Good Enough, by Paula Yoo

Good Enough, by Paula Yoo (2008, Harper Teen) is imperfectly titled. It is much more than good enough; in fact, it is very good indeed.

It tells of Patti, a high school student whose Korean parents expect nothing less than the best from her--anything less, no matter how good, isn't enough, and might keep her from HARVARDYALEPRINCTON. Patti and the kids in her Korean American youth group want to make their parents happy, but sometimes it's all a bit much. And sometimes, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, even if it means ditching Youth Group to run off to a Night Club (shock horror) with a Boy (greater horror)...

But before Patti gets to this point, she practices violin, takes practice SAT tests compulsively, starts to believe the Boy maybe likes her, and shares very funny tips on how to make your Korean American parents happy.

Maybe this doesn't sound like the stuff of which a great read is made, but Patti is so likeable and believable that it works. There aren't any great conflicts here, or great triumphs or failures. Instead, there's a funny and compassionate take on how to balance being true to yourself (and finding out who "yourself" is) with loving your parents and understanding their point of view.

Here's a great interview with Paula Yoo over at the Ya Ya Yas. And here's Paula's own website. Then check out this great project, Fusion Stories, that's promoting 10 new books for young readers about Asian Americans that "aren’t traditional tales set in Asia nor stories about coming to America for the first time."

ps: my only gripe with this book is that Bryn Mawr, my college, shares the number 12space with Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley on the Korean Parents list of preferred colleges, with the following note: "This is only for pretty girls like Tiffany Chung, whose parents will feel better if she attends an all-female Seven Sisters college because dating is wrong and evil." I realize that this is the opinion of the Korean Parents, but hmph to that :) !

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