experience of Asian American families dealing with TSA, other passengers, and each other.
I can't wait to assign this title to our Bookish Society readers.
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In short story format, twelve Asian American authors track twelve unrelated Asian American teens  as they progress through the Chicago Airport on their way to various destinations.  Some have brief encounters with one another, but for the most part, “they are ships passing in the night”, but still impacted in one way or another by the racist rantings of one woman at the TSA checkpoint.  From the TSA checkpoint, everything dominoes in various directions with each teen subjected to either subtle or blatant racist microaggressions.  To date,  this is one of the best plotted books of the year 
Thank you to Allida, and imprint of HarperCollins, and NetGalley for the digital arc
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Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. You Are here: Connecting Flights is a collection of short stories that all connect in some way. These stories focus on AAPI children and families and blatant racism that is directed towards them on any given day. This day revolves around an incident in an airport. The book is written by AAPI authors and adds one more layer to the collection. What is uplifting, and probably because it is a juvenile fiction book, a lot of the stories end on a positive and hopeful note, which would be a great direction to head for.
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This book came highly recommended and I continue those high recommendations. This book tells snippets of the lives of several Asian travelers making their way through the Chicago airport. It's daily life interspersed with various challenges from personal to interpersonal from generational differences to covert and overt racism, all told by a variety of authors in their own voices. My favorite of these was the one that told the story of an autistic father and son. I absolutely loved their dynamic together.
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An airport is a place of transition, a place where hundreds of people cross paths daily, so it's a great setting for a collection of short stories. Here we see a dozen Asian characters traveling to a variety of different places. Some are excited, others resentful. They have complex relationships with their families and with their racial identity. And all of them face some degree of racism. They respond in assorted ways. And all of them cross paths in some small way, each story contributing a small element to the next. Since they're short stories none of them are especially complex. Still, they are a solid read and contribute to a reflective conversation about assumptions and race relations.
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“I actually like airports because they’re places of such possibility…. We’re all stuck here together in this strange world in between home and adventure.”

On a stormy day at a crowded airport in Chicago, an incident at a TSA security checkpoint causes rumors and chaos that spread much farther than expected. With delayed and canceled flights, twisted travel plans, and racism running rampant, twelve young Asian Americans have to dig deep within themselves to find the courage to do what’s right, even when the world seems against them. Because sometimes, you may not be as alone as you think.

One of my favorite features of excellent anthologies is when the stories interconnect, and with a title that mentions “connecting flights,” I hoped that would be the case with imprint Allida’s first foray into the publishing world—and I was not disappointed. YOU ARE HERE: CONNECTING FLIGHTS is a fantastic collection of short stories perfect for #AAPIHeritageMonth. I liked that the authors did not shy away from discussing some more difficult topics—including the COVID-19 pandemic which sparked even more anti-Asian racism—and instead chose to face them head-on. With themes of identity, courage, and growing up, this book is perfect for young people just starting to figure out who they are. Take my word for it and grab a copy of YOU ARE HERE: CONNECTING FLIGHTS today!

Content Warnings: Xenophobia, racism, death of a loved one, bullying, references to the COVID-19 pandemic

YOU ARE HERE: CONNECTING FLIGHTS edited by Ellen Oh is out now from Allida. Contributors include: Traci Chee, Mike Chen, Meredith Ireland, Mike Jung, Erin Entrada Kelly, Minh Lê, Grace Lin, Ellen Oh, Linda Sue Park, Randy Ribay, Christina Soontornvat, and Susan Tan.

(Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
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A wonderful array of stories interwoven here in this book and I will say I liked it very much. I think each author did their best and it was really good.
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Excellent compilation of intertwining short stories focused on the Asian American experience.  I felt like the overarching theme of the book was You Are Seen.  Loved it and can't wait to have my middle schooler read this!!

I did feel rather bad for the villainized pink lady at first.  She just seemed a little over the top.  And then I realized that, as an AAPI person, I have absolutely heard everything she said before (just not usually all from the same source).  While someone in every story demonstrated some aspect of racism, overt or mild/well-intentioned, she was just a compilation of hateful statements/attitudes rolled into one horribly unpleasant person.  And it worked, both for the story as well as for the very satisfying resolution, though we all know life doesn't serve us as fairly as that.

Jane's story made me cry.  So powerful.  

(side note I would love to have seen the author of each piece listed with the title so I didn't have to go back and find all that info later)

Wonderful read.  My thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC via netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books for the free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

A collection of emotional and funny short stories following 12 young Asian Americans in a Chicago airport.

I have qualms about stories that only focus on the struggles of being Asian American, that surround themselves in racism and xenophobia and culminate in overcoming hardship and standing against hate. Obviously, You Are Here does this, but it is the explicit goal. The anthology features a diverse cast of characters, from a diverse group of authors, depicting the vast expanse and intersectionality of East and Southeast Asian American identities. The young characters embody a vast array of backgrounds, personalities, hobbies, and relationships to their heritage, and overall I think this is a moving and effective collection that shows the power of standing up for yourself and others, whether it be to your well-intentioned family or explicitly racist strangers.

What a wonderful book to read for a middle grader. A book that unapologetically says you are here, you belong here, and you always have and always will.
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I really enjoyed this read! The stories themselves were short and sweet while still packing a punch. I loved seeing the characters subtly weave in and out of each other's narratives, and I appreciated how everything came together in the end.
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All the YES's for this book! While this is a young adult or even adolescent age read, it is for everyone! It is an easy read that is an exploration of contemporary Asian American identity through interwoven stories set in a Chicago airport. And I absolutely love the interwoven stories! If you're looking for a fast read that pacts a punch with a lot to say and a subtle but so powerful way of expressing cultural appropriation, this. is. it.

This is for adults and middle schoolers alike. As a matter of fact, all teachers of middle and high schoolers should put this on their students' summer reading list! (except for, maybe, Jane's chapter, depending on the age of the kids). If you need a filler book to read something light but meaningful between heavy books or just while waiting (all the waiting around we do every day), this. is. it.

Short and sweet; read this book!
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On a single day in a busy Chicago airport, all of the flights are either delayed or cancelled. 12 different kids, all East or Southeast Asian American, are stuck in Chicago on their way around the world. Some are traveling with family, some are traveling to family, and some are travelling all alone. This book is a short story anthology -- each chapter is its own complete story about a different character. But the stories are all interconnected with characters crossing paths and popping in and out of the main story. Though the journeys of the kids in this book are all unique, they share similar experiences with identity and belonging. Many of the characters face racist, anti-Asian encounters from fellow airport travelers. For kids looking for a sense of belonging, Asian American or not, this book will offer just the nuanced story they crave.

The anthology format is perfectly executed in this book, and even though each story is written by a different author, they all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The editor's note talks about the high amount of collaboration between contributors to this book, which is probably to credit with making this anthology feel like it almost has a single narrator. Contributors to this book, by the way, include children's lit powerhouses like Christina Soontornvat, Mike Jung, Erin Entrada Kelly, Linda Sue Park, and others. The emphasis on contemporary Asian American kids is a welcome and needed perspective, executed well here. This book would be great to read a chapter at a time as a family or classroom.
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I found this book to be very interesting because it brought cultures together. Most of the stories allowed the reader a glimpse of the bodily feelings people go through when someone is not being nice to them because of their culture. The setting was post CO-VID pandemic and how people truly believe that all Asians are responsible for the pandemic. The stories also pointed out that all ages are discriminated against and all ages can stand up to the discrimination. I will be suggesting this book to some of library patrons. I did not pay for this book and I am not being given any compensation for this review.
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Thank you for the e-ARC on Netgalley! Our library purchased a copy of this book when it was released to share with our middle school English teachers, who love and use Flying Lessons in their sixth-grade curriculum. I'm so glad to add this to our options.
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You Are Here: Connecting Flights is an excellent collection of interconnected short stories about the wide range of the Asian-American experience. It explores the prejudice that people of Asian descent continue to experience. This is a stunning piece of literature that is accessible, informative, moving, and inspiring for kids and adults of all ages.
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It would be difficult to review each story individually because they all build off of each other, but this was both realistically frustrating and heartwarming at the same time. I love how this shows many of the narrators being inspired or supported by each other, especially when inside no one feels as brave as they might look.
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A wonderful interrelated collection featuring a full cast of Asian Americans set in the Chicago Airport. Each story handles some heavy topics including racism, generational trauma, and xenophobia but handles in such an approachable for younger readers.
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Overall, loved the idea and execution of interconnected short stories as well as the airport setting. I think this was a very timely collection that addressed lots of different Asian-American experiences, especially with microaggressions and the new kind of racism amidst Covid. I definitely enjoyed some of the stories and characters more than others, but that comes with the territory of an anthology. However, as an Asian-American adult who has had lots of time to reflect on my childhood experiences, and been thinking more deeply about her identity and what that word means as a political identity, I couldn't help but feel like some of the situations were almost caricatures or played out tropes of examples of racism, which made it lose its nuance. I mean, are we really still telling the stinky lunch story as a pan-Asian-Am experience? Even AI can write it word for word now. (Highly recommend the Eater article Great! AI Can Generate All the Diaspora Food Writing Tropes)
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Review: 5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Allida for the copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

When 12 different Asian American authors came together to weave interconnecting short stories representing diversity, I knew I had to read it. 

While I am more based in Canada and do not go through some of the extreme racism America seems to have, I have close relatives there, and I am constantly worried about them, especially with the recent pandemic. I can also relate heavily, having come to a foreign country from South East Asia many years ago and feeling so lost and out of touch with the culture and expectations. 

I felt so represented in the book. They took all the elements of being an Asian: filial piety, silence in safety, don't do things like that, don't speak up, being invisible, and keeping to self; combined it with the elements of being American: speak up, stand up for yourself, advocate for yourself, love yourself to weave a wonderfully diverse story in a diverse airport setting. There was also the representation of autism, immigration, mixed parental lineages, adoption, friendship bonds, siblings' love, the love of a parent for their children and so much more. 

I also love how it came in a full circle in the last story, with most of the characters from past stories playing tiny cameo roles. Most of the characters featured are more South East Asia and East Asia, and I find it interesting to see each other's take on capturing the essence of the experience each character struggles with or is going through. 

My only small thing is I wish they would label which author wrote what story, as I would love to know which sense of writing style I connected most with and check out the author's other works. 

My heart feels so full reading this, thank you for reminding me how proud I am to be South East Asian.
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