KImchi and Calamari

Kimchi is a spicy pickled Korean cabbage dish. Calamari is squid.

I thought you might like to know that.

I have to admit, the title drew me in ONLY because I like to eat calamari. And the cover illustration was awesome. So I got it from the library.

Anyway, as soon as I read the first page, I was hooked. Joseph, the main character, was describing his 14th birthday and that it SUCKED.

I read on, and found out that Joseph is a spider-man fanatic and a drummer. His crush is named Kelly and he has 2 younger sisters, who are twins.

Joseph was also adopted from Korea when a woman found him, abandoned. Not the best first memories to have as a baby.

And to top things off, he now has to write an essay on his ANCESTORS. That’s sort of sad when all you know about your birth family is practically NOTHING.

Joseph’s proud dad wants his son to write his essay on his italian heritage, but Joseph does not. Unfortunately, his parents don’t know much more about his birth mom than Joseph, and that isn’t exactly in their list of top 10 subjects. Or top 1,000.

So Joseph sets out to trace his mom. He doesn’t get everything sorted out in time for the essay, so he chooses this random olympic Korean runner as his “grandpa.” Now Joseph thinks he can get everything out of his head.

But things get complicated. Joe’s “cheat essay” gets chosen to enter in a contest, his new Korean friend’s mom think he’s a fake, Kelly finds out Joseph cheated and deems him a loser, AND Joseph actually might be just a step away from finding mom.

How is this possible and HOW will he get himself out of this MESS?

*Key the ominous music*

No, just kidding! 🙂

I thought that the author wrote the tale of this adopted boy to a somewhat “realistic” perspective. I mean, duh, I’m not a boy so I wouldn’t know how boys think or act, much less 14 year old boys, but I AM observant. To me, this seems like it could be a real boy’s story.

The book also portrayed the typical feuds and quarrels of a family very well.

I thought that it had a good theme, climax, plot… basically, everything a teacher could want for a book report.

(Hmm. Too bad I didn’t discover this book at the beginning of the year. I don’t have any more book reports until after summer.)

Kimchi and Calamari also kept me on the edge of my seat. I mean, the author kept PAUSING when Joe was talking to the potential niece of his birth mother on the phone.

It drove me CRAZY and I couldn’t put the book down, which I guess is the point…

But what I sort of didn’t like was how the book left me with mixed feelings about Kelly and her story stopped in the middle of the book.

Kimchi and Calamari deserves 4 stars and is for middle schoolers.

KImchi and Calamari

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