Title: Since You Asked
Author: Maurene Goo
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture.
I took a minute to warm up to this book, but once I did, I thought it was pretty good. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since I haven’t heard a lot about it, but it ended up being adorable and funny. The characters were all cute and special in their own ways, and I found them to be totally believable, especially Holly, who is clever and witty if sometimes annoying.
This book allowed me to see the differences and similarities shared between teens of my culture and of Holly’s Korean-American one on a different level. I felt Holly was much more “Americanized” than some of the other Asian characters in the book, and certainly much more than her family. I completely believed her struggle with trying to be independent and choosing what family values mattered to her. Her journey is awkward and funny, and despite some of the cultural differences discussed in the book, I think Since You Asked will appeal to people across many different cultures.
I would also say this book is probably more geared toward older middle schoolers-younger high schoolers. It’s a quick, easy read, but doesn’t explore issues as in depth as a book for older young adults might. It also doesn’t have any romance, which might make it seem more traditionally “appropriate” for younger readers.
The lack of romance in this book really stuck out to me because, as you’ve probably figured out by now, I. Am so. Sick. Of romance (okay, maybe just bad/cliche romance). Female protagonists in YA tend to go completely gaga over a boy and lose themselves, so I sometimes get frustrated with love stories. Since You Asked proves that a book for teens doesn’t need romance to be fun and entertaining.
If you’re looking for a cute school-y read with a twist, check out Maurene Goo’s debut!