Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee Book Review
ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This book had a lot more heart than I thought it’ll have. It dealt with a lot of issues such as racism, growing up, first love and fitting in. I’m really glad that this book is scheduled to be republished to reach a broader and new generation of readers.
Finding My Voice follows the story of 17 year old Ellen Sung, a regular girl who just wants to be like everyone else at her American high school. The people in her town however, never forget to remind her of her cultural differences of being a Korean-American. At the start of the year she starts falling for the cute popular boy, Tomper who seemingly likes her too but is their relationship enough to withstand the bigotry of her town and the disapproval of her family?
I found that the book was really light hearted despite its darker and more serious themes. It’s well written with a real focus on Ellen trying to finish her last year of school and trying to satisfy her parents high expectations on what she should do once she graduates. More importantly, it shows Ellen struggling and overcoming the extreme racism and racist slurs of her peers and teachers. She uses the racist remarks as a motivator for her to do better in class and to achieve well to get into the University of her dreams.
I really enjoyed looking into Ellen’s personal life with her family, her relationship with Tomper and her own identity as a student at her school. I thought each aspect of her life was carefully looked at and written. However, with Tomper I found that the relationship was built up too quickly for my liking. Despite its shortness I thought that if the romance was developed slower then I would’ve increased my rating.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book and thought it was very careful and thoughtful with the themes depicted in it. I reckon that if this book was published today with current themes, the whole plot would’ve been very different especially with the prevalence of social media and cyber-bullying. Nevertheless though, it must be said that this book is very important to a wide variety of readers and should be on many people’s to-be-read pile.
ACTUAL RATING: 4 STARS