It’s Another Month of Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays!
This debut from Erin Yun features Pippa’s first person narration as she tries to fit into her new private middle school. Unlike the other students with their makeup and fancy homes, Pippa hides the embarrassment of her upbringing and present situation by pretending she’s like the other kids. Let’s just say things don’t go as planned.
With her mother in Korea, Pippa lives with her older sister and husband. There’s pressure to do well both in basketball and in her classes. Failure means she’ll be asked to leave the school. A dominating group of girls and a crush on her math tutor provide the drama. It all turns into a realistic romp with a touch of mystery. Perfect for fifth grade on up (including interested adults), the 27 chapters flow by smoothly.
Great job, Erin! A sequel would be welcome.
PUBLISHED: 2020 PAGE COUNT: 264 pages
THE OFFICIAL BACKGROUND
Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. So when she gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, a crush, and the pressure to perform at school while keeping her past and her family’s laundromat a secret from her elite classmates. When social media threatens Pippa’s persona, she wonders if she can keep it together.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT
- I always call the teen and preteen years the “Oops” or “Whoops” time period. Kids often act first then realize when its too late what they did wrong. Pippa provides many ‘oops’ and readers will be nodding with familiarity.
- The cast of characters were perhaps too many, but each has a personality that surfaces in both good ways and bad. Some of the so called clique group break the usual stereotype and befriend Pippa.
- You feel Pippa’s passion for basketball, but it doesn’t dominate the story for anyone assuming this is a basketball book. It’s about the Korean culture and the tension of being the new kid in school.
- A nice plot twist when her crush has a far from perfect life than Pippa believed at first.
- The brother-in-law, Jung-Hwa, is the kindest and most sincere caregiver you’d ever hope for in a family. His dress and demeanor added special charm to the story.