by An Na
Basic Summary: Young Ju moved with her family to America – the place of dreams. There they were supposed to find new houses, good educations, better jobs. A happy family. Unfortunately, things don’t happen quite as smooth as the family would like. While her Uhmma and Apa do find jobs, and they do find a place to live, things don’t get any easier. In fact, they get harder. Young Ju serves as a (for lack of a better term) haunting yet beautiful narrator as she tells her family’s tale from a toddler in Korea to a teen in America.
Kell’s Chatty Review: An Na did a beautiful job with this book. Although it’s not particularly my usual cup o’ tea (I prefer books that are more upbeat as a whole), I did find it to be compelling and heartbreaking. It’s hard to be chatty about this book because it’s not a particularly chatty book. Every word is carefully chosen as An Na represents a young girl who knows little to no English, to a teen who carefully picks and chooses the English and Korean words she uses to describe her life.
A Different Look: While, like I said,I don’t prefer to read these type of books, I do understand the purpose of them. Books with this type of story expose readers not only to different cultures, but also to different cultural experiences. These are important for understanding where people come from and why they do what they do.
Which is Why: I can totally see why this book won the Printz. There’s not a word out of place and instead of lecturing and preaching the many hardships that Young Ju’s family faced, An Na allows the reader to experience and feel the same feelings. Which is not an easy thing to do.
What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Research.
What life lesson I learned from this book: (For the second time in the last week) How lucky I am.
Re-Readability Rating: 1. Like I said. It’s not particularly my style.
Where this book came from: the library!