The Lost Language centers around 6th grade Betsy and her best friend, Lizard (both girls are actually named Elizabeth!) who decide to save a disappearing language Guernsiais (spoken on the small Isle of Guernsey, off the coast of France). Betsy’s mom is a passionate linguist who — unbeknownst to Betsy — is also dealing with depression and anxiety. Lizard has always been a bit of a bossy, possessive friend, thanks to her assertive character. As the two girls work on the project together, cracks in their friendship begin to show and a near-tragedy in Betsy’s family threatens to tear them apart.
E.L. Shen’s The Comeback follows 12-year-old figure skater, Maxine Chen. Maxine loves figure skating and is pretty good at it too. Her parents are extra supportive and make financial sacrifices so that Maxine can pursue her passion. Still, they’re balanced and never pressure her to do anything she doesn’t. They also always ensure that she prioritizes school work and is not too hard on herself.
Maxine is a confident skater and feels sure that she’s got at least third place in the bag during her contest, but things start to get complicated when a new skater named Holly shows up. Holly is better trained and more experienced on the ice and Maxine begins to feel jealousy and other negative emotions. Maxine is also struggling with a bully at school who makes racial jokes about Maxine, such as about her monolid.