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April 11, 2023
Being a first-generation Asian American immigrant is hard. You know what’s harder? Being the daughter of one. Samantha Kang has never gotten along with her mother, Priscilla—and has never understood her bougie-nightmare, John Hughes high school expectations. After a huge fight between them, Sam is desperate to move forward—but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.

To her shock, Sam finds herself back in high school . . . in the ’90s . . . with a 17-year-old Priscilla. Now this Gen Z girl must try to fit into an analog world. She’s got the fashion down, but everything else is baffling. What is “microfiche”? What’s with the casual racism and misogyny? And why does it feel like Priscilla is someone she could actually be . . . friends with?

Sam’s blast to the past has her finding the right romance in the wrong time while questioning everything she thought she knew about her mom . . . and herself. Will Sam figure out what she needs to do to fix things for her mom so that she can go back to a time she understands? Brimming with heart and humor, Maurene Goo’s time-travel romance asks big questions about what exactly one inherits and loses in the immigrant experience.

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1 review
(Updated: December 29, 2022)
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In this contemporary YA, Samantha 'Sam' Kang doesn't understand her tight-laced mother. After a fight, a strange ride share ends up taking her back in time where she meets her mother as a teen. Sam ends up thinking she needs to make things right in 1995 by helping her mother win Homecoming queen. Her assumptions about her mother and even her beloved grandmother are put to the test in more ways than one.

What worked: BACK TO THE FUTURE collides in 1995. There are numerous 1990s references throughout this novel from the movie Clueless and even life before texting! Like actually going to a public library's archives! These bring to life the whole Back-to-the-future vibe in this novel. The future slams into the past with some hilarious results. Then there's a cute boy that Sam feels chemistry with. He has his own secrets.

I liked the idea of an Asian protagonist going back in time to help her younger version of her mother. There Sam finds that her mother is labeled a poseur and snob as she hangs with her wealthier white classmates. The big reveal though is she sees another side of the grandmother she adores and finds that maybe her mother had been right.

I do wonder though if Sam went back in time wouldn't there have been more of a ripple effect in the present time? There are a few hints of this, but I also wondered if there might have been more.

Sam is spunky and determined to make things right so she can return back to her time. I loved how she didn't back down from the bullies at her mother's high school. It would have been so easy to do that.

Charming, fun story where a teen goes back to 1995 to help her then-teen mother and finds not only herself but her mother in the process.
Good Points
1. BACK TO THE FUTURE collides in 1995
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