A Step From Heaven and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$3.34
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Step from Heaven Hardcover – April 30, 2001


See all 21 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, April 30, 2001
$0.23 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$46.00

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her mesmerizing first novel, Na traces the life of Korean-born Young Ju from the age of four through her teenage years, wrapping up her story just a few weeks before she leaves for college. The journey Na chronicles, in Young's graceful and resonant voice, is an acculturation process that is at times wrenching, at times triumphant and consistently absorbing. Told almost like a memoir, the narrative unfolds through jewel-like moments carefully strung together.As the book opens, Young's parents are preparing to move from Korea to "Mi Gook," America, where the residents all "live in big houses." Soaring through the sky on her first airplane ride, the child believes she is on her way to heaven, where she hopes to meet up with her deceased grandfather and eventually be reunited with her beloved grandmother, who has stayed behind. After the family's arrival, Young's American uncle dispels the notion that the United States is heaven, yet adds, "Let us say it is a step from heaven." It doesn't take the girl or her parents very long to realize how steep this step is.From her first sip of Coca-Cola, which "bites the inside of my mouth and throat like swallowing tiny fish bones," Young's new life catches her in a tug-of-war between two distinct cultures. When her brother is born, her father announces "Someday my son will make me proud," then disdainfully dismisses Young's assertion that she might grow up to be president ("You are a girl"). Although she learns English in school, Young must speak only Korean at home and is discouraged from spending time with the classmate who is her sole friend. Her father, a disillusioned, broken man, becomes increasingly physically and emotionally abusive to his children and wife as he descends further into alcoholism. In fluid, lyrical language, Na convincingly conveys the growing maturity of her perceptive narrator who initially (and seamlessly) laces her tale with Korean words, their meaning evident from the context. And by its conclusion, readers can see a strong, admirable young woman with a future full of hope. Equally bright are the prospects of this author; readers will eagerly await her next step. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-When four-year-old Young Ju and her parents emigrate from Korea to California by plane, the child, who knows that God is in the sky, concludes that America is heaven. "A step from heaven," her uncle corrects her after they arrive. However, life proves to be far from that for the family, which now includes a new baby. While told in the girl's voice as she matures from a preschooler into a capable young woman about to set off to college, the spare but lyrical text has an adult tone. The loosely structured plot is a series of vignettes that touch upon the difficulties immigrants face: adjusting to strange customs, learning a new language, dealing with government bureaucracy, adults working two jobs each, and children embarrassed by their parents' behavior. Woven throughout is the underlying theme of dealing with an alcoholic and abusive father. Na has effectively evoked the horror and small joys of the girl's home life while creating sympathetic portraits of all of the members of the family. A beautifully written, affecting work.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Miss Mayhem
"Causing 'Mayhem'"
Discover Miss Mayhem, Rachel Hawkins' fun, flirty sequel to Rebel Belle. Learn more | More Teen and Young Adult Reads

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 9 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press; 1st edition (April 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886910588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886910584
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,645,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Such well written description, story, emotional and heartfelt.
Amara
On the surface, the book is about a child-immigrant's experience adapting to life in the United States.
cammykitty
I liked this book because it shows how life can be for everyone.
d kim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By cammykitty on January 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book comes highly recommended. It received the Printz award for young adult literature, and is called a must-read by my writing instructor. On reading it, I can see why. On the surface, the book is about a child-immigrant's experience adapting to life in the United States. It is written more in the style of an adult novel than a YA novel. An Na rightly expects her readers to be able to handle more than a lot of books expect them too.
The voice An Na uses to tell her story is fascinating. It begins with Young Ju as a four-year old who speaks no English. Instead of using normal names for things like "toilet paper", she describes them with amazing childlike and unusual words. When she is in America, English dialogue is written how she hears it, not how it is spelled. Wonderful way to show how confusing a new language is. This book is full of touch and smell, as well as sight. She uses vivid descriptions --For just one example, the touch of her mother's rough hands feel like the lick of a cat's tongue.
The book covers Young Ju's life from Age 4 to college age, and the voice matures with her, from the child who still believes magical things, like planes fly to heaven, to a woman who is becoming independent and American despite her's fathers wish to keep her Korean-thinking and subservient.
This book is truly rich with experience. Nothing is flat. She uses many contrasts. We see her father reading the Korean newspaper avidly and then being stumped completely by a few immigration forms. And it goes on with wonderful details like that.
And as for her father, his portrayal is superb. He is a mean-spirited violent alcoholic. Yet he is their father, and at times there are very good times. At times, he worked for the family very hard. We know how he is struggling with a new culture.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Volkert Volkersz on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I heard author An Na speak at a school librarian's convention in Portland, Oregon, in October, 2002, I knew I had to read this book. What she said struck a chord with me, an immigrant who came to this country when I was 3 years old from Holland in 1953. I am also very close to a young man who was adopted from Korea when he was 2 years old.
While this powerful story is about a Korean girl adapting to her new life in America, many of the struggles she faces are similar to those that I went through, even though I was a white kid from an earlier generation.
I plan to share this emotionally gripping story with my adopted Korean friend, as I believe he will find some things to relate to as well.
Don't be put off by the awkward, slow start. That's part of the story's development. Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "alexmat" on May 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This virtually flawless book traces the steps of Yung Ju, a Korean girl who moves to America (or as she clalls it, "Mi Gook" )as a young child. She thinks she is going to heaven because of all the great things she's heard about it. She soon learns that it is not. Her family struggles to find a place to live, and to learn English. Yung Ju tries her best to do good in school. She makes friends with a girl, only to be forbidden from seeing her. It unfolds into haunting grace as Yung Ju grows and matures into a young woman and her father becomes more and more abusive and becoming an ever closer to becoming an alcoholic and her brother becomes a rebel and ditches school. Strangely graceful yet real and painful, A Step From Heaven dances with pain across the stage with exquisite voice.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on June 13, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Okay, so maybe in reading and rating this book I'm a little biased because I am Korean-American girl, but I thought that it was a good book. The ideas that An Na writes about are so true to Korean culture; the pressure to be perfect; the importance of family; respect; the value of men over women; and dealing with two cultures. The phoenetic spelling of Korean words to English was awkward and I doubt if anyone without knowledge of the Korean language would be able to understand any of it i.e. 'harabugi'(meaning grandfather) 'uhmma'(mom) 'apa' (dad) 'halmoni' (grandmother) 'uhn-nee' (this is a term a girl uses to call another girl who is older than her) 'gomo' (your dad's sister, yes, I realize I could have typed 'aunt', but in Korean there are different words for relatives depending on how they are related to you). I even had trouble trying to understand what the spelling was meant to mean in Korean, but I still think that anyone should read it. The book gives a little insight to the life of a Korean girl growing up in an American society.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mirim Kim on June 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The first chapter literally took my breath away. I could almost *feel* the words in their original Korean, and when Young Ju later finds the photograph of that day, I returned to read it again with new tears filling my eyes. The child's voice is exquisite--neither saccharine nor too-cute. The interplay between Young Ju, her younger brother, and their abusive father is both heartrending and "true."
I would give the book 5 stars for the first few chapters and 3 stars for the end chapters. I didn't like the long time span which, in my opinion, weakened the tight narrative control which is so breathtaking in the beginning.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a series of carefully crafted moments in the life of a Korean immigrant girl named Young Ju. From the first moment, in which we can assume Young Ju is a baby, to the last, when she is a young woman, we believe her voice and care about her story. The writing is poetic and very real- the images Young Ju uses to describe her world not only make the reader see what she sees, but bring us to feel empathy for her and to want so badly for everything to turn out for her in the end. A poignant and gentle look at a not-so gentle world, this book stayed with me long after I had closed it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?