Review of Throwback

Throwback Throwback
by Maurene Goo
High School    Zando    368 pp.
4/23    9781638930204    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781638930211    $10.99

Twenty-first-century Korean American teenager Sam Kang and her mother, Priscilla, do not get along. Free spirit Sam feels the disappointment of her high-achieving, buttoned-up, country club–aspiring parents, and her mom, whose homecoming-queen hopes were dashed in high school, has relocated those pressures onto Sam’s shoulders. When things come to a head after Sam’s beloved halmoni (grandmother) has a heart attack, mother and daughter have a brutal argument in which hurtful words are exchanged. Left without a ride to school, Sam downloads a rideshare app—Throwback Rides—and finds herself back in 1995, at her mother’s high school, just days before homecoming. Bewildered and disoriented, Sam must find a way to help Mom win homecoming queen to make it back home—or so she thinks. Goo has created a ­vivacious, authentic teen voice (one that at times wanders into didacticism as Sam tries to tone-police her nineties classmates). Perfect for those looking for a lighthearted read, the story also introduces plenty of Korean cultural elements into a tale of family relationships and intergenerational connections.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

J. Elizabeth Mills

J. Elizabeth Mills graduated with a PhD in Information Science and works as a research consultant with faculty at University of Washington and Kent State University on various studies. 

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