Oh, could I gush to you about this latest deal announcement!
Andrea Wang has authored two published picture books (The Nian Monster and Magic Ramen), and two more under contract, but since I first corresponded with her, I've also known she is a novelist. In particular, she’s been working on a middle-grade contemporary novel for a few years now, and I have been so patient, let me tell you…
This summer, she sent it to me, and it was just incredibly good. SO GOOD.
Along the way, editor Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila had seen a few chapters, and she wanted this book. But Andrea wanted to wait to sell it when it was complete.
Cut to the happily-ever-after: Joanna reads it on an exclusive submission and makes an offer for this book and one more novel, we accept, and the book is underway at Penguin Random House!
The Many Meanings of Meilan is about a girl named (obviously) Meilan, which means Orchid. When her extended family has a falling out, she and her parents and grandfather relocate from Boston's Chinatown to a small town in rural Ohio, where she taps into her inner strength and sense of justice to make her own new place in the world.
Along the way, she realizes she is actually many Meilans, each inspired by a different Chinese character with the same pronunciation as her name. Sometimes she is Orchid, as she was in Boston; sometimes she is mist, cool and invisible; sometimes she is basket, carrying her parents’ hopes and dreams; sometimes she is bright blue, the way her new friend Logan sees her when they are alone together.
I can’t wait for this to hit shelves in 2021—and I can’t wait to read the NEXT novel, which I’m already excited about, too. I will be so patient!