for Last Night at the Telegraph Club
by Malinda Lo
In 1954, high school senior Lily Hu is everything her parents expect her to be: studious, respectful, responsible; she never ventures far from her close-knit Chinese American community in San Francisco’s Chinatown. When the FBI confiscates her immigrant father’s citizenship papers after he refuses to reveal information about one of his patients suspected of being a Communist, Lily has to be even more careful. But Lily can’t deny that her heart pounds when she sees a newspaper ad for male impersonator Tommy Andrews, or that she’s thrilled by lesbian pulp fiction she reads surreptitiously in the neighborhood drugstore. Nor can she resist when her white classmate Kathleen Miller offers to take her to the Telegraph Club to see Tommy Andrews perform. Fake IDs in hand, Lily and Kath begin to sneak out on a regular basis, becoming more and more at home in the counterculture lesbian community at the club. As the only Asian, indeed the only BIPOC, at the Telegraph Club, Lily endures regular microaggressions, including being called “China doll.” But the insults never come from Kath, and their growing friendship blossoms into love. Lily and Kath’s heady romance takes place at the end of the McCarthy Era, when the Red Scare and the Lavender Scare are twin threats alongside Lily’s fear about her family discovering she’s a lesbian, and what happens when they do. It’s a heart-pounding romance delving into family, identity, racism, political repression, gender roles, homophobia, and the butch/femme culture of the 1950. (Age 14 and older)
CCBC Choices 2022. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2022. Used with permission.
Winner of the National Book Award
A New York Times
The queer romance we've been waiting for."--Ms. Magazine
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root--that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.
But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
(Cover image may vary.)
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.