Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a historical fiction novel set in San Francisco in the 1950’s, where high-schooler Lily Hu goes through her queer awakening. Lily Hu is the “model” Chinese-American daughter, who gradually comes to realize her sense of identity as she befriends her math classmate and heads off towards a lesbian bar. Caught in the overwhelming feelings of confusion and exhilaration, the threat of risking old friendships and even her father’s deportation looms over her. Now, Lily must decide whether it is worth dropping her “model” daughter act and just be herself or not.
I absolutely adore this book with every inch of my heart. The way Lo created a complicated yet beautiful intersection of what it’s like being an immigrant teenager dealing with the aspects of racism and homophobia in a historical setting, is what compelled me the most. The inclusivity of Chinese elements was amazing because it added so much more meaning to how Lily dealt with self-acceptance, as well as making her seem so real with her reactions. And of course, the intimate sapphic love that was built so beautifully, definitely made a lasting impact on me.