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Since You Asked... Hardcover – June 25, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8-10–Holly Kim, 15, is  trying to convince her mother that no one dresses up for the first day of school, only to have her younger sister wander “into the kitchen looking like a ‘Back-To-School Cool!' advertisement in a JC Penney catalog.” Holly just wants to make it as a Korean girl in an American high school. Blessed with the gift to write, she is the copy editor for the journalism class. While reading a finished story, she alters it with sarcasm and wit, only to have it published by mistake. Her outlandish remarks make her both famous and infamous with the student body. Her gift for words helps her land her own monthly column, which may or may not help her survive mean girls, homecoming, and other high school drama. As she sets out to write these columns, she focuses on Korean and high school culture and traditions, which are mostly centered around holidays. This makes the story line a bit disjointed at times but the editorials she writes and responses from readers seem to hold it together. Any girl who has felt pulled in two different directions because of traditions at home as well as at school will appreciate Holly's struggle.–Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

Praise for Since You Asked . . .

"A drily funny account of a teenager who feels like an outsider in her high school, family, and society in general . . . Goo capably demonstrates the pressures and expectations Holly is under, and that a sense of humor is valuable for dealing with both." —Publishers Weekly

"Had me laughing the whole way through . . . Holly is a character that will stay in your mind well after you put the book down. And the letters from her secret admirer sprinkled throughout were pure genius!" —Glitter Magazine

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545448212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545448215
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,224,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a super fun read, just perfect for summer. Holly is such a snark and let's face it, she is just saying what we are all thinking: there are some things about high school that are just LAME. Thankfully, Holly ends up with a platform, if inadvertently, to put it all out there via her school newspaper. Suddenly, a girl who was just somewhat awkwardly plodding through high school, minding her own business, has an audience and everything that comes with it. Aside from the hilarity at school and with Holly's Korean family, I really enjoyed the multi-cultural aspects of this book: the diversity of her friends and the melting pot of Southern California. Good times.
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Format: Hardcover
Such a great, fun summer read. What I really love is that the protagonist is relatable--which is seemingly harder and harder to find in YA. Holly, the main character, doesn't have any superpowers, she doesn't come from a picture-perfect family, and she isn't the most popular girl in school. It's so refreshing that she has a point of view on high school crap (yep, she's over it) and is smart and insightful. When she gets a platform to rant publicly (in the form of a column in her school paper), you have to root for her. The book has a lot of hilarious moments, especially with Holly's family, and it'll make you miss being a teenager AND also grateful that those years are over. The ending may leave you wanting a little more closure but to me that says ... a sequel may be in the cards for Goo and Holly? Hope so!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So I can't tell you how many times I laughed at loud at some of the scenes in this book. Growing up a Korean American with Korean immigrant parents, this book really nailed so many moments! Mom had her cringeworthy moments (that I've experienced first hand) plus a few embellishments specific to that character. Holly was such an interesting mix of all those traits that come with living in this type of life--the embarrassment, the guilt, the rebelliousness mixed with shyness. I was both rooting for her as well as cringing for the mistakes she made. I was also really jealous of how sharp her commentary was in the newspaper column. Holly said what I would have been too meek to say--so I'm glad she did! She broke through that stereotype of the polite, quiet, hardworking, super nerdy Asian girl and just is what she is--a teen struggling with identity, parental issues, and social frustration.

Man, I wished I had this book when I was a teen. By now, it would have been a cult classic for those of us growing up in K-A households.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked this up and read it in a matter of 2 days. As an adult, getting caught up in a YA novel takes some good work on the part of the author, but it did capture me. The author brings the high school experience to life with a smart, mouthy teenager who is finding her way through being bicultural and finding her true voice. I noticed myself hoping for a sequel when I turned the last page, so obviously this was a good one!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So. Much. Win!

Thankfully there are blogs which cater to readers seeking more diversity in their books and I came across this one.

A quick read, yet full of fun snark, Since You Asked proves that high school is still hell and parents are a mysterious species that we may never understand (the Fresh Prince was so right). I loved Holly Kim and her group of off-the-radar friends. I know the popular media likes to stereotype Asian and Asian-American characters as smart and socially inept (amongst other horrid tropes) but Holly has a fresh and brash voice that is so relatable for anyone who never understood why high school was/is nonsensical. At its heart this is a story about what it is to be American at the same time being from an immigrant background.
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Format: Hardcover
Confession time. I’m forty-something, which means that what I like may not coincide with what teens like. Since You Asked by Maureen Goo had high potential because it’s about a teen writer and books about writers generally resonate me. However, the clichés and stereotypes, the snarky attitude, and the abundance of slang and cursing ultimately turned me off. Adolescent girls will however probably enjoy the rebellious Holly and the romantic twists that develop throughout her last year in high school.

I do love the premise. When fifteen-year-old copy editor Holly Kim unintentionally submits an article that ridicules her peers, she gets her own column in which she is invited to rant freely about teen life. So far so good. I myself wrote for my school newspaper and enjoyed the power it gave me to voice my opinions. But this book is not actually about writing. Holly does not actually have any writing aspirations, nor does she grow as a writer. Instead, her columns are merely a device used to connect a somewhat fragmented story. Moreover, Holly’s initial submission is actually a parody of another writer’s overly positive outlook on the coming school year and so there’s some wit to it, whereas her subsequent submissions are just whiny and negative. While a never-ending cynical tone can be realistic, it becomes just as tiring in Since You Asked as it does in real life. You can see that the premise ultimately fell flat for me.

The wildly-popular Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot also left me with a bad taste, which means obviously what doesn’t work for me might still have high appeal for its intended audience. For example, while I might dislike the trashing of adults in teen novels, Goo’s female audience may like that Holly and her parents constantly clash.
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