Kerry Winfrey
July 13, 2013 7:00 am

If you liked high school, really respected your school’s administration, felt intellectually challenged and enjoyed the company of your peers, then good for you. Seriously. I’m happy for you. Would that we all had high school experiences like that! But I sure didn’t. Aside from my core group of BFFs, everybody kind of stunk (not literally, although maybe. I don’t know.). And aside from a few super great teachers, the school was run by people who, I now realize, were just incredibly terrible at their jobs. It was not a fun time, and my trusty sense of sarcasm was the only thing that got me through it.

This is all my way of saying that I related to Holly Kim, the heroine of Maurene Goo’s fab book Since You Asked. Holly’s surrounded by mean girls and meatheads, although she loves her three awesome best friends. But Holly doesn’t just have high school stupidity to deal with…she also has an intense Korean family, and her strict mom drives her crazy.

Holly deals with her frustrations by doling out a healthy dose of sarcasm, which her best friends and family are usually the only ones to witness. But when the school newspaper accidentally publishes a column she wrote that totally makes fun of everybody, her views are on display for everyone to read. It’s so popular and polarizing that she ends up getting her own newspaper column where she can tear apart high school traditions on a regular basis.

I’m incredibly jealous of Holly’s awesome school newspaper. My school technically had a newspaper, but it was so lame that all my friends and I did was make fun of it. It was so poorly written that sometimes the articles were literally incomprehensible, and the spelling and grammar weren’t so hot either. In fact, when the paper set up a suggestion box, some of my friends left the suggestion, “Get an editor!” Is that mean? Maybe. But I feel like Holly would’ve approved. Also, sorry to any former CFHS newspaper staffers who may be reading this. Although if they are, they’re probably thinking, “Wait, is this that weird girl who read all the time? Why is she writing on the internet?”

But anyway, back to Holly. She deals with a ton of stuff over the course of the year (dudes, valentines, parties, a holiday to trip to Vegas with her entire family), but she gets through it all with her friendships and sense of humor intact. Holly Kim, you are an inspiration to us all!

SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

-As I’ve mentioned before, I love secret admirers. Seriously, every book should have one (or more). Holly gets some secret Valentine’s Day cards in Since You Asked, and I was in heaven. The romance! The mystery!

-At one point, Holly’s friends attend a Hot Chip concert! We all love Hot Chip, right? I have extremely fond memories of the time I saw them and they played a cover of New Order’s Temptation. Moral of the story: Hot Chip rules and Holly and her friends have great taste in music.

-Holly’s mom reminded me of the most famous Korean mom in all of television history…that’s right, Mrs. Kim from Gilmore Girls. And not just because they have the same name.

Luckily, even though Holly’s mom is way strict, she’s no match for Mrs. Kim’s rules. And while Holly doesn’t have any records hidden under the floorboards, she’s just as good at sneaking around as Lane was.

Since You Asked doesn’t necessarily have a cliffhanger ending, but it definitely leaves a lot of things open. You know what that means, right? I’m totally hoping for a sequel! We could all use more Holly Kim in our lives.

What about you guys? Have you read Since You Asked? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, send me an email at youngadulteducation@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

Mrs. Kim image via Gilmore News

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