Wednesday, August 25, 2010
by Laura E. Williams
Thirteen-year-old Lauren, a Korean American adoptee, is best friends with the prettiest — and tallest — girl in the school, Julie, who has an endless amount of confidence. Lauren, on the other hand, has been saving for years to pay for a special eye surgery that will deepen the crease of her eyelids. It's not that she wants to look like everyone else in her suburban Connecticut school; she'd just be happy if kids stopped calling her "slant" and "gook." Up until now she's been able to ignore the insults, but when the cutest boy in her class calls her "slant," she realizes she needs to do something about her "nickname." When she convinces her reluctant father to consent to the eye operation, Lauren suddenly finds herself faced with a challenge: should she get the operation that might make her more confident and popular, or can she find that confidence within herself?
(description from Amazon.com)
I am deeply conflicted about this book. I need some opinions from other people who have read this...STAT!
First off, it is a well-written, highly accessibly toned, middle grade book. The character is relatable, her family members are great, her best friend is...um, pretty awesome, and there is just enough going on beyond the issues to balance out the message of the book. (I hate when the message becomes too...heavy)
My problem as a reader (personally) is the language used in the book...and yes, I do know that's the whole point of the book!...I was actually uncomfortable reading several passages in this book. I grew up in a house where I didn't even learn terms like "slant," "gook," or "kike," until I was entering college. SO, for me, all I could think when I was reading this was are we in fact teaching some kids these new words, instead of teaching them not to use them as is intended?
Now, as a Librarian, I don't want to censor the book. There are tweens out there who are probably facing this exact problem that will relate and be helped by this book! It is totally in our Library collection, though we aren't 100% sure what grade level to label it in the Children's Dept. (they go up to 8th grade) My gut, though, my own personal gut, wants this book to be geared to an older audience...sigh. Does anyone else have this type of issue?