Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Since You Asked
Since You Asked by Maurene Goo
High school sophomore Holly Kim has always tried to fly below the radar of student attention to avoid some of the inevitable Asian-American stereotypes and keep her mom from bugging her too much. But when Holly's snarky parody of an article is accidentally published in the school paper, administrators decide to "punish" Holly by assigning her to write a feature article for each monthly issue. Most of the students (and some teachers) hate what Holly writes, but (for reasons not disclosed to the reader) she writes on, dissing the Student Council, her school's Homecoming traditions, and her family's skewed, modern version of the American Dream. In October, she uncovers an accusation of rigging the Homecoming court elections but doesn't ever find out if they are rigged or not. In February, she acquires a secret admirer who writes horrible rhyming couplets. In June she defies her stereotypical Korean mom and goes to L.A. with her friends for the weekend and gets busted by the cops, and...
Funny at times, snarky all the way through, and with a randomness that echoes the inability of many high school sophomores to look more than three days into the future, this book meanders through the school year, not even sticking to its own inner structure. (Hello? If the book is supposed to feature a monthly newspaper column, what happened to January? And March? and May?)
I wanted to love this book, and I'm so sorry that I didn't. Several chapters were awesome, but the whole thing never stuck together as a cohesive unit.
Despite hints of sexual situations, nothing like that happens on-page or off. There is some underage drinking, and some fairly dreadful rock-and-roll, plus the aforementioned rhyming couplets.