Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mock Printz: Good Enough

Title: Good Enough
Author: Paula Yoo
Publisher: HarperTeen: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780060790851
*Currently BBYA 2009 Nominated Title*

Plot:
High school senior and talented violinist Patti Yoon works hard to achieve her goals and make her parents proud as a P.K.D (Perfect Korean Daughter). Someone who doesn’t settle for second place. A polite and modest existence as non-boat-rocker is something they can subtly brag about at church with all the other competing parents. But the pressure builds and boilers over when Patti makes assistant concertmaster for the All-State Orchestra thanks to some tricky Mendelssohn and distracting Cute Trumpet Guy. Then Patti doesn’t reach the desired 2300 SAT score which causes her parents to panic that her HARVARDYALEPRINCETON career could end before it’s even begun. Between SAT prep tests, violin practice, AP classes, jamming with/crushing on new kid Ben Wheeler (a.k.a Cute Trumpet Guy), dealing with the racist remarks of peers and adults, Youth Group high jinx, teenage subterfuge, parental expectations---Patti takes a stand on her future. One that will make Patti happy without sacrificing who she is and what she loves, like her music.


Thoughts:
*spoilers*
Apart from Patti being a relatable protagonist{ a teen feeling the pressure of expectations (outside and her own) and risking her heart}-- Patti is a great narrator with a wonderful sense of humor. Ben’s brief but influential appearance in her life has normally obedient Patti taking some risks and reconsidering her priorities and her reasoning. He’s not perfect. They’re not meant to be. But for a while, they’re in sync and he’s a great friend, if not love, for her. The Youth Group cohorts are an amusing, believable combination of competition and support. As Patti changes, she realizes new things about her friends and her peers (even those she doesn’t like). She finds some commonality but thankfully the book conclusion isn't so trite that Patti ends up friends with everyone. Patti’s parents weren’t portrayed as evil incarnate. They pressured and expected (not exactly unique to fictional parents) but they also stuck by Patti and let her ultimately decide, having her best interests at heart. Good Enough is all about expanding possibilities and stepping outside the box and it’s almost always a good time to see how a character handles change and rebellion.

The foot notes, the Korean recipes with Spam, Patti’s lists and “real-life” SAT questions are fun additions. It’s not a tough book to get through. Finished it in a day. Because, like everyone else, I cared about Patti’s future and the book isn’t written to lag (a plus for the reluctant). The ending has a neatly tied resolution in some ways but not in others. A happy medium with a hopeful ending...um..beginning.

1 comment:

Carlie said...

I'm very much in agreement with your assessment of Good Enough. It was a very pleasant read with likable characters, but it didn't sparkle the way a Printz book should. My theory is that it's also autobiographical. I think it was Scott Westerfeld that said the book to watch out for from a YA author is not the first book but the second, because the first is usually an autobiography. I'd like to see Paula Yoo's second book.