FICTION

29 Dates

400p. Inkyard. Jan. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335541543.
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Gr 8 Up—Korean teen Ji-Su Kim is not performing as well in school as her parents would like as they expect her to get into a top-tier university in Korea or the U.S. Without her knowledge, her parents enroll her in a California high school for her senior year. At first, Ji-Su is despondent about leaving her friends and her family behind. However, she quickly immerses herself into the culture at her new school as she makes new friends and begins to participate in extracurricular activities. She has been set up with blind dates, called seons, by a Korean matchmaker. These dates don't end when she moves to California because Ms. Moon has many contacts in the Korean American community. The chapters alternate between what is currently happening in the protagonist's life with the transcripts of the conversations she has with each of her dates, starting with the first one in Korea. Though romance is an underlying theme, Ji-Su has no interest in the boys she meets on the seons but does see possible love connections with classmates at her new school. Her interactions with her contemporaries seem realistic, but the depiction of her overbearing but well-meaning parents feel familiar and without much nuance.
VERDICT This novel will please teens looking for a light read. Give to fans of Sandhya Menon's When Dimple Met Rishi and Jenny Han's books.

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