Friday, May 16, 2008

Good Enough

Yoo, Paula. 2008. Good Enough.

Paula Yoo's debut novel Good Enough is more than good enough by my standards. Patti Yoon, our narrator, is always being told--directly or indirectly--that she's not good enough. Why be happy with being assistant concertmaster? If you're not in first place, you're a loser, right? Why be happy with anything other than the perfect 2400 for SAT's, right? 2010? Not good enough. Pressured to focus on the Ivy League colleges, Patti Yoon spends her life always always working towards her parents goals. That is until she meets "Cute Trumpet Guy" Ben Wheeler who shows her that there are other important things in life--friendship, fun, doing what you want to do, etc. Now, Patti is torn between striving to be THE best and trying to do her best.

The novel is about life and love (in this case unrequited) and friendship. It's a novel about being. It's a novel about being torn, not knowing exactly what you want. Patti's parents want her to go to HarvardYalePrinceton. It doesn't matter which school--as long as it's Ivy League. They don't necessarily care what profession she pursues either--so long as its practical. Music? Impractical! But Patti loves playing her violin, and quite a few people have told her she's gifted, talented. That she should be focusing on music. Her parents see her violin, her talent, as a hook to her getting into college. What does Patti want? That is the question at the heart of this book.

The novel focuses on a Korean-American family. (And on their Korean church, especially the youth group.) Patti and her family definitely experience some prejudice and discrimination. Patti just can't understand why though she suspects its the fact that she's the only Asian-American at her high school. The "mean" people, the bullies, will name call all the geeks, (Patti is among 'the geeks') but she's singled out by her race.

Oh my God. I'm not Japanese! Why is he even calling me a Jap? What does my ethnicity have to do with any of this? Why does Susan get to be called Queen of the Hobbits or dork or geek but I always get called Jap or Chink or gook? What does being Asian have to do with me being a nerd/geek/dork/physically uncoordinated loser? Why can't he just call me a geek, too? It would still hurt, but I'd take geek over gook any day. Because we all know geeks can change--just look at all those Hollywood romantic comedies where the girl geek takes off her glasses, unpins her ponytail, and turns into a princess. But I can't stop being Korean. I can't change my skin color. Even though I know he's wrong, Eric still makes me feel embarrassed for being Korean sometimes. (80)
Good Enough is a coming-of-age, finding-yourself novel, with plenty of heart and soul. Definitely recommended.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP