By: Erin Yun

Published: February 4, 2020

Publisher: Fabled Films Press

Fiction/Middle-Grade Fiction

Pippa Park, a Korean American, has a lot of changes in her life as a middle-schooler. She is living with her sister and brother-in-law while her mom is back in Korea. She has just received a mysterious scholarship to go to a fancy private school and she made the basketball team and will play against her former middle school. She doesn’t feel like she belongs at the private school with all the other kids since she is there on scholarship and lives in a small apartment above the laundromat her sister owns.

As she begins to feel her way through the social norms of her new school, she tries hard to fit in. When she is taken in by the popular “Royals” she tries her best to meet their expectations and instead falls short and her lies start to become harder and harder to keep straight.

I love that Pippa is a Korean American and she shares her culture in the story. Her sister is demanding of her studies and her high expectations can be a lot for Pippa to handle. Pippa often shares some of the delicious food and even the holidays that are part of her culture. Pippa’s passion for basketball and how she uses her love for the sport to help her handle the stress in her life is a great lesson readers can relate to.

Her struggles adjusting to a new school and a new friend group are extremely realistic and relatable for readers. Her little white lies and evasive answers build up and eventually come crashing down on her. Pippa offers good lessons for all middle-grade readers about relating to friends, fitting in, sticking to your values, and telling the truth. She is also determined to meet the expectations of her new school by working hard on her classes and practicing her basketball skills. Unfortunately, her determination is affected with there is a crisis in her family and some of her secrets come out. But, how Pippa handles this crisis is one of the best lessons in the book.

Readers who have ever been the new kid, love participating in sports, or those of a minority in their school will be able to relate and enjoy Pippa’s story. This story is based on Dicken’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS and is part of a new series of books by Fabled Films Press to modernize and diversify classics for middle-grade readers. They hope to have stories with relatable characters that will help students understand the classics once they enter the high school curriculum.

Debut author Erin Yun grew up in Frisco, Texas. She received her BFA in English from New York University and served as president of its policy debate team. This experience came in handy for her job as the debate consultant for the Tony-nominated Best Play on Broadway—What the Constitution Means to Me. Erin is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has written reviews and articles for BookBrowse. She currently lives in New York City, and yes—she used to play basketball as a middle grader!

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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