This was a really interesting book, in that I had no idea the same word, depending on how the character is written in Chinese, could have more than 14 different meanings.
Meilan is a 12-year-old who's been forced to move out of her sheltered Boston Chinatown school and community haven when her father sells the bakery and distributes the proceeds of the sale among his siblings.
She, however, thinks she had a hand in the family's departure when an Aunt fixates on one of her made-up fairy-tales and starts pestering her father about where all the "money" from the bakery is going.
She's also lost her grandmother, her Năinai, and her grandfather grieves her loss dearly, while he's also clearly in the early stages of dementia.
The family packs up the car and meanders their way to Redbud, Ohio, where there's a "sign" and they settle down. Meilan enrolls in school and she's the only Chinese American there. Kids are generally ugly to her, and she takes to compartmentalizing her "selves," one for each meaning of Meilan. At home she's a Basket, holding her family's hopes; at school she's a Mist, hopefully invisible to her cruel peers and refuses to speak; while after school with her one friend Logan, she's Blue, bright and vibrant.
Her grandfather fought in the Vietnam War, on the US side, but for Taiwan. The school principal doesn't think his story should be shared on Veteran's Day and tries to exclude it and Meilan from presenting.
But she finds the courage to make her own place in Redbud and bring all the meanings of her name together into one courageous girl.