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Good Enough by Paula Yoo

September 18th, 2008 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: silly
Current Song: Without a Trace score music

Good Enough by Paula Yoo is the fantastic and funny story of Patti, a Korean-American girl dealing with her parents' expectations and restrictions (Get good grades! Don't date boys! Get into HarvardYalePrinceton!) during her senior year of high school.

Patti is an impressive student and an honored violinist. If only she could celebrate her musical talent herself, on her own terms. Her parents think it's a just another way to get into college, and that prevents her from considering it a true talent. That is, until she meets a trumpet player who makes her think twice about the life her parents have planned out for her and starts thinking for herself.

Good Enough is not about rebelling against your parents, nor breaking the rules. It's about knowing that it's okay to question the rules and to have your own beliefs and dreams.

This book is seriously funny. Don't misunderstand me - the book does not rely on jokes and punchlines, and Patti is not a comedienne. The book is funny because it's true. It relates events that are humiliating when they happen but hilarious in retrospect. It takes SAT problems and applies them to Patti's everyday life. There's plenty of math and music humor mixed in with test prep, church meetings, and college applications. The short chapters are supplemented with footnotes, Spam recipes, and quirky chapter titles, such as How to Make Your Korean Parents Happy. I have read passages out loud to customers. The writing is witty and fun without compromising the reality of Patty's situation. Seriously funny.

Good Enough will definitely appeal to fans of Michele Jaffe's Bad Kitty, Maureen Johnson's Girl at Sea, and Justina Chen Headley's Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies).

As I read the book, I thought of one of my regular customers who has a lot in common with the protagonist. The next day, she came into the store and I read a passage out loud to her. She immediately declared, "It's like the story of my life! What is it?!" I let her borrow the book, and, despite her heavy homeworkload, she read it in two days. It was, indeed, the story of her life. Well, except for the part about the trumpet player, but definitely the school life and home life - even the recipes involving Spam.

The postergirlz and readergirlz selected this title to be the spotlighted title in the September 2008 issue of readergirlz.

Read our roundtable discussion of Good Enough.

I also posted about the book + readergirlz at SparkLife.


Posted by: Susan (burstoflight)
Posted at: December 25th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)

Merry Christmas, Tink!!! :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 25th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)

Merry Christmas, Susan! :)

Posted by: theyayayas.wordpress.com (ext_75513)
Posted at: December 27th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)

I was not going to read this because I'm seriously not a fan of books about Asian-Americans who have strict parents with high academic expectations. But you're tempting me, especially with the Bad Kitty reference. And the spam.


Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 27th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)

After I lent this book to that customer, I had multiple kids wanting to read it. Another customer, a young man, saw it on my desk, read the back, and wanted to read it solely based on that - I turned around and he told me that it sounded like interesting to him, and I hadn't even said anything yet.

Have you heard the Bad Kitty news? If not, stay tuned. I'll be posting an interview with Michele Jaffe within the next 24 hours.

I don't eat Spam -- I'm a vegetarian -- but apparently, it's a staple! in many households! or so the kids told me. ("Ohmigosh, my mom puts Spam in EVERYTHING." It was an amusing conversation.)

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