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Jessica Kim

Author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

2 Works 292 Members 11 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Photo of author Jessica Kim.

Works by Jessica Kim

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! (2020) 274 copies
Make a Move, Sunny Park! (2023) 18 copies

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Common Knowledge

Gender
female

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Reviews

When Sunny joins the school dance team, she discovers some important things about friendship—and about herself.

Sunny Park, a Korean American seventh grader, has been best friends with Bailey Stern, a White girl, since third grade. Sunny prides herself on being a good friend: She is always there for Bailey, supporting her through her parents’ divorce and being available at a moment’s notice. She doesn’t even let Bailey’s disparaging remarks about her Korean identity or her love of K-pop bother her. It’s always been just the two of them, doing everything together, like taking ballet—and then both quitting right after Sunny landed the lead in The Nutcracker. Now, Bailey wants to try out for Ranchito Mesa Middle School’s dance team, and Sunny, who suffers from social anxiety disorder, agrees to do it too. But when she makes the team and Bailey doesn’t, Sunny begins the journey of discovering her own resilience, making new friends, and realizing what really makes for strong relationships. Kim does a stellar job of portraying different types of friendships, illustrating how healthy and unhealthy ones can differ and creating an authentic road map for tweens who are navigating the social complexities of middle school. At the same time, she infuses Sunny’s growth as a friend, an artist, and a leader with fun and joy—especially during the dance scenes.

Make a move on this book—its heart will cheer your soul. (Fiction. 8-12)

-Kirkus Review
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CDJLibrary | Apr 3, 2024 |
Eleven-year-old Yumi Chung doesn’t have anyone to sit with at lunch, but she secretly harbors dreams of becoming a comedian. Shy + Asian + Girl = Comedian? Why, yes. Yes, it does.

Winston Preparatory Academy is a shy person’s nightmare. Yumi hides from the beautiful girls and the bullies who call her “Yu-meat” because she smells like her parents’ Korean barbecue restaurant. This summer, her parents are demanding that she go to Korean summer school, or hagwon, to get a near-perfect score on the high school entrance exam—because that is the only way to attend an elite college, like her superachiever sister, a 20-year-old med student. Yumi collects all of her fears and frustrations (and jokes) in her Super-Secret Comedy Notebook. When a case of mistaken identity allows her to attend a comedy camp taught by her YouTube idol, Yumi is too panicked to correct the problem—and then it spirals out of control. With wonderful supporting characters, strong pacing, and entertaining comedy bits, debut author Kim has woven a pop song of immigrant struggle colliding with comedy and Korean barbecue. With their feet in two different cultures, readers listen in on honest conversations, full of halting English and unspoken truths painting a realistic picture of 21st-century first-generation Americans—at least a Korean version. By becoming someone else, Yumi learns more about herself and her family in an authentic and hilarious way.

Readers will cheer the birth of this comedian. (Fiction. 9-12)

-Kirkus Review
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CDJLibrary | 9 other reviews | Nov 9, 2023 |
Yumi really gets herself into an awkward situation when she innocently walks into the new comedy club near her house to look around, and not-so-innocently allows herself to be mistaken for a student at Comedy Camp! She didn't mean to pretend to be Kay Nakamura, but when the teacher thinks she is Kay, Yumi wants to stay at camp so badly that she goes along with it. Then she keeps doing it! Little lies turn into bigger and bigger lies... Yumi needs to find a way out of all the friend and family drama she is creating!… (more)
 
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kamlibrarian | 9 other reviews | Dec 23, 2022 |
A heartfelt and authentic look at shy-girl problems and at navigating family expectations. I love that humor is at the heart of this story, and while I tend to find self-mortification more cringy than funny, Kim does an excellent job walking the line and showcasing the rewards that bravery can bring. Nice to see a book set in the Korean immigrant experience; even nicer to see Yumi's dad embrace some of his own dreams at the end. Good message, enjoyable read.
 
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jennybeast | 9 other reviews | Apr 14, 2022 |

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Works
2
Members
292
Popularity
#80,152
Rating
4.1
Reviews
11
ISBNs
19

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