Unidentified Suburban Object

Unidentified Suburban Object
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
April 26, 2016
ISBN
0545782260
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The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who’s Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She’s had it with people thinking that everything she does well ― getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, etCETera ― are because she’s ASIAN. Of course, her own parents don’t want to have anything to DO with their Korean background. Any time Chloe asks them a question they change the subject. They seem perfectly happy to be the only Asian family in town. It’s only when Chloe’s with her best friend, Shelly, that she doesn’t feel like a total alien. Then a new teacher comes to town: Ms. Lee. She’s Korean American, and for the first time Chloe has a person to talk to who seems to understand completely. For Ms. Lee’s class, Chloe finally gets to explore her family history. But what she unearths is light-years away from what she expected.

Editor review

1 review
An unforgettable story
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Chloe Cho is fed up with the people around her automatically comparing her to Abigail Yang, not knowing the difference between Korean, Chinese, and Japanese, and crediting her intellect to her being Asian. She’s also angry at her parents who refuse to tell her anything about their Korean background, something she desperately wants to know more about. When an assignment from the new, Korean American teacher leads Chloe to push for more answers from her parents, she discovers something she never imagined.

UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT by Mike Jung features a lively main character, Chloe, who has a powerfully strong voice. She’s a rage of emotion, action, and snappy dialogue, and readers will easily feel her come alive on every page. The story brings up several important issues on diversity, from examples of everyday racism to personal feelings on ancestry, making this a much needed addition to middle grade bookshelves.

The friendship between Chloe and Shelley stands out beautifully. They have a very positive relationship, while also showing that fights are part of friendship. Their relationship is supportive, especially as Shelley attempts to recognize her own privilege and internal bias.

The mid story plot twist feels a bit strange. However, the way it changes the direction of the plot offers chances for deep discussion; it just takes a few chapters to wrap your head around.

Chloe is an unforgettable character: vocal, assertive, and completely hilarious. Readers who want a good laugh, an important discussion on diversity, and a surprise plot twist should grab UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT immediately.
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