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The Silence that Binds Us

The Silence that Binds Us

by Joanna Ho

Narrated by Raechel Wong

Unabridged — 11 hours, 20 minutes

Joanna Ho

Audiobook (Digital)

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Overview

Joanna Ho, New York Times bestselling author of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, has written an exquisite, heart-rending debut young adult novel that will inspire all to speak truth to power.

Maybelline Chen isn't the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can't come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May's beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May's parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May's father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It's up to May to take back the narrative.

Joanna Ho masterfully explores timely themes of mental health, racism, and classism. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

"An ornately carved window into the core of shared humanity. Read and re-read. Then read it again." -Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

"Powerful and piercing, filled with truth, love, and a heroine who takes back the narrative." -Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei

“A held-breath of a novel that finds courage amidst brokenness, and holds a candle to the dark.” -Stacey Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl

“Ho confronts racism with care and nuance, capturing the complexities of grief and growth. A poignant call to action.” -Randy Ribay, National Book Award finalist for Patron Saints of Nothing



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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 05/23/2022

A grieving Chinese American teen combats the model minority myth and its harm in Ho’s (Eyes That Kiss in the Corners) potent YA debut. Unlike her accomplished older brother Danny, Maybelline Chen, who wants to be a writer, feels as if she falls short of her parents’ expectations. It’s a shock to the entire family when Princeton-bound Danny dies by suicide. Their pain intensifies when local white Silicon Valley mogul Nate McIntyre publicly denounces “tiger moms and dads,” accusing May’s parents of pressuring Danny about academics, and potentially driving him to take his own life. Appalled, May pens a poem in response that’s published in Sequoia Park’s local paper, provoking debate within her community. Surprisingly to May, Chinese American classmate Alvin Lo condemns her for seemingly speaking for their town’s Chinese population at large. When May’s burgeoning notoriety threatens her mother’s job, May and Haitian best friend Tiya Marie Duverne rally their classmates to take back their narratives. With a layered, sensitive voice, May confronts her parents’ silence surrounding Danny’s depression and their complacency around maintaining the status quo. Using complex characterizations and intense dialogue, Ho’s weighty novel delves into themes of racism, classism, loss, and healing. Ages 14–up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (June)

From the Publisher

“A grieving teen fights Asian hate by finding her voice in this complex, timely story.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"With a layered, sensitive voice…Ho’s weighty novel delves into themes of racism, classism, loss, and healing." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The Silence that Binds Us is a propulsive reminder that race-based discrimination takes a multitude of forms, all of them insidious and traumatic. I adored this ornately carved window into the core of shared humanity. A fascinating exploration of what happens when deeply rooted cultural norms collide with privilege-centered notions of 'fairness.' Read and re-read. Then read it again." — Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

"Zinger after zinger, Joanna pierces us with the truth we can’t ignore even as she cocoons us in love. Just like May, she’s taking back the narrative with her powerful pen." — Abigail Hing Wen, New York Times bestselling author of Loveboat, Taipei

“A held-breath of a novel that finds courage amidst brokenness, and holds a candle to the dark.” — Stacey Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Downstairs Girl

“Ho confronts racism with care and nuance, capturing the complexities of grief and growth. A poignant call to action.” — Randy Ribay, National Book Award finalist for Patron Saints of Nothing

“A clarion call to search out, listen to, and uplift the narratives—personal, societal, and historical—that have been silenced by factors as intimate as shame and as broad as colonialism. Maybelline's insightful, honest narration frames her awkward conversations and her eloquent poetry to tell a vitally important story that everyone needs to hear.” — Misa Sugiura, author of This Time Will Be Different

“A vital message of the power of using your voice for change. Both challenging and accessible, realistic and aspirational.” — Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of When We Were Infinite

“I couldn't put Joanna Ho's The Silence That Binds Us down! This was a powerful empowering read that will inspire so many readers to scream, shout, stand up, speak out, and share their truths! I was so invested in May's family and her friendships and felt so proud of the characters and the ways they were able to transform by directly addressing the issues that impact them- racism, mental health, the culture of white supremacy, and the false ease of silence. I hope this book is read in every home, school, and library as it's an absolute necessary read!” — Tiffany Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of This Book Is Anti-Racist

“Inspired by the recent rise in hate crimes against AAPI… Ho’s story of inclusion, diversity, and social action rings true. Maybelline is a multifaceted narrator whose drive to right wrongs and stand up to injustice deserves applause. Ho illuminates both activism and mental health in marginalized communities, showing that even a bright, young achiever can experience depression without anyone knowing.” — Booklist

Stacey Lee

A held-breath of a novel that finds courage amidst brokenness, and holds a candle to the dark.

Abigail Hing Wen

"Zinger after zinger, Joanna pierces us with the truth we can’t ignore even as she cocoons us in love. Just like May, she’s taking back the narrative with her powerful pen."

Kelly Loy Gilbert

A vital message of the power of using your voice for change. Both challenging and accessible, realistic and aspirational.

Randy Ribay

Ho confronts racism with care and nuance, capturing the complexities of grief and growth. A poignant call to action.

Booklist

Inspired by the recent rise in hate crimes against AAPI… Ho’s story of inclusion, diversity, and social action rings true. Maybelline is a multifaceted narrator whose drive to right wrongs and stand up to injustice deserves applause. Ho illuminates both activism and mental health in marginalized communities, showing that even a bright, young achiever can experience depression without anyone knowing.

Misa Sugiura

A clarion call to search out, listen to, and uplift the narratives—personal, societal, and historical—that have been silenced by factors as intimate as shame and as broad as colonialism. Maybelline's insightful, honest narration frames her awkward conversations and her eloquent poetry to tell a vitally important story that everyone needs to hear.

Nic Stone

"The Silence that Binds Us is a propulsive reminder that race-based discrimination takes a multitude of forms, all of them insidious and traumatic. I adored this ornately carved window into the core of shared humanity. A fascinating exploration of what happens when deeply rooted cultural norms collide with privilege-centered notions of 'fairness.' Read and re-read. Then read it again."

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2022-03-16
A Chinese American teenager learns that silence can bind families together but also prevent them from standing up for larger causes.

Maybelline Chen is mourning the death of Danny, her beloved older brother who struggled with depression and died by suicide right after being accepted to Princeton. Her family’s deep pain is compounded when local Silicon Valley magnate Nate McIntyre publicly blames Asian families for the hypercompetitive school environment, attributing Danny’s suicide to what he claims are widespread Asian parental pressures. Infuriated and hurt, May writes an impassioned poem for the local paper in response, sparking a heated discussion about racism. But when her mother’s job working for Mr. McIntyre’s friend is imperiled by her activities, May must make a choice between speaking out and honoring her parents’ fear of making waves. With the help of her best friend, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, May rallies her classmates to reclaim the narrative while embarking upon a journey of recognizing her own complicity and complacency about racism. She acknowledges Asian discrimination against Black people, faces prejudice from other Asians, and comes to understand the harm of Asian silence and the model minority myth. The array of issues in this story is sensitively and beautifully handled, and May is an appealing character who moves through a complicated range of realistic emotions, including anger, fear, guilt, and jealousy.

A grieving teen fights Asian hate by finding her voice in this complex, timely story. (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176093766
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/14/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews