STACEY LEE and JOANNA HO at Books Inc. Palo Alto

Author photo of Stacey Lee and Joanna Ho and cover image of Winston Chu

Books Inc. proudly welcomes local and best-selling author Stacey Lee in celebration of her debut middle grade novel Winston Chu vs. The Whimsies.

Stacey will be in conversation with friend and local author Joanna Ho. 

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Stacey Lee's modern reimagining of a classic Chinese folktale--replete with magic, boba, and lots of trash talking.

Twelve-year-old Winston Chu is supposed to learn impulse control at the cooking academy his mom enrolled him in. But learning to think before he acts won't happen overnight.

While skateboarding home with a pie in hand, Winston inadvertently stops a robbery at Mr. Pang's Whimsies, an oddities shop in Chinatown. As a reward, Mr. Pang invites Winston to choose any item in the store. But the strange old man warns Winston to browse carefully, for the first thing Winston touches will be the thing he gets. Before Winston can decide, a magpie flies under a shelf, and he impulsively grabs an old broom to sweep it out.

Mr. Pang hands him the broom, along with a dustpan. "Two for one. Congratulations."

Deflated, Winston returns home, determined to put the broom incident behind him. Or at least in the closet. But when some of his most beloved possessions go missing, all Winston can think about are the broom and dustpan. Did they somehow take his stuff? And what--or who--will they dispose of next?

It's time to break into Mr. Pang's Whimsies, where clearly there's more going on than meets the far-seeing eyeball. It's time to fight magic with magic. And this time, Winston better have a plan.


It is a spectacular kind of joy to find a book that makes you wonder and dream and believe that magic is just around the corner waiting to happen-- Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies does this and more. In her explosively clever middle grade debut, Stacey Lee has written a brilliant adventure full of humor, heart, and whimsically wicked objects.-- --Stephanie Garber, New York Times #1 & internationally best-selling author of the Caraval series

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies is a roller coaster ride of enchanting surprises and chaotic magic that leads the reader through the most epic journey! I didn't want it to end!!"-- --Ellen Oh, award-winning author of Finding Junie Kim and the Spirit Hunters trilogy

"We read to learn, right? Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies teaches you all sorts of useful skills, like how to get your sister's soul out of a doll, how to help celestial spirits find love, and what not to choose when a strange shopkeeper offers you one free gift. Lee's tale is full of family, friendship, hijinks, hilarity, and flying pizza slices that will slap you if you're not careful--all told by a master raconteur."-- --Carlos Hernandez, award-winning author of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies is the best kind of adventure story--one with both hilarious magic and a heartfelt emotional core!-- --Xiran Jay Zhao, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor


Stacey Lee is the New York Times and Indie bestselling author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction, including The Downstairs Girl, a Reese's Book Club Late Summer 2021 YA pick, and her most recent novel, Luck of the Titanic, which received five starred reviews. A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she is a co-founder of the We Need Diverse Books movement and writes stories for all kids (even the ones who look like adults). Stacey loves board games, has perfect pitch, and through some mutant gene, can smell musical notes through her nose. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @staceyleeauthor.

Joanna Ho is passionate about equity in books and education. She has been an English teacher, a dean, and a teacher professional development mastermind. She is currently the vice principal of a high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids make Joanna's eyes crinkle into crescent moons. Her books for young readers include Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. Visit her at and @JoannaHoWrites.

Event date: 
Tuesday, February 7, 2023 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc.
74 Town & Country Village
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Pre-Order Now Badge
Rick Riordan Presents Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies By Stacey Lee Cover Image
ISBN: 9781368074803
Availability: Coming Soon - AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - February 7th, 2023

The Silence that Binds Us By Joanna Ho Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063059344
Availability: In Stock Now - Click Title to See Store Inventory. Please allow up to 48-hours for Curbside Pickup orders to be processed.
Published: HarperTeen - June 14th, 2022

One of Books Inc.’s favorite aspects of being booksellers is getting the chance to welcome and host hundreds of authors a year, from house-hold names to local, debut authors and we are so excited to begin reintroducing the Bay Area with “The Experience You Can’t Download” in our stores with traditional author talks and booksignings. In addition to meet-and-greet author events and standard author talks, we are also continuting virtual author events.

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