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Patty's immigrant parents expect her to be a "P.K.D" (perfect Korean daughter), which means that between AP classes, violin, church and Ivy League applications, Patty gets little time-and less encouragement-to figure out what she wants for herself. When she develops a crush on a new boy and forms a friendship with him, her romantic feelings go unrequited but he does show her to think more broadly, encouraging her to take her violin teacher's advice and apply to Juilliard (her parents insist there is "no security in music"). While Patty is full-out nerdy, she has a great sense of humor, shown through interludes in which she posits her dilemmas as SAT questions or lists "how not to be a P.K.D.": "Instead of translating Vergil's Aeneid you spend two hours talking on the phone with Susan about how cute Ben is." Yoo (The Sammy Lee Story) writes with particular fluency of Patty's love of music. Readers will appreciate, too, that the author does not demonize Patty's high-pressure parents: they may bark "HarvardYalePrinceton" at her but their love is never in doubt. An overneat ending doesn't significantly detract from a funny story that will hit home for many readers. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Yoo follows her picture-book biography Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story (2005), with a funny, contemporary first novel about a high-achieving high-school senior who struggles between her Korean parents' expectations and her growing desire to shape her own future. Patti, a self-described B-tier violin prodigy and class valedictorian, recounts her senior year, in which her first deep crush is a powerful distraction from college applications and her parents' stringent requirements for a P.K.D. (Perfect Korean Daughter). Like the best comic writers, Yoo uses humor to illuminate painful experiences: Why does Susan get to be called . . . dork or geek but I always get called Jap or Chink or gook? Patti wonders. I'd take geek over gook any day. The frequent lists ( How to Make Your Korean Parents Happy ), SAT questions, and even spam recipes are, like Patti's convincing narration, filled with laugh-out-loud lines, but it's the deeper questions about growing up with immigrant parents, confronting racism, and how best to find success and happiness that will stay with readers.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2007 Booklist