Three Keys

Three Keys

By Author / Illustrator

Kelly Yang


Representation & Inclusion

Age range(s)



Knights Of Media




Paperback / softback




The story of Mia, and her family and friends at the Calivista Motel, continues in this powerful, hilarious, and resonant sequel to the award-winning novel Front Desk.

Mia Tang thinks she's going to have the best year ever:1. She and her parents have a motel.  2. She gets to run the front desk.  3. She's finally getting somewhere with her writing.   But, on a rollercoaster of challenges, Mia will need all her determination to hang on tight.  If anyone can find the key to getting through turbulent times, it's Mia Tang.

See also:  Front Desk (book 1);   Room to Dream (book 3)Finally Seen (book 4)



In Three Keys, Mia Tang is back and she's optimistic. Thanks to her vision and charisma, she and her parents now co-own the motel they've been running for the past year - and Mia gets to run the front desk! She's had a bit of success with her writing and she has a proper best friend for the first time ever. As Mia writes, they 'may be on the side streets now but one day they'll be on the main road'. But before she knows it, Mia's beset by a new set of challenges. Once again, she's going to need all her dynamism and resilience to overcome them. And once again, her open-hearted kindness and determination is infectious. Her friends, acquaintances and the reader are swept along with her fight for what's right.

Kelly Tang writes powerfully and with authority about the struggles of immigration, and the fraught political background of mid 1990s California resonates with parallels today. Mia extends her metaphor to sum things up poetically: some of the migrants her parents help at the motel, 'haven't yet found the side streets. They are just forging their way through thick brush with only the stars to guide them'.

After the wonderful Front Desk, I was excited to read this - and it lived up to expectations. It's a story to probe your values while warming your heart with hope that the generosity of the human spirit can work ordinary miracles. Share it!

352 pages / Reviewed by Louisa Farrow, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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