Review of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
by Jessica Kim
Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    314 pp.    g
3/20    978-0-525-55497-4    $16.99

Eleven-year-old Yumi is spending the summer helping her family’s struggling Korean barbecue restaurant in L.A. and studying to earn an academic scholarship to the private school where she has just spent her sixth-grade year eating lunch alone in the bathroom. Her parents plan for her future, with her father reasoning, “I am an immigrant. I have no choice to do this hard work. But you...You can work in an office or hospital and be great success one day.” Yumi’s passion is comedy, however, and a case of mistaken identity leads to an opportunity to take a course taught by her comedic icon, driving Yumi to fulfill her ambition. Excerpts from her “Super-Secret Comedy Notebook,” awash with jokes and doodles, and believable-sounding dialogue bring readers into the life of this high-spirited, if self-conscious, protagonist. The drama of an immigrant family working together to keep a business afloat in a gentrifying neighborhood connects readers to the hard work of achieving the American dream.

From the May/June 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kristine Techavanich

Kristine Techavanich is a youth services librarian at the Timberland Regional Library System. She served on the 2023 Newbery committee.

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