O. M. G.
I feel like I haven’t read a really good young adult novel since I took YA Literature last spring with Loretta Gaffney. AHHHHH Paula Yoo’s first YA novel, Good Enough, (HarperCollins Feb 2008) totally blew my socks off. Patti is a high school senior with perfect grades and perfect helicopter parents. Although my parents weren’t as overbearing as hers, much of the story (including all the SPAM references!) totally resonated with me. My brother and I were expected to perform well in school, be obedient, don’t ask questions, be an officer/leader in every club/organization/team, attend church diligently, hang out with good kids, become a doctor and/or lawyer (or marry one, as Patti says), and live happily ever after. Well, neither my brother nor I became a doctor or lawyer (or married one) but I think we’re all living happily ever after anyway, and our parents are pretty happy with us too. They tell us (now) that they want us to be happy and be with people who make us happy. And doing just that – being happy – seems like an elusive dream for Patti as she struggles with what is happiness and what is success, and can the two ever be the same? Like a good story, the ending of Good Enough is not neatly tied up but rather leaves open the possibilities for Patti to choose her own path to happiness.
Here’s the Harper‘s blurb:
How to make your Korean parents happy:
1. Get a perfect score on the SATs.
2. Get into HarvardYalePrinceton.
3. Don’t talk to boys.*
Patti’s parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.
But Patti’s discovering that there’s more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there’s Cute Trumpet Guy. He’s funny, he’s talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti’s favorite band. Then, of course, there’s her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn’t want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?
Paula Yoo scores big in her hilarious debut novel about an overachiever who longs to fit in and strives to stand out. The pressure is on!
*Boys will distract you from your studies.