Book Review: “Since You Asked…” by Maurene Goo

No, no one asked, but Holly Kim will tell you what she thinks anyway.
Fifteen-year-old Holly Kim is the copy editor for her high school’s newspaper. When she accidentally submits an article that rips everyone to shreds, she gets her own column and rants her way through the school year. Can she survive homecoming, mean-girl cliques, jocks, secret admirers, Valentine’s Day, and other high school embarrassments, all while struggling to balance her family’s traditional Korean values?

In this hilarious debut, Maurene Goo takes a fresh look at trying to fit in without conforming to what’s considered “normal” in high school and how to manage parental expectations without losing one’s individuality…or being driven insane. (Summary provided by publisher)

Ridiculous enough, I was attracted to Since You Asked… mainly because the bright colors and font of the cover instantly caught my attention. After I got over my stylish front cover fetish, I noticed the Asian-looking girl with that don’t-mess-with-me-or-else attitude and a couple questions crossed my mind. Why does she have that kind of attitude? What made her that way? Is the story going to explain why she’s got that attitude? I wonder where I could get a pair of sunglasses like hers?

And the novel answered all of that (excepting the sunglasses question, ofcourse). Holly – I’m supposing is the girl on the front cover – is like any average fifteen year old; trying to survive high school and her nagging parents while still trying to get the better of her adolescent years. In all her efforts, she finds herself ranting her opinions in the school’s valued newspaper which is what the whole story is supposed to be centered around but there’s so much more to it than that.

Through every holiday and incident that takes place, readers can see Holly’s character maturing a little bit more; After having one of the biggest fights with her mother in the story, Holly realizes that she isn’t the only one who is under pressure to please her parents. This and the fact that I enjoyed her sardonic sarcasm is what makes Holly my favorite character in Since You Asked…

However, I did enjoy her friends’ relatable personalities too. Carrie – a ball of klutziness and cuteness – is the optimist of the group. Holly even describes her as “…an energetic ball of klutziness trapped inside a petite athletic build”. Liz is the fashonista and confident one of the group. Although, at times, readers are shown the vulnerable and childish side of her. Then there’s David. The only guy and easy-goer of the group, David’s character probably takes second best to Holly’s. He seems to be one of Holly’s friends who understands her the best. And as the story comes to a close, I have the notion that David is Holly’s secret admirer.

Other than the characters, the plot was so unusual that, at first, I didn’t know whether or not to classify it as unique or just poor writing. The author puts pictures in the beginning of the story to help readers get a better understanding of the characters and events that she’s explaining. But I don’t know if the input of pictures cheapened the writing or made it easier for readers who easily get bored of descriptions. Also, different events take place throughout the story that didn’t seem to be of significance; the incident in Las Vegas where Holly tries to unite a little mischievous boy and his parents.Yet, as the story reaches its climax, readers see that all the events did actually have reason. Each event helped Holly to not just get a better understanding of her family and even to mature a little but to also figure out who she is.

Despite everything, I liked the fact that the author chose to end the story with a summary of all the events that took place via Holly’s column. In all, I enjoyed Since You Asked… more than I originally expected and genuinely can’t wait for Maurene Goo’s next novel.


Rating: 8/10

Book Info:

Publisher:  Scholastic Press (July 1, 2013)
Length:  272 pages (Hardcover)
Series: N/A
Source: ARC (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Young Adult, Children’s Fiction
Completed: June 2013



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