This first book in a sparkling middle grade series giving a fresh take on The Baby-Sitters Club follows a young Korean American girl who starts a business with her best friends to support her artistic dreams.
Jiyoung “Gigi” Shin loves to create, from her zany outfits to self-executed haircuts. She dreams of becoming an artist and doodles every chance she gets—at school instead of taking notes, in choir instead of singing, and at home instead of homework. Art is her way of escaping her boring life in suburban Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Unfortunately, her working class, immigrant parents want her to focus on her studies and pursue something more “practical.” Gigi only really feels like herself in art class and at lunch with her best friends, Carolina and Zeina.
When Gigi learns about an elite art camp on the east coast, she’s determined to go. But she knows her parents won’t let her, much less pay for it. After overhearing her little brother Tommy complain about how hard math is and how his teacher goes too fast for him, Gigi has a brilliant idea: forming a tutoring club with her friends to make enough money for the art camp.
With Carolina, Zeina, and Carolina’s friend, Emma, the girls go all in, each with a reason for wanting the business to succeed. But the first few sessions with their classmates are a little chaotic, and Gigi wonders if she will end up sacrificing more than she bargained for to achieve her dreams.
Lyla Lee is the bestselling author of young adult novels like I’ll Be the One and Flip the Script. She also writes the Mindy Kim series for younger readers and the Gigi Shin books for the middle school crowd. Her books have been translated into multiple languages around the world. Born in South Korea, she’s since then lived in various cities throughout the United States. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. After working various jobs in Hollywood and studying Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. Visit Lyla at LylaLeeBooks.com or on social media (Instagram, X (previously known as Twitter), and TikTok @LiteraryLyla).
"Similar to the Baby-Sitter’s Club series, with a strong representation of Asian American characters, Lee’s story focuses on themes of friendship and teamwork and the academic pressures that immigrant parents can place on their children to excel in math and science versus art. A promising start to a new series."
"Hand this to readers who enjoy the simple camaraderie and entrepreneurship of “The Baby-Sitters Club” series."
– School Library Journal
"Via emphatically depicted character interactions, Lee (the Mindy Kim series) skillfully handles topics surrounding cooperation, financial anxiety, first crushes, and pursuing one’s goals in this sweet and wholesome new series."
– Publishers Weekly
"Move over, Baby-Sitters! There’s a new club in town."