Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

Title: Unidentified Suburban Object
Author: Mike Jung
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction

The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who's Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She's had it with people thinking that everything she does well -- getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, etCETera -- are because she's ASIAN.
Of course, her own parents don't want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It's only when Chloe's with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn't feel like a total alien. 
Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She's Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee's class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

This book was assigned for class, and normally it is hard for me to enjoy a book or finish one when it is assigned but this book was different. I don't know if it was because the book was set for a younger crowd, but I am going to go with the fact that I liked the book. 

The story follows a young girl, Chloe Cho, who has had it with all the Asian stereotypes. A strong academic, a fantastic violinist, but knows nothing at all about her Korean background. However, when an assignment comes back with a grade Chloe is not used to receiving, she demands answers from her parents but the answers she receives is not what she was expecting at all. Her world is now flipped upside down and her whole identity is thrown for a loop. 

Chole was a very interesting character.  I am still not too sure whether I fully liked her, and I can imagine how frustrating it must be to always be compared to someone or something that is not you. However, I felt that there were moments where her frustration went over the top and it got a little annoying. Yes there is an understanding for frustration but sometimes too much frustration can turn the tables on you. 

I want you to read the book for yourself, so I will not give away the major plot twist. However, another thing I noticed is when the secret regarding Chloe's past is revealed it seemed that every other issue that was occurring was either forgotten about completely or moved to the side temporarily. But it was not just issues but also some characters. 

The book does bring up some known social issues that relevant to children's literature and society. Mike Jung does a nice job in dropping some of these subtly but there are moments where it comes like a slap to the face...but in a good way. 

I am curious to see if the author is possibly thinking of writing a sequel to this book or if this will just be a stand alone. Although this book does not have me jumping out of my seat I still found myself to be hooked. If given the chance, check this book out for yourself and see if Jung will hook you like he did me. 

I give this book 4 souls!

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