Title: Since You Asked...
Author: Maureen Goo
Publisher: Scholastic, 2013
First off, love this cover. Except for maybe the color pink in the model's sunglasses, it seems pretty much perfect. This was a funny debut, and I would certainly check out Goo's next book, but I did have some issues.
Holly Kim is just starting her sophomore year. She has three best friends who are also her only friends, and she has a job on the school newspaper team as copy editor. However, things change real fast for Holly when she accidentally submits a joke column in the first newspaper issue of the year instead of the real one, and she somehow finds herself with a new job as columnist. This comes with mixed results, since she was kind of offensive and snarky in the joke column, so she gains some haters as well as, surprising to her, fans. Either way, Holly ends up snarking her way through 10th grade with her monthly column, and finds herself and her worldview changing a bit along the way.
I was actually surprised at how little this book has to do with Holly's column. At the beginning of each month, we are treated to her entries, so we as readers know exactly what the school is reading. However, from the description of the book I expected that to be the focus. It was not. Much of the book is about Holly trying to balance her American identity and her Korean heritage, made especially difficult by her strict parents (especially her mother) and her desire to have a "normal" American life. I actually got tired of reading how Korean her family is, as she seemingly takes every possible opportunity to mention it. As I kept reading, I did realize this is integral to the book and to Holly's identity, but sometimes it seemed too much.
The humor is good, and there are some clever lines and dialogue that I enjoyed. Again, at some points it seemed too much, but I was never put off by it.
One of my biggest problems is with the ending, if only because there are so many loose ends that aren't resolved. Because of this, I'm fully expecting there to be a sequel, since so much is left to uncertainty, and Holly obviously has some more growing to do, especially with some new obstacles thrown in her way at the end of the school year. If there isn't a sequel, I'll be disappointed.
Disclosure: I received this e-galley via NetGalley.