This Place Is Still Beautiful Summary and Reviews

This Place Is Still Beautiful

by XiXi Tian

This Place Is Still Beautiful by XiXi Tian X
This Place Is Still Beautiful by XiXi Tian
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Book Summary

A sweeping debut novel about first love, complicated family dynamics, and the pernicious legacy of racism. Perfect for fans of Tahereh Mafi, Jandy Nelson, and Emily X.R. Pan, with crossover appeal for readers of Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You.

The Flanagan sisters are as different as they come. Seventeen-year-old Annalie is bubbly, sweet, and self-conscious, whereas nineteen-year-old Margaret is sharp and assertive. Margaret looks just like their mother, while Annalie passes for white and looks like the father who abandoned them years ago, leaving their Chinese immigrant mama to raise the girls alone in their small, predominantly white Midwestern town.

When their house is vandalized with a shocking racial slur, Margaret rushes home from her summer internship in New York City. She expects outrage. Instead, her sister and mother would rather move on. Especially once Margaret's own investigation begins to make members of their community uncomfortable.

For Annalie, this was meant to be a summer of new possibilities, and she resents her sister's sudden presence and insistence on drawing negative attention to their family. Meanwhile Margaret is infuriated with Annalie's passive acceptance of what happened. For Margaret, the summer couldn't possibly get worse, until she crosses paths with someone she swore she'd never see again: her first love, Rajiv Agarwal.

As the sisters navigate this unexpected summer, an explosive secret threatens to break apart their relationship, once and for all.

This Place Is Still Beautiful is a luminous, captivating story about identity, sisterhood, and how our hometowns are inextricably a part of who we are, even when we outgrow them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"As the sisters grapple with what it means to be mixed race and Asian American in a largely White Midwestern town...they also struggle to navigate their relationship with each other. About much more than just racism toward Chinese Americans, this novel deftly tackles the precarious moments surrounding the end of high school and the beginning of college when romantic and familial relationships are complicated, changing, and all-consuming. Quiet yet powerful, complex, and grounded in the reality that nothing will ever be completely resolved." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Tian simultaneously addresses racism's lasting effects on individual lives while eloquently tackling the uncertainty that teens can face in transitional periods. Told in alternating perspectives, this emotionally layered novel, populated by nuanced characters and culminating in complex resolutions, resonates." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Tender and lovely, This Place is Still Beautiful tells the story of a family forced to face their town—and each other—in the wake of a crime that can't be ignored. XiXi Tian is an exciting new voice in YA, and this moving debut is not to be missed." - Nina LaCour, Michael L. Printz Award winner

"Tian excavates the awkward, ugly truths we avoid, and exposes them with raw emotional honesty and grace. This book made me feel seen in a way that very few books ever have. I found myself nodding and saying, 'Yes, that's so true!' over and over again." - Misa Sugiura, author of This Time Will Be Different

This information about This Place Is Still Beautiful shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

XiXi Tian

Xixi Tian was born in China and grew up in central Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then Harvard Law School, while writing a laundry list of original fiction that never got published and a healthy dose of fan fiction. Now she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their cat Umberto. This Place Is Still Beautiful is her first novel.

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