Finally Heard

Finally Heard
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Release Date
February 27, 2024
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Front Desk comes the sequel to Finally Seen in which Lina gets a phone and tries to navigate social media, only to discover not everything online is what it seems.

When ten-year-old Lina Gao sees her mom’s video on social media take off, she’s captivated by the potential to be seen and heard! Maybe online she can finally find the confidence she craves. Whereas in real life she’s growing so fast, she feels like microwave popcorn, bursting out of her skin!

With the help of her two best friends, Carla and Finn, and her little sister, Millie, Lina sets off to go viral. Except there’s a lot more to social media than Lina ever imagined, like:

1. Seeing inside her classmates’ lives! Is she really the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a walk-in closet?
2. Group chats! Disappearing videos! What is everyone talking about in the secret chats? And how can she join?
3. A bazillion stories about what to eat, wear, and put on her face. Could they all be telling the truth? Everyone sounds so sure of what they’re saying!

As Lina descends deeper and deeper into social media, it will take all her strength to break free from the likes and find the courage to be her authentic self in this fast-paced world.

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Finally Heard is the sequel to Finally Seen by author Kelly Yang and like many of Yang's books it feels so relevant to what is going on in the world today. Young readers will relate to Lina's struggle with social media and its influence on her life.

Lina's parents immigrated from China to America for a better life. Lina's father works two jobs, and her mom makes bath bombs from home. They are struggling financially, and Lina's mom wants to increase her bath bomb business. She uses social media to boost sales and has a video go viral. It increases sales but also increases the pressure of having to keep up with that social media presence with more videos, follower interactions, and new ideas. Lina helps her mother make some of the videos and then begins helping other small, struggling businesses with videos.  With this newfound business, Lina's mom decides to give her an old phone, and that's when things begin to go downhill for Lina.

One of the last of her classmates to own a phone, Lina quickly learns about apps and discord chats, as well as how people she knows make derogatory remarks about her. Lina gets sucked into Tik Tok and tries to change who she is to become more like the filters that she aspires to be. 

Lina's life becomes overwhelming as she navigates social media, family drama, friendship drama, potential crushes, and cyberbullying.  Ultimately, Lina learns how to balance social media, but there are a few life lessons she learns along the way.

What I Liked: Yang does an excellent job of showing the downfalls of social media. The way she incorporated Mrs. Carter's brain teachings into social media addiction was very engaging and tied into the story perfectly. Lina has a strong relationship with her family and I especially loved what a great big sister she was. The stuffed animal therapy sessions made me laugh and were just another reason I fell in love with Lina and her adorable sister.

What Left Me Wanting More: This book deals with so many factors of growing up including puberty. Yang handles the topic of changing bodies so well and it is relevant to the story, but I did find the bra shopping scene at the end a little cheesy.

Kelly Yang has once again written an engaging middle-grade novel that is relatable and relevant to tweens, but I don't want to pigeonhole this book to just one age category. As an adult, I can honestly say this is one of my favorite books I've read this year.
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