A+. This book of essays was laugh-out-loud funny, as well as serious and vulnerable and true in parts. Koul wrote about everything from her relationship with her parents to an embarrassing dressing room incident to roofies and sexual assault. This book had been hyped a lot, so I went in with high expectations, and they were met. Recommended for fans of Roxane Gay and Laura Bates.
B. Sana Kiyohara moves to California, meets a girl named Jamie Ramirez, thinks she might be into her--there's your romance. Sana's dad also might be having an affair, if the mysterious number texting him kissing emojis is any indication--there's your mystery and family drama. Meanwhile, Sana's new friends are more diverse than anything she knew in her old Midwestern town, and she's dealing with interracial and intraracial racism, and coming to terms with her own internalized racism--there's your social justice story. Also sprinkled throughout: Sana's poetry journal for her English class, as she shares her favorite poems and poets (but the poems are never actually printed in the book, leaving the reader to look them up). I'm all for any of these storylines, but when it came down to it, this book was just trying to do too much. After finishing it, I didn't feel like I had closure on any of the storylines, because they were all squeezed into a 300-some page book. (A+ for diversity, though, and for Asian American #ownvoices). Recommended for fans of Nina LaCour and Jenny Han.