Tuesday, June 25, 2013
DISCLAIMER: Maurene Goo is a good friend of mine, so my opinion on her book is obviously biased. However, I am really picky about the things I choose to support regardless if they're made by friends or not, and there are real reasons I was such an advocate of Maurene's writing from the moment I first read Since You Asked (formerly The Holly Columns).
Imagine Seinfeld... as a Korean American teenage girl in San Diego. That basically sums up my reading experience of Since You Asked, with all its biting satire, hilarious hijinks, and heartfelt family drama. I seriously felt like I was watching a great sitcom about teen life as it is, not as it's idealized or glamorized, and it was oh so refreshing. This is high school -- awkward, ridiculous, and coming off the tail end of childhood.
I honestly wish I had this book to read while I was a teen. I was a mixed race kid of a loving Korean immigrant mother and an alcoholic father, growing up in middle-of-nowhere mostly caucasian Rochester, NY. I really could've used a window into life as a Korean American teen without the Korean-ness making her feel alien or weird, a window that showed how funny and beautiful it is to eat kimchee with Thanksgiving dinner; a window that made fun of how nonsensical high school life was, and one that told me it was perfectly cool to skip Homecoming Dance or feel totally uncomfortable at some kid's house party that was going way out of control.
I feel like there are other kids out there that could use this window too, one that acknowledges that despite all the pressures to be fashionable, well-liked, and getting a date, you're still a kid and that's okay. Far too often it feels like we're pushing our kids to grow faster than necessary, and it's nice to read a book that doesn't do that without it being condescending or sugar-coating anything.
Since You Asked is all of the above, and hilarious to boot. Seriousness aside, the book is just plain fun to read and you're going to love the characters. I can see a lot of appeal to fans of John Green, Maureen Johnson, and even Jeff Kinney's Diary of Wimpy Kid.
This is a stand-alone book, but there is so much potential for Holly's world and her friends. I truly hope a second one is on the horizon, because I could spend days at BHS and I would have a big smile on my face the whole time.
But, as they say on Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it!
Read an excerpt
Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.
P.S. Maurene if you're reading this... you're SO GOOD at writing romance!! Holy moly! David and Holly need to get together. :)