Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: A Step from Heaven by An Na

Rating (Out of 5): 3
Publisher: Puffin/Speak (Penguin)

I also read this for book club, and it was pretty good as well. (Maybe not as good, but still pretty good.) Better than I thought it'd be, for the most part.
It's about Young Ju, who moves from Korea to America when she's about four. She lives with her mother, who's sweet, mostly, if a little weak, and her father, who I did not like, and her little brother, who I kind of liked but who we don't see a lot of.
She takes it that they are moving to Heaven when they first move, and is disappointed when she finds out that this isn't true. It was interesting to see her struggles with America, and with her parents in America. I especially found it interesting how her parents said that she had more choices in America, and yet they didn't want much to do with the American people or even really tried to learn English. (This is mostly something that bothers me when people come here. How can you want to come here, and say it's so free, if you don't like the people?)
I liked Young Ju, mostly. I also liked most of what I saw of her brother, Joon. And, I guess we didn't really see more of him, because it's Young Ju's story, and perhaps she isn't too close with him? I just felt that there was more to him than we got to see. I mostly liked her mother, but didn't like that she let everything go on for so long, and really didn't like how she reacted to things to Young Ju later in the book. (But, I kind of empathize her reaction, because of how she'd been treated. I can sympathize, and empathize with it, but I don't truly understand why she didn't do something sooner. It's not like she was depending on him.) [Sorry if that was a bit spoilerous, I was trying not to be.]
I did not like her father at all. I'm not going to expand too much on this, because then I will give it all away, and it's a little obvious, but I don't think it's stated outright. So, I didn't like him. He was quite terrible and I hate how he treats his family and kids, and especially what he does later in the book.
I liked how it was written. It read very smoothly, and was pretty, and when she's younger, it's very easy to tell that she's a little girl, which I also liked. Some things I didn't like about it, is that sometimes, when people are talking, she uses quotation marks, but usually she didn't. It worked well for her not to, read very smoothly without them in the story, so it bothered me that she would put them in every once in a while, almost randomly. And I don't know if it was on purpose or not. Also, the Korean parts. She's from Korea, and so she knows Korea words, can speak it, and all that, which is to be expected. And I don't really know how it would have gone smoothly with translations in the book, but I was still bothered because I didn't know what the words meant, and had to deal with figuring it out by what was going on. But aside from that, I liked it.
I enjoyed the story, and the ending was pretty good. I rather enjoyed the book, overall.
Oh, sidenote: I did not put up a synopsis, because I figured that I summed it up enough, and I couldn't find one that suited me. The ones that I found were either too long, or they spoiled the ending, which I resisted from doing above, so I did not want to put them up.

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