August 28, 2013

Latest Read: Since You Asked by Maurene Goo

Here are the basics ...
Since You Asked by Maurene Goo
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from the library

Summary: A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture. (Adapted goodreads.com)

My thoughts…
The good: I picked up this book mostly because it's rare to find a young adult book about what it's like to grow up Asian-American. In fact, I can't think of any (unless I'm having some sort of brain freeze at the moment). I wanted to see what the author would do and I loved the characters she created! She gives a stereotypical, albeit very true, and hilarious account of how Holly Kim feels being a sophomore in high school struggling to respect traditional Korean values while growing up American like a "normal teenager".

The writing in Since You Asked flows really well and often times felt like a conversation with a friend. I could hear Holly's voice so clearly in my head. She's snarky but kind of shy, funny, loves her group of friends and clashes with her mother BIG TIME. How I related to that last part. Everything from not being able to leave the house without at least two (if not more) people interrogating her, the big family get togethers where all the cousins get compared, not being allowed to go to sleepovers and the emphasis on academics. Granted my parents weren't as bad as Holly's but there were enough similarities to make me laugh out loud and nod my head in absolute agreement. Girlfriend, I feel your pain. Up until I moved out, I couldn't leave the house without someone asking me where I'm going and why, who was I meeting and what time do I think I'll be back. Not because they would try to stop me from going out but there are just no boundaries. Privacy does not exist in Asian homes. Just saying.

The depiction of Holly's family and culture, Holly's accidental foray into journalism and finding her voice and all the fun times with her best friends were the highlights of the book.

(Some) reservations: My biggest issue is that there wasn't an actual plot? I felt like I was just seeing Holly's every day life as she tried to make it through the school year. There was no moment of her and her mom trying to reconcile their differences, Holly didn't suddenly stand up for herself (I mean she did from time to time, but nothing major). There wasn't even a love interest which I was somewhat sad about. There's a hint of it but you mostly just have to read between the lines. The end and the whole story was kind of open-ended. I mean granted, Holly is a sophomore in high school so she does have a million possibilities in front of her so maybe that was the point.

Do I recommend?: I think if you're in the mood for something funny and light and interested in learning about Asian culture (or you're Asian like me), I would recommend this.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. You know what this book makes me think of? Hot Chick. If you've ever seen that movie, there's a character who's mixed race with a black father and Asian mom, and for some reason, this book made me think of that. It does sound pretty amusing though, particularly since I'm fairly certain that I too would be able to relate to a lot of things about it!

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  2. You know what's funny?! When I saw this on Feedly, I read it as "Latest Read...Since You Asked", as in, since people kept asking you about your latest read! Lol! I forgot that's what you title your reviews! FAIL!

    Anyways, oh, an Asian-American book?! I'm intrigued! Sucks that this book was practically plotless though. And no love interest?! For a contemp? That's alil different. It does bother me that there aren't more Asian-specific books out there. Good ones, at least. Sigh...well, great review either way!

    Vi
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  3. Um, I'm Asian so that definitely just perked my interest! I feel as if I would totally relate to Holly really well too because growing up in America as an Asian is.. an experience! I'm glad to see you found her voice so colloquial. It's a bit of shame that there's no plot though. I'm scared it might get a little slow! And hardly no romance? :( I'll check this one out from the library as well, since I'm not too sure I'll LOVE it. Awesome review though, Rachel!

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