WORD LISTS

"Maizy Chen's Last Chance" by Lisa Yee, Chapter 56–Epilogue

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
flustered
The young woman was flustered to have been caught, but she trusted my mother.
masquerade
Over a pot of tea, the stranger told an incredible story—that she was masquerading as Jian Lee.
tinge
“Sweet with a slight garlic bite and tinge of red pepper,” I tell Opa when I get home.
yin
“It’s the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, where what appears to be contrary may be complementary. Sometimes when opposites work together, everything becomes stronger, better.”
complementary
“It’s the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, where what appears to be contrary may be complementary. Sometimes when opposites work together, everything becomes stronger, better.”
modified
Lady Macbeth frowns when my mother explains that we have a “ modified menu” today. Translation: Oma’s not here and Daisy’s too scared to prepare some of the more complicated dishes.
sprig
“Instead of piling the noodles, drape them with a slight swirl, then top them with sprigs of cilantro.”
sliver
“Floating a few slivers of ginger in wonton soup makes it more inviting.”
prominent
It didn't matter that the Golden Palace had been successful, or that he carried letters of introduction from the mayor, Sheriff Swain, and several prominent citizens. All that the white bankers could see was that Lucky was Chinese.
bigoted
Opa is sick; Oma and my mom are upset; someone stole Bud, left a bigoted letter, and then painted a slur on him.
slur
Opa is sick; Oma and my mom are upset; someone stole Bud, left a bigoted letter, and then painted a slur on him.
intricate
Intricate wood panels line the walls and a huge crystal chandelier hangs overhead, casting twinkling rainbows all around me.
gnarled
Lady Macbeth points a gnarled finger at an overstuffed chair in the next room.
impeccable
Her posture is impeccable.
smug
A smug smile forms on her thin lips.
contort
Lady Macbeth’s face contorts. The smirk leads to a smile, then a laugh that won’t stop.
debutante
There are photos and paintings everywhere. Lady Macbeth as a little girl, Lady Macbeth as a debutante, Lady Macbeth on her wedding day with a handsome young groom.
missive
The handwritten missive clearly targeted the Chen family, the only Chinese in the area.
stereotypical
In addition to stereotypical mocking language, it referenced racist images and demanded 1,000 yen (which is Japanese currency) for the return of Bud the Bear, and ended with “Go home to China!"
proprietor
Bud’s owners, and the proprietors of the Golden Palace, John and Lydia Chen, declined to talk to us, but their eleven-year-old granddaughter, Maizy Chen, of Los Angeles, who is visiting Last Chance, observed, “It's bad enough they took Bud, but the note was clearly meant to harm. It was a racist and hateful message.”
attribute
The county sheriff’s office attributed Bud’s disappearance and the note to "just some kids doing a prank.”
derogatory
Bud the Bear was attacked with a paintbrush when someone painted a derogatory statement on him.
tolerance
There has been a lot in the news about tolerance and/or the lack of it. Last Chance is a friendly town. Yet prejudice still hides in the shadows.
perpetrator
For now, beloved Bud the Bear is home in front of the Golden Palace, free of hateful messages. However, the perpetrator is still among us.
crux
“Maizy, you did say it. Maybe not those specific words, but it’s what you meant. That was a powerful statement. Maybe even the crux of the story. Let’s just let people think you said it.”
prospect
There weren’t any marriage prospects for him in Last Chance. In many states, it was against the law for a Chinese person to marry outside their race.
obliterate
3000 DEAD; $300,000,000 LOST
SAN FRANCISCO IS OBLITERATED
culprit
Now that Bud’s home, I’ve eased up on tracking down the culprits.
crusty
Lady Macbeth and Oma have a lot in common. Neither is as crusty as they want you to believe.
circumstantial
“It sounds like there’s something there, but it’s circumstantial evidence.”
Circumstantial?”
“That means it’s not one hundred percent certain that Erik and his friends did it.”
flaunt
Many who had hid their prejudice now felt free to flaunt it.
resentment
By the time World War II ended, it had taken its toll on the entire country, and there was still resentment toward anyone who looked Asian.
legacy
“You and Dad made your life here at the Golden Palace,” Mom tells her. “I’m proud of that. I want to honor my legacy—but in my own way.”
grim
In Opa’s room, Mom and Oma hold hands, looking grim as sorrow wraps them closer together.
frail
Lady Beth looks so frail, like a baby bird.
patron
“As mayor of the town and a longtime patron of the Golden Palace, I’d like to say a few words about your husband during the service, with your permission, of course.”
scrutinize
Mayor Whitlock ignores me. He’s waiting for an answer from Oma. I scrutinize his tell—confident, self-important, pretentious.
pretentious
Mayor Whitlock ignores me. He’s waiting for an answer from Oma. I scrutinize his tell—confident, self-important, pretentious.
boisterous
I’m afraid he may start to cry again, but instead he releases a big, boisterous laugh like I’ve never heard before.
ethical
Apparently, the magazine got an anonymous letter questioning the authenticity of one of his articles. After an internal investigation, he was fired for ethical violations.

Create a new Word List