Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

  • 2011 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee

  • 9th Annual California Books Awards Finalist in the Young Adult category

  • 2009-2010 Florida Sunshine Award Master List Nominee for Grades 6 – 8

Ana Shen has what her social studies teacher calls a “marvelously biracial, multicultural family” but what Ana simply calls a Chinese American father and an African American mother. And on eighth-grade graduation day, that’s a recipe for disaster. Both sets of grandparents are in town to celebrate, and Ana’s best friend has convinced her to invite Jamie Tabata- the cutest boy in school- for a home-cooked meal.

Now Ana and her family have four hours to prepare their favorite dishes for dinner, and Grandma White and Nai Nai can’ t agree on anything. Ana is tired of feeling caught between her grandparents and wishes she knew whose side she was supposed to be on. But when they all sit down for their hot, sour, salty, and sweet meal, Ana comes to understand how each of these different flavors, like family, fit perfectly together.

Here’s how she wants it to go: After the graduation ceremony, when all the speeches are done, Jamie Tabata will walk off the stage with her, take her by the hand and say, “Ana Shen, would you please go to the dance with me tonight?


“…Smith serves up a funny, entertaining gumbo of cultural collisions and discoveries.”

–Kirkus Review

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Publisher:  Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers/Laurel Leaf
Publication Date:  February 12, 2008
Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary
Hardcover: 178 pages
Paperback: 176 pages