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Almost American Girl (2020)

by Robin Ha

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18217113,760 (4.32)41
"A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life--perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo. For as long as she can remember, it's been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation--following her mother's announcement that she's getting married--Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn't understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn't fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to--her mother. Then one day Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined"--Amazon.com.… (more)
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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Graphic Novel
  HHABaltimore | Mar 9, 2021 |
Oh, my heart ached for Robin and the pain she went through as the "other:" Korean society looks down on her single mother. Her mother moves them to Alabama, away from everything Robin loves. At school, as the only Korean student, Robin endures racism and language barriers. She feels different and excluded by her new stepfamily. Not to mention having to adjust to a new country and culture! It's a gut-wrenching journey that makes the happy ending all the sweeter and fulfilling. Painfully, it brought up memories of immigrant kids from my childhood, who were teased or sat alone. I hope this book inspires young people to show kindness to newcomers. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jan 16, 2021 |
Wonderful memoir about being thrust into an unknown culture in middle school and the trials and triumphs that follow. ( )
  Shofbrook | Nov 6, 2020 |
My favourite so far...

This is the story of a young girl transitioning from life in Korea to life in Alabama in America. Chuna gives herself the American name Robin as an effort to fit in. Still she struggles with change and figuring out where she fits. Sadly even her teachers aren’t much help. My heart went out to this poor lost girl who had no comforts at her new home or school. Everywhere she went she faced hostility and was either taunted or ignored. I don’t know which is worse.

The “visit” to Alabama turns into her mother’s decision to marry this ma. 14-year-old Chuna, who thought she was just going on another mother-daughter trip, grapples with culture shock, bullying, and integrating into a new family. Her mother is still her hero, and she recognizes the sacrifices she has made in order for them to survive. It’s rough going though, especially when the rest of the Kims, her new stepfamily, are not in any way supportive. Even though life wasn’t perfect in Korea, where she was bullied for different reasons. China comes from a single parent hone. This is looked on as a disgrace in Korea. One of the reasons Chumash mother wanted to leave Korea was to escape the strict expectations and prejudices that exist in the Korean culture.
Now in Alabama, most of the people she interacts with at school are White. Due to this and the language barrier where she receives no help, China is totally alone. It isn’t until her mother reminds her of her love of comics and drawing that Chuna, now going by Robin, begins to thrive. When her mother yet again escapes yet another unfortunate marriage they move to Virginia just outside of Washington. This high school is totally diverse due to the immigrants working in D.C.
The coming of age story of Chuna really tugged on my heart strings. I wanted to help her navigate her life and remove some of the struggle. But then as her life evolved the struggles shaped her into the strong woman she became.
This is a marvellous Graphic memoir for age 12-adult ( )
  jothebookgirl | Oct 22, 2020 |
I think this was my first time really consuming content that focuses so strongly on displacement

I was teary when she found a community of international students in her ESL class

Twas upsetting for me reading about a kid being forced into stuff without giving them the respect of at least telling them in advance

Enjoyed this! ( )
  JumbaJustine | Oct 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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To my mother, whose tenacity has taught me never to give up
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August 7, 1995, Seoul, South Korea
"Welcome to Good Morning English!"
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"A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life--perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo. For as long as she can remember, it's been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation--following her mother's announcement that she's getting married--Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn't understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn't fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to--her mother. Then one day Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined"--Amazon.com.

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