WORD LISTS

"Maizy Chen's Last Chance" by Lisa Yee, Chapters 28–55

October 31, 2022
After her grandfather becomes sick, eleven-year-old Maizy moves from Los Angeles to Last Chance, Minnesota, where she struggles to fit in as her family's Chinese restaurant is targeted with racist attacks.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–27, Chapters 28–55, Chapter 56–Epilogue
bristle
“Do you have any photos of the two of you when you were young?”
Opa pretends to bristle. “What do you mean? I’m young now!”
harbor
Maizy, our family didn’t harbor criminals. We gave people food and jobs.
thesis
A short article titled “Searching for the Chinese in Minnesota” catches my attention. It’s about a graduate student named Emmy Tsai who’s doing research for her thesis.
curlicue
In light brown ink, I can make out his name in curlicue handwriting at the bottom of the photo.
custom
I’ve decided that what the Golden Palace needs is custom fortune cookies. Ever since Oma gave me Wite-Out to paint over mistakes, typing’s been easier. Our customers love my fortunes and have started asking for the special cookies.
swoon
When he first walked in, I may have swooned slightly. He’s so cute!
grizzled
The grizzled old restaurant owner, nicknamed Happy, couldn't mask his enthusiasm.
venture
It took months before he ventured into the dining area, and when he did, the room went silent.
prejudiced
You can forget that there are prejudiced people out there and think things are good. Then one comes along, you’re surprised all over again.
posse
Just when he'd almost given up hope, Sheriff Swain arrived, backed by a posse that included Happy and several locals.
substantial
“I used to write about weightier things than who carved the best cow out of butter at the state fair. My goal is to get back to more substantial work and win it again one day.”
stellar
Opa says that my bluffing skills are stellar, but I need to be more aggressive.
speculate
Others speculated that he went to work for a Chinese businessman who had opened a store in Saint Paul.
flushed
“Really? You think so?” Daisy’s face is flushed.
repeal
During WWII, China and America were on the same side. It would have been awkward if the US was banning Chinese immigrants, so in 1943 the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed.
quota
But even then, only about a hundred Chinese were allowed into the country each year. In 1965 all quota systems were abolished.
rhetoric
I know that anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-Asian crimes are scary.
pomp
“I adore the royal family, all that pomp,” she tells Riley even though Logan is still talking.
compassion
“Your compassion for baby animals does not go unnoticed,” Mrs. Fisk commends Riley.
commend
“Your compassion for baby animals does not go unnoticed,” Mrs. Fisk commends Riley.
partial
Werner is partial to the Golden Palace’s savory dishes. “I’ve never met a chili pepper that I didn’t like,'' he says.
blanch
In the kitchen, Daisy blanches baby bok choy to stir-fry with oyster sauce.
garner
Emmy says that she posted a “Last Chance Paper Sons” inquiry online and it’s garnering some interest.
bicker
Oma and Opa bicker all the time, but you can tell they love each other.
wistfully
“I loved college,” she adds wistfully.
snooty
“This face is irresistible! Once your grandmother got her snooty nose out of the air to get a good look at my handsome mug, she started chasing me.”
enact
He came to America before the exclusion law was enacted.
arson
" Arson." Sheriff Swain shook his head as he looked at the Golden Palace's charred walls and burnt furniture the next morning.
smolder
Lucky motioned to a smoldering pile of wood.
vintage
Principal Holmes shows up in a vintage Surf's Up T-shirt, and Lady Macbeth’s dress has a festive flower pattern on it.
serenade
Then I slowly whirl my grandparents around as Oma sits on Opa’s lap and Don Ho serenades them with “Hawaiian Wedding Song.”
meringue
And the meringue so sweet I want to marry it!
pungent
The durian has such a pungent smell that it’s banned on public transportation in Singapore.
adrenaline
I’m flooded with relief, but then seconds later a surge of adrenaline hits me so hard I almost lose my balance. “Who was it?” I grab Mom’s arm. “Come on, let’s go! They can’t be too far away—”
solvent
Principal Holmes shows up with solvent to remove the paint.

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