Last Night at the Telegraph Club (Hardcover)
Winter 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“It’s 1950s San Francisco and Lily Hu dreams of going to the moon, or at least working on the math that will someday send a human into space. Calculations and equations are simpler than the puzzle of her own identity — especially as she becomes increasingly sure that she’s queer. With a new friend who might be like her, Lily finds herself venturing into the San Francisco LGBTQ+ community, falling in love, and hiding it all from her family and friends. But keeping secrets is dangerous, especially as McCarthyism’s rise puts Chinese Americans on the defensive. Thoughtful, romantic, and full of descriptions of delicious food, Lily’s story is one of intersecting identities and first love.”
— Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN
Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with her most personal and ambitious novel yet, a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the 1950s.
"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
About the Author
Malinda Lo is the critically acclaimed author of several young adult novels, including most recently A Line in the Dark, which was a Kirkus Best YA Book of 2017 and one of Vulture's 10 Best YA Books of 2017. Her novel Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, was a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and was a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens. She has been a three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Malinda's nonfiction has been published by the New York Times Book Review, NPR, the Huffington Post, The Toast, the Horn Book, and the anthologies Here We Are, How I Resist, and Scratch. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife.
"Lo's writing, restrained yet luscious, shimmers with the thrills of youthful desire. A lovely, memorable novel about listening to the whispers of a wayward heart and claiming a place in the world."—Sarah Waters, international bestselling and award winning author of Tipping the Velvet and The Night Watch
"Exquisite and heart-shattering, Last Night at the Telegraph Club made me ache with wishing. This book is for anyone who has ever loved—in any sense of the word."—Emily X.R. Pan, New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After
"Lily is my favorite kind of heroine: observant, loving, and startlingly brave. Malinda Lo is my favorite kind of writer, one who can bring a scene to life with exquisite detail and nuance. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a triumph. It is the queer novel I wish I had read as a teenager, and feel lucky to have read now."—Marie Rutkoski, New York Times bestselling author of The Winner's Trilogy
"Oh, what a wonderful novel this is! For all who ever dared to want more, much more, from life—a beautifully sensitive love story, with telling historic detail."—Susan Elia MacNeal, New York Times bestselling author of the Edgar-nominated Maggie Hope series
"Malinda Lo's Last Night at the Telegraph Club is an instant classic, the finest LGBTQIA+ romance I've read in ages. Lo has lovingly re-created 1950s San Francisco and made me feel as though I'd lived there, and her depiction of first love felt so real that I experienced it in long-since-forgotten corners of my own heart." —Bill Konigsberg, award-winning author of The Music of What Happens and The Bridge
"Malinda Lo's Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a beautifully observed story about finding love and fighting for one's identity against tremendous odds. In bringing a fascinating chapter of history to vivid life, this novel illuminates a path to the future through a careful understanding of our past. It's vivid, emotional, and hopeful. I loved it." —Abdi Nazemian, author of Stonewall Honor Book Like a Love Story
“A sweeping and romantic page-turner, the heart of this rich and ambitious historical novel is a love story that thrums with passion and self-discovery.”—Laura Ruby, two-time National Book Award Finalist and Printz Award winning author of Bone Gap
"Malinda Lo turns her masterful talent toward an under-covered period of San Francisco history. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is by turns gut-wrenching, utterly compelling, and deeply tender. I loved Lily fiercely, and you will too." —Rebecca Kim Wells, author of Shatter the Sky
"A lovely, affirming, layered, and deft coming-of-queer-age novel."—New York Times bestselling author Kate Elliott
"Lo has really outdone herself here. I don't think I can overstate how refreshing it is to read queer historical fiction that is so complex, nuanced, and tender. It's my opinion that this book will quickly become a new touchstone of the genre of queer literature. What an accomplishment."—Sarah Gailey, award-winning author of Magic for Liars and Upright Women Wanted
"The Price of Salt meets Saving Face in this gripping historical thriller from the celebrated author of Ash.... Last Night at the Telegraph Club is proof of Lo's skill at creating darkly romantic tales of love in the face of danger."—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Lush, ambitious and layered, Malinda Lo’s sweeping historical novel is the queer romance we’ve been waiting for.”—Ms. Magazine
"A journey of self-discovery that's as necessary as it is dangerous."—PopSugar.com
"An enthralling historical lesbian romance."—WBUR
"Malinda Lo is an absolute icon."—BuzzFeed
"A joy to read."—The Advocate
★ “Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.”—Kirkus, starred review
★ “A must-read love story … alternately heart-wrenching and satisfying.”—Booklist, starred review
★ "Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a work of historical fiction that’s as meticulously researched as it is full of raw, authentic emotion.... Shout it from the highest hills: This is a beautiful, brave story, and Lily is a heroine that readers will love.”—BookPage, starred review
★ "This immersive, powerful coming-of-age novel tackles perceptions, expectations, and identity while sweeping readers into smoky lesbian nightclubs and ’50s culture.” —BCCB, starred review
★ ”Smoothly referencing cultural touchstones and places with historic Chinese American significance, Lo conjures 1950s San Francisco adeptly while transcending historicity through a sincere exploration of identity and love.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review