Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

closetpirate's review

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emotional funny hopeful fast-paced



Bought in Seoul, South-Korea 

dlberglund's review

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Robin's story about emigrating from South Korea to Alabama as an adolescent was poignant and full of hope. The racism and isolation she experienced at school plus the gender expectations and isolation she experienced in her new “home” drive much of the story telling. Her story is her own story, and she doesn't leave out the parts that make her look awkward or riddled with teenage angst. She makes is through, and obviously gets to live her dream, making comics.

fr0gsonmushrooms's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad medium-paced


andersonh92's review

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challenging emotional fast-paced


Another good, diverse read. I liked the perspective and graphics.

noelles's review

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emotional hopeful reflective fast-paced


helterskelliter's review

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It’s always been Chuna and her mom against the world. Growing up in a single-parent household in very traditional South Korea in the 90s, it’s had to be that way. Often, Chuna and her mom faced unfair treatment because of their family situation. Cruel parents and judgemental teachers, hurled insults and rebuffs. But, because of this, Chuna and her mom have always been close. To Chuna, her mom is her rock — someone she can rely on and trust.

But, all that changes when her mom up and remarries and moves them halfway across the world to a small town in Alabama.

Suddenly, Chuna’s life is turned upside down. She’s an immigrant in a foreign country. She’s experiencing racism for the fist time. She doesn’t speak the language well. She’s unfamiliar with western customs and trends. That makes it difficult to bond with her new, Korean-American stepfamily and more difficult to make new friends. She can barely pronounce to Western name she chose: Robin. It’s beautiful but difficult in practice — which is how she feels about America.

Chuna no longer knows who she is. Worse, she feels betrayed by her mom. Why would she do this to her? How could she?

Chuna’s mom wants a better life for her daughter, free from the judgements that have weighed heavy on them in South Korea all their lives. She believes Chuna will have more opportunities for success in America. Chuna can be an artist. She can follow her passions. Have the life her mother couldn’t.

But, Chuna finds it hard to see it that way. Robin feels impossible. To be Robin feels impossible.

That changes though. Eventually, like most things in life, it gets easier. With the help of a kind and considerate English teacher, Robin’s grasp of the language becomes better. She speaks up to her bullies and for herself. She makes friends, finds ones with interests in manga and anime. Her mother and her reconcile, leave their stepfamily for another new be life.

This is a really uplifting memoir about such a difficult time and transition, especially for someone so young. I think Chuna handled the situation with more grace than I ever could have. This story is heart wrenchingly illustrated, every painful and shameful and embarrassing moment laid bare and vividly depicted. I feel so much sympathy for Chuna and for immigrants like her and her mother who truly believes that immigration to America will provide more opportunities for her child. This complicated situation is deftly chronicled and achingly told. I’m so relieved for Chuna at the end and hope more families can be so fortunate.

Definitely recommend!

theinkwyrm's review

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Wow, I have never read a graphic memoir before and this was an excellent one to start with. Ha’s story is so incredibly moving and highlights an experience that is often looked down on in America. I love how well she communicates the cultural aspects of both South Korea and America and how she navigates them. Would 100% recommend to anyone and everyone.

aniseekim's review

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RATING: 4 stars

Finally a book with good Korean-American representation! I need to see more of it!

I typically don’t like graphic novels, but this one interested me. Mainly because of the Korean protagonist who I could see a little of myself in. I really enjoyed seeing her talk about the Korean culture, food, family dynamics, etc. Robin was a vulnerable, dimensional character and seeing her evolve from her struggles was great.

Overall, I’d recommend this to my fellow Korean-Americans or anyone else who wants to have a peek into our lives!

itselv's review against another edition

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تحكي "روبِن ها" عن جزء من حياتها اضطرت فيه فجأةً لمغادرة حياتها في كوريا الجنوبية والعيش في الولايات المتحدة، تحكي عن الغربة والوحدة والتكيف مع ما لا يمكن تغييره، تحكي طيلة القصة عن الغربة في غير وطنك، وفي النهاية تحكي عن الغربة في وطنك ذاته.. وهو بالتأكيد أقسى من سابقه.

كان جزء حياة أم "روبِن" مثير للاهتمام، تمنيت لو تطرقت إليّه أكثر، كما أنني وجدت النهاية مُستعجلة واحتاجت للمزيد من التفاصيل. أعتقد أن القصة ستكون عادية ولربما أقل من العادية لِمن لم يعش ظروف شبيهة بما مرت به "روبِن". ولأنني عشت بداية حياتي في تنقل دائم فقد لامست هذه القصة قلبي، وأيقظت مشاعر كنت قد نسيتها منذ زمن طويل. أتمنى أن يجد كلُّ متخبِّطٍ الاستقرار الذي يطمح إليه.

amiably's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced