A girl tries to cheer up her grieving, forgetful grandfather by taking him on a rollicking road-trip adventure in Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu, a charming and poignant middle-grade novel from award-winning author Maisie Chan.
Twelve-year-old Lizzie Chu has lived with her wai gong (grandfather) in Glasgow since her parents died when she was a baby. But Wai Gong has been acting different lately. He spends a lot of time talking to his Guan Yin statue—the Chinese goddess of compassion, kindness, and mercy—at his altar and seems to be becoming more forgetful. Even the shared passion he and Lizzie have for their favorite show, Strictly Come Dancing, seems to be tailing off.
Then one day Lizzie’s friend Chi visits dressed as Princess Leia for Comic Con, and Wai Gong mistakes her for Guan Yin. He’s delighted—and Lizzie gets an idea. She and Chi (dressed as the goddess) can take Wai Gong to a ballroom dance at the Tower Ballroom, where he’d always dreamed of going with his late wife. If only she can get her granddad there, she thinks, he’ll find some peace, and perhaps things will be OK at home again. After all, one of the myths around Guan Yin is that she brings order and harmony, so it’s got to work out—right?
“A poignant tale about a girl and her cherished grandfather. Chan combines realities of Asian British life with stories from Chinese mythology, forming the backdrop for a chaotic, hilarious road trip. Even more touching is Lizzie’s journey toward understanding her grandfather’s probable dementia and learning to ask for help. A layered, emotionally resonant story.”Kirkus Reviews
“Chan infuses this warm and spirited road trip with references to Lizzie’s cultural background (with light but pointed doses of ethnic bullying and fat shaming thrown in), plus an inclusive supporting cast . . . the suspenseful whirl of misadventures leads to a thoroughly dazzling climax on the dance floor . . . this warm family story will still resonate this side of the pond.”Booklist
“So charming . . . Great for many kinds of readers, from reluctant to enthusiastic.”Elle McNicoll, author of A Kind of Spark, a Schneider Family Book Award honor title
“Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu is toe-tappingly joyous. Full of invention and warmth.”Frank Cottrell-Boyce, winner of the Carnegie Medal and author of Millions and Cosmic
“It explores so many themes including racism, being a young carer, dementia, and seeking out (and accepting) help. But at its heart, it’s this wonderful, joyous, intergenerational story that made me smile so hard.”Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author of Dadaji’s Paintbrush