Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
By Jessica Kim
Publisher: Kokila (Penguin Random House) Copyright Year: 2020 ISBN/ISSN: 9780525554974
"Top ramen" and "Yu-meat" are just two of the names eleven-year-old Yumi gets called at school because she smells of working in her family's Korean barbeque restaurant. Yumi dreams of becoming a comedian, but feels constantly under pressure from her parents to pursue a medical career. Instead of attending a Korean test-prep class called a Hagwon (for which Yumi later learns her mom sold a cherished necklace to afford), Yumi accidently assumes the identity of another girl at a kid's comedy workshop at the HaHa Comedy Club and a dilemma ensues. Can Yumi juggle a false identity while helping to keep her family's struggling restaurant afloat? Will Yumi finally be able to communicate with her mother that she is not unappreciative of her family's hard work and efforts on behalf of her future, but that she also desires a life on the stage? Spoiler: Yumi single-handedly helps her family's restaurant succeed by using her father's new karaoke stage as a platform for her stand-up. This uplifting story about a hard-working immigrant family, similar to Patti Kim's I'm Ok (Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2019) is a must-read. The relationship between Yumi and her sister thematically illustrates how strong family ties intermingle and come into conflict with alternate outlooks and attitudes. The author combines humor with Yumi's bitter struggle to try to communicate with her mom to create a timeless and heartwarming tale of individuality and understanding. Readers today will relate to the ongoing battle between parents who want the best for their children and the children's desire to forge a path of their own.
Reviewer: Laura Dooley-Taylor, Librarian, Lake Zurich Middle School North, Hawthorn Woods , IL
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 6-8
Review Date: March 1, 2020
Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she's a girl named Kay Nakamura--and Yumi doesn't correct them.
As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.
Media Type Book, eBook
# Pages 320
Grade (as stated by publisher) 4-7
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC) 6-8
Sub-Genre Realistic Fiction
Content Subject 1 Friends, Peers, Family & Growing Up
Content Subject 2 Community & Everyday Life
Time Period Modern World: 1800 to present day
Region North America
Story: Thought Provoking
Entry ID: 2231102