Author: Kim, Patti
Ok, a Korean American boy, tries a get rich quick scheme of starting a hair braiding business and winning the school talent competition to hide the fact that he is struggling with the loss of his father and the financial hardships he and his mother must now bear.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 198095
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 75861
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/18)
School Library Journal (09/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2018 Ok’s mother is doing everything in her power to live the American dream: she works three day jobs, reuses aluminum foil and plastic bags, makes gelatin from acorns, forages for edible weeds, and collects rainwater. All so that Ok will have a bright future after his father passes away. Bit by his mother’s entrepreneurial bug, Ok starts a hair-braiding business at school. Neither the administration nor the school bully, Asa Banks, is supportive of his new venture. To complicate matters, the deacon at Ok’s church is pursuing his recently widowed mother. Not shying away from the hardships of being the child of immigrants, Ok’s wry, self-deprecating outlook gives levity to his (at times) bleak situation. It all adds up to a poignant look at navigating changes in family dynamics and welcoming unexpected friendships. This is an important novel that can serve as either a window or a mirror for middle-grade readers, making it ripe for wide appeal. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2018 Gr 5–7—When Ok's beloved father dies in a construction accident, his mother works several jobs but can't make ends meet. Determined to help pay their bills, Ok writes a business plan for a braiding business. He doesn't make much at first, but he gets the attention of lots of girls, including the retro-fashion obsessed Mickey McDonald. Ok thinks things are under control until the suspiciously nice Deacon Kohl from the First Korean Full Gospel Church begins courting his mom. Ok becomes convinced that no one needs him anymore and he hatches a plan to run away. Ultimately, Ok learns he's not alone, friendless, or unwanted. Things might not go the way he wants them to, but he's going to be fine. Ok's hilarious observations shine in this realistic fiction title about conformity, individuality, and loving people for who they are, not who you want them to be. The Korean American characters stand out as the most nuanced and compelling throughout. The culturally authentic details Ok shares in his first-person narration bring his relationship with his parents into sharp focus. Unfortunately, Ok's friends Mickey and Asa speak in pronounced dialects, perhaps to indicate their belonging to uneducated families. Consequently, their dialogue seems exaggerated and their character development suffers. Although the plot has a few logistical holes and the character development is uneven, Ok's sincerity will hook many young readers. VERDICT The compelling, funny protagonist makes this a solid general purchase for school and public libraries.—Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.