Book Reviews

Review: The Queens of New York by E.L. Shen

The Queens of New York is a gorgeous story about friendship. It’s about navigating our dreams, our past trauma, and figure out our place in the world. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Best friends Jia Lee, Ariel Kim, and Everett Hoang are inseparable. But this summer, they won’t be together.

Everett, aspiring Broadway star, hopes to nab the lead role in an Ohio theater production, but soon realizes that talent and drive can only get her so far. Brainy Ariel is flying to San Francisco for a prestigious STEM scholarship, even though her heart is in South Korea, where her sister died last year. And stable, solid Jia will be home in Flushing, juggling her parents’ Chinatown restaurant, a cute new neighbor, and dreams for an uncertain future.

As the girls navigate heartbreaking surprises and shocking self-discoveries, they find that even though they’re physically apart, they are still mighty together.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: racism

The Queens of New York is a book about friendship born from a moment when friendship mattered the most. This multiple POV story is about how friends know when we aren’t okay. The fake smiles, doubts that haunt us at night, and support of a hug and a pint of ice cream. With email snippets – which I adored – The Queens of New York lets us see to the beating hearts and fragilities we confide to our friends, and the ones we hide.

I cannot pick a favorite POV. In Jia’s POV I loved how she’s trying to balance her ambition for the future versus what her parent’s always imagined. For Everett my heart broke for the racism she encounters and the importance of speaking out, of knowing it’s not okay. And, of course, for Ariel her grief undid me. The ways she can get lost in a moment, in a wisp of a memory. If you love a story about friendship, The Queens of New York is a must.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

It’s a story that is rooted in friendship and personal journey. For each of them, they have to figure out what they are willing to put on the line for the future and what future is worth fighting for. Find The Queens of New York on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite YA friendship group?

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