Review of You Are Here: Connecting Flights, edited by Ellen Oh

You Are Here

Connecting Flights

edited by Ellen Oh
read by David Lee Huynh, Dana Wing Lau, Ramon de Ocampo, and Jeanne Syquia

Allida, 2023. 5 hours, 40 minutes.
Review written March 11, 2024, from a library eaudiobook
Starred Review

You Are Here: Connecting Flights is a collection of well-connected short stories written by various authors: Christina Soontornvat, Linda Sue Park, Meredith Ireland, Mike Chen, Susan Tan, Randy Ribay, Traci Chee, Mike Jung, Erin Entrada Kelly, Grace Lin, Minh Le, and Ellen Oh. All the stories feature an Asian American kid temporarily stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport during a ferocious thunderstorm, some with parents and family, and a few traveling unaccompanied.

The stories are nicely intertwined, with each kid having at least a little interaction with some of the other kids. The book begins with a boy mortified when his grandmother takes his grandfather’s remains through security. Everything works out, but they have to stop the line for a bit, which bothers people in a hurry.

Some of the kids are heading to Asian countries of their forebears, and some of them don’t feel great about that. Pretty much all the kids deal with some negative attitudes toward Asian Americans, and most of them come up with a good way of responding.

The kids, characters, and situations have lots of variety, because the authors have lots of variety. The variety included very different countries in their backgrounds, different appearances, different religions, and different traveling situations. For all the kids, the stories came together to give a sense of belonging, a feeling that they can deal with what life throws at them, and peace with where they’re going and where they’ll come home to.

I wish the audiobook and the book itself had put the author’s name under each chapter title, which instead was the name of the fictional kid featured. But perhaps they wanted to put the emphasis on the kids themselves. And I have to admit that the many authors did a fantastic job of telling a seamless story about many great characters. And it gave readers who are not Asian American a window into the microaggressions that our fellow Americans have to deal with. So besides reading an entertaining story with great characters, I learned a lot about empathy.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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