Friday, June 08, 2007

Kimchi & Calamari


Kent, Rose. 2007. Kimchi & Calamari. 220 pages.

You wake up and you're fourteen. The world is your supersized soda waiting to be guzzled, right? Wrong. My birthday tasted more like Coke that went flat. Make that flat Coke with cookie crumbs from my little sister's backwash. Not that I planned on a lousy birthdya. After all, I'm Joseph Calderaro, eighth grade optimist. The bag of barbecue chips is always half full in my mind. As I searched for my Yankees T-shirt that morning, I tapped out my favorite band tune with my drumsticks. I was ready to hit the halls of Johansen Middle School bursting with I'm-all-that attitude. I couldn't wait to hear "Happy Birthday to Joseph" chants from cute girls in the hallway between classes. And of course, I expected to uphold my family's tradition of gorging on my favorite dinner. Fried calamari. Eggplant Parmesan. Chocolate cake with gobs of cannoli frosting. Even the whines from Gina and Sophie couldn't ruin that meal. Little did I know that my burned Pop-Tart breakfast would be a sign of trouble ahead. Or that the day's events would spiral downward, just like that pastry--from strawberry frosted and gooey good to black-on-the-bottome and smoking bad. (1-2)

Homework assignments are never fun...at least not through the eyes of an eighth-grader. But Joseph finds one assignment in particular to be extra-impossible. His social studies class is supposed to write a 1500 word essay on their ancestry. The problem? This "Italian" kid is Korean. He's adopted. Joseph would find it awkward to write about his Italian heritage--even though that is how he's been raised. He knows and loves his Italian-sized family. He loves the food. He loves the get togethers. He loves the traditions. But he also knows that it is sort've obvious to the rest of the world that he isn't Italian. But he finds it equally impossible to write about his Korean ancestors. He's adopted. He knows nothing except that he was found in front of a police station in Pusan. No names. No reasons. So he decides to bend the truth just a little. He researches Korea in the library and on the internet, chooses a famous Korean, and inserts him into the family tree. Soon, Joseph had a tangled web of lies that even Spiderman couldn't get out of. But some truths have to be told. Some words need to be said.

Through the course of Kimchi and Calamari Joseph begins to discover who he really is. And he makes peace with both his Korean and Italian ethnicity.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP