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Looking for a relatable, thought-provoking contemporary read? Try this graphic memoir!

May 19, 2020

‘Almost American Girl’ is the heartfelt, relatable, and in the end positive coming-of-age story of a Korean girl whose highly self-sufficient single mom (in a culture not welcoming to single moms) takes her on vacation to Alabama, only to announce that she (mom) is getting married and they’re moving there, throwing her right into the deep end of a new school in a completely foreign culture and language she doesn't understand. 

Chuna/Robin's experience of being the ultimate new kid at school, with difficulty making friends and mean kids making her the butt of their jokes, is highly relatable to anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out. Her difficulty integrating into her new American family, with step-siblings and step-cousins who already have their own lives and don't have much patience for this new kid bumped into their cliques, is also very sympathetic. People’s flaws are shown, but nobody is demonized. It's a realistic portrayal of characters readers will not always agree with, but whose actions and choices they will come to understand (whether they sympathize or not) as Robin grows and matures. If you've never been the new kid yourself, this book is an excellent window into the experiences of other people you might know or meet! 

The storytelling flows very nicely through Robin's experiences and emotions, building to a point where she finally grows up enough to make her own decision of where she will make her own life as an adult. I highly recommend this graphic novel for readers aged teen to adult who like contemporary stories, realistic drama, or stories about family relationships! 

This graphic novel is available as an eBook. For more stories about young people navigating multiple cultures, check out our book-list Between Cultures

Between Cultures: books about youth living in two worlds
by Anna_LibraryT

Books about teens living in one culture at home and another outside the home, with all the humor and challenges of juggling their dual identities. Tone ranges from lighthearted humor to serious drama or romance. Many of these titles are available in different formats (physical, eBook, eAudiobook, etc.) so click on the author's name to see everything available!

  • Almost American Girl

    Almost American Girl

    An Illustrated Memoir

    By Ha, Robin
    Korean teen Chuna's mom takes her on a vacation to Alabama, only to announce she's getting married and they're moving there! Thrown into a new school and family in a culture and language she doesn't know, when will Chuna be able to decide for herself where she belongs?
  • Frankly in Love
    A pair of Korean-American teens agree to fake-date to keep their immigrant parents happy while they secretly date their actual, non-Korean crushes.
  • Frankly in Love

    Frankly in Love

    By Yoon, David
  • Ms. Marvel

    Ms. Marvel

    1, No Normal

    By Wilson, G. Willow
    The funny, adventure-filled story of a Pakistani-American geek girl who gets superpowers and becomes the world's first Muslim superhero. Lots of laughs, and also touches on many important issues in a non-preachy way that blends perfectly into the story!
  • Patron Saints of Nothing
    A Filipino-American teen reconnects with his extended family when he travels to the Philippines to investigate the murder of his cousin in the country's war on drugs.
  • Color Me in

    Color Me in

    A Novel

    By Diaz, Natasha
  • It's A Whole Spiel

    It's A Whole Spiel

    Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories

    A collection of short stories by different authors exploring the varied experiences of Jewish teens trying to find the balance of their own identities (too secular? too religious? too Old World? too modern? disabled? gay? etc.)
  • American Panda

    American Panda

    By Chao, Gloria
    Taiwanese-American Mei does her best to avoid the Chinatown rumor mill and live up to her family's expectations by getting into med school; only problem: she's germophobic! Also, she might have a crush on a classmate (gasp!) who's not Taiwanese (GASP!).
  • American Panda

    American Panda

    By Chao, Gloria
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay

    Darius the Great Is Not Okay

    By Khorram, Adib
    A clinically depressed half-Persian teen is sent to visit his relatives in Iran and meets their neighbor's son, who may become his truest friend.