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Almost American Girl by Robin Ha
Harper Teen / HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
In 1995, Robin and her mother move from South Korea to Alabama, U.S.A. Forced from the known into the unknown, Robin is forced to learn a new language, navigate the ins and outs of American high school and share a home with family she has never met before. When things don’t turn out quite the way Robin’s mother had expected, Robin encounters another drastic change in an unexpected second move. Will this one be better than the last?
This graphic novel memoir captures the unique immigrant experience but also portrays the relatable teen emotions tied to the intricacies of friendship and the desire to fit in. The colorful, simple illustrations adequately aid in the telling of this story and help the reader to follow the flow of narration. While there are flashbacks to life in South Korea, this is denoted by a change in color scheme which provides the reader with a visual cue to understanding the timeline.
Readers will love this book if they enjoyed Kim’s Convenience on Netflix or if they are fans of graphic novelists like Gene Luen Yang, Jerry Craft, or Vera Brosgol, all of whom thoughtfully explore cultural identity in their work. Also, if readers enjoyed the format of George Takei’s moving memoir They Called Us Enemy, they will also enjoy this memoir. The story is just as captivating but lighter in subject matter.