- Available June 6, 2023
- Junior Library Guild selection
- Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
The Many Masks of Andy Zhou is my second novel for young readers. While the story itself is fiction, many of the scenes and details are based on my personal experiences growing up as a Chinese-American kid in Metro Detroit.
Here’s what it says on the book jacket:
Creative and brave sixth grader Andy Zhou faces big changes at school and at home in this new novel by the award-winning author of See You in the Cosmos.
Andy Zhou is used to being what people need him to be: the good kid for his parents and now grandparents visiting from Shanghai, or the helpful sidekick to his best friend Cindy’s rebellious plans and schemes.
So when Cindy decides they should try out for Movement at school on the first day of sixth grade, how can Andy say no? But between feeling out of place with the dancers, being hassled by his new science partner Jameel, and sensing tension between his dad and grandfather, Andy feels all kinds of weird.
Then, over anime, Hi-Chews, and Andy’s lizard-inspired artwork, things shift between him and Jameel, opening up new doors—and also new complications.
No matter how much Andy cares about his friends and family, it’s hard not to feel pulled between all the ways he’s meant to be, all the different faces he wears, and harder still to figure out if any of these masks is the real him.
“Readers will find a friend in Andy—a kind-hearted kid trying to find his footing while caring for those around him. Andy contains multitudes, like all of us. Another beautiful book by Jack Cheng.” – Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Award-winning author of Hello, Universe
“This book sings with beautiful writing and rich detail. Seeing Andy come into his own is a joy and a journey.” – Tae Keller, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger
“Andy’s quiet courage and budding artistry has readers cheering him on as he searches to define himself and learns there are no boundaries to who we are—and who we can become. With honesty and gentle humor, Jack Cheng explores the joys and heartaches of growing up.” – Paula Yoo, National Book Award longlisted-author of From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry
“Cheng succeeds in capturing the nuances of shifting relationship dynamics during the vulnerable early years of adolescence, including mental health struggles . . . . The story has a sincere heart that will resonate with tweens as they recognize themselves and their friends in the pages. A perceptive coming-of-age tale that captures the joys and complex anxieties of middle school.” – Kirkus
“[A] realistic, character-driven middle-grade story that explores multiple issues . . . . Compelling.” – Booklist
“There’s an aching poignancy [here]. This moving novel about self-discovery will resonate with kids navigating the shifting waters of middle school.” – BCCB
“A beautiful, contemplative novel that will stay with readers. Recommended for fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Nicole Melleby.” – School Library Journal
“Cheng draws on personal experience, detailed in an author’s note, to pen this novel of internal and interpersonal tensions that touches on mental health . . . The message of becoming one’s authentic self comes through loud and clear.” – Publishers Weekly
The audiobook is available through Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library. It’s read by the multi-talented Eddy Lee. Here’s an excerpt:
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