"John Ford Kang. She was finally going to talk to him." Joyce is determined to impress her crush, but when she gathers the courage to actually speak to him, he confuses her with another Korean girl, whom Joyce considers "the ugliest girl in school." Joyce is devastated, especially when she discovers John has a crush on her beautiful older sister, Helen. Then her aunt offers to pay for cosmetic eyelid surgery. "You will never be as pretty as your sister," her aunt says, "but with my doctor's help, you can look very nice."
JLG Release: Jun 2008
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Young Adults Plus
Grades 9 & Up
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal
School Library Journal
As one of only a handful of Asian-American students at her posh Los Angeles high school, 16-year-old Joyce Park has never felt as though she fits in. In the throes of an intense crush on John Ford Kang, a gorgeous and aloof classmate, she is consumed with worry about the way she looks, especially in comparison to her beautiful older sister, a s
As one of only a handful of Asian-American students at her posh Los Angeles high school, 16-year-old Joyce Park has never felt as though she fits in. In the throes of an intense crush on John Ford Kang, a gorgeous and aloof classmate, she is consumed with worry about the way she looks, especially in comparison to her beautiful older sister, a social and academic superstar who seems to get everything she wants. Then her cosmetic surgery-addicted aunt comes into a lottery windfall and offers Joyce a gift: surgery to add a fold to her eyelids, transforming her Korean features into something more Western and, it is suggested, more beautiful. At first Joyce is appalled at the idea, but as she begins to obsess about the eyes of the Asian women around her, she becomes increasingly convinced that "the fold" is all that lies between her imperfect appearance and the ideal of feminine beauty. But will the surgery require her to give up her sense of herself in the process? Na explores issues of beauty and ethnic identity with sensitivity and wit. Her protagonist is carefully and realistically drawn; even as the novel is guided by a larger message about self-esteem, Joyce's struggles and choices never seem predetermined for didactic purposes. This story will speak to both Asian-American teens and other adolescents dealing with issues related to the way that they look, the way they wish to be perceived, and the often painful distance between the two.
Meredith Robbins, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, New York City
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.6; Points: 7;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 4.3; Points: 14;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Asian Americans, Korean American communities, Families, Sisters, Interpersonal relationships, Friendship, Physical appearances, Peer pressure,Wanting to fit in, Cultural traditions, Superstitions, Family expectations, Duty, Prejudice and racism, Plastic surgery, Transformations, Perceptions of beauty, Media images and influences, Conformity, Vanity, Jealousy, Homosexuals, Making difficult choices, Inner beauty, Figuring out what defines you, Self-discovery, Being true to yourself, Family members support each other, Self-acceptance, Gaining confidence, Choosing the life you want to live,