Book Review: Since You Asked by Maurene Goo

sinceSince You Asked by Maurene Goo takes place in one of my favorite beach towns, San Diego, California. Holly Kim is a typical teenager who just wants to survive high school. She is not only American, but also Korean. Being an American teenager is hard enough, but Holly is learning that being Korean- American is even harder.

Carrie, Liz, and David are Holly’s three best friends; the foursome is inseparable. At the start of their sophomore year, Holly mistakenly submits an article to her high school newspaper, the one she edits for her Journalism class. Chaos ensues and her mistake turns into one of the best things that has ever happened to her, her own monthly column in the newspaper.

Since You Asked sounds like my Live Journal from high school. Holly basically has the same opinions of high school as I did: boring and useless. Although looking back, those really were some of the best years of my life; try telling that to 15 year old me and/or Holly and you’d probably get whacked in the head with a coat hanger, just like Holly’s traditional Korean mother does to her.

I really loved Holly’s newspaper column. As each month of Holly’s sophomore year begins, her article reflects the upcoming events; whether it’s homecoming, student government, Thanksgiving,  Christmas, or Valentine’s Day,  Holly has something witty to say. From crushes to parties, from the cool kids to crazy parents, from battle of the bands to band geeks, this novel covers it all.

Some of the funniest parts of the book that really had me laughing were all of the references to Korean culture and Asian parents in general. Since I’m living in Korea, I found some of the stereotypes to be highly amusing. Several times I was laughing at how Maurene Goo put so many subtle Korean references into the story; references I may have overlooked if it weren’t for the fact that I have been immersed in this culture for so long.

The only issue I have with this novel is how the dialogue is a little lame. I can’t imagine real high school kids talking like that. The conversations between characters are very dry, which confused me. Maurene Goo’s writing is so spot on with how I thought back in high school, but when it came to the dialogue, I felt like I was watching an episode of ABC Family’s Secret Life of the American Teenager (which is not a good thing.)

I love reading Young Adult literature, even though I am 26 years old, but I can’t say that many adults would love this book as much as I did, unless they were an avid YA reader, like myself. I can move past the dry dialogue and focus on the mushy high school love scenes, but I don’t think many adults could relate to this story as much as they can to The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I would definitely recommend this book to middle school readers and high school readers, which is who the book is intended for. Maurene Goo really captures what high school is all about: having great friends, surviving all the fights with your parents, and making it to college.

Amazon says that Maurene Goo’s debut novel will be available June 25, but Maurene Goo’s website says July 1, either way, head over to Amazon and pre-order your copy today!

I want to send a special thanks to Scholastic for sending me an ARC all the way to South Korea so that I could review it.


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