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Miss World

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
This book contains crude language, and graphic scenes of sexual and domestic violence. This is now the official prequel to The Light of the World, but you can read them in any fucking order you want.

It's 1993. Kimmy Ho's never really been happy (and thinks her life sucks). She's not really good at anything - or at least, that's what her mother says. But music makes her fee
Paperback, 346 pages
Published April 30th 2011 by Fire Spirit (first published April 17th 2011)
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Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I didn’t even have to read the entire description of Miss World to know that it’s something I desperately want to read. All I needed to know was that it's somehow connected to Kurt Cobain and his death.

I started reading Randi Black’s debut as someone who still remembers what being a misunderstood teen feels like, but somewhere along the line I began reading it as a mother instead. Let me tell you, this book is every mother’s nightmare. It is a horrifying example of failure as a parent and as a
May 22, 2011 Cortney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is exactly what it claims to be: a fun, messy romp through 90s pop culture, from the death of Kurt Cobain to post-punk and goth. It's also way, way more.

Miss World doesn't just lightly skim the surface of issues like not fitting in, sexual exploration, and growing up in a traditional Chinese household. No, Miss World dives right into the deep end of the pool and smashes its head against the concrete twelve feet below. Sure, all that typical teen angst stuff is a part of it (and a fun p
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Jul 06, 2012 Greta is Erikasbuddy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children of the 90s
Do you remember the 90s?

The MC Hammer pants, the Vanilla Ice haircuts, that time when we all thought Guns 'N Roses was cool.

Do you remember what happened next?

The flannel, the Doc Martins, the staticy radio stations that started playing a new alternative. the three chorded songs, the primal screams, the way we all formed a mosh pit of understanding before we went midevil on each other just because something awesome was being blasted from center stage?

Ok ok... There's a couple of things
Feb 11, 2012 Giselle rated it did not like it
I can see some may like this, but it's much too graphic and vile for my liking. I feel very disconnected to these characters too. I don't understand some of the choices Kim has made. I despise her parents, her aunt and her friends - I don't even know why she's friends with these girls. I don't understand her uncle. Is he really an uncle!? And she watches porn with him? That just makes my skin crawl. I would not consider this a young adult novel at all - even if the characters are teenagers. It's ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Misha rated it it was amazing
I actually finished this book a couple of weeks ago, but have struggled to write a review. Reading it was a raw, visceral experience. I laughed. I cried. I raged. I don't know that I can adequately distill that experience into something akin to an essay after the fact. This book is about what it feels like to be a woman in late 20th/early 21st century America, and that's something you either understand or you don't. I don't know that it can be explained. Just read the book.
Jan 24, 2012 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
As William Burroughs and only William S. Burroughs could have typewritten the brutal report on the 1940s underworld that is Junkie, Randi Black and only Randi Black could have created and unleashed upon the world the raw judgment of the 1990s that is Miss World.


When Lolita - a book which at the time of its publication had a similar underground cred and zeitgeist shock value - was originally distributed by Olympia Press, it was a two-parter. Two volumes. Two sick-pale green paperbacks. And Na
Vanessa Wu
Aug 22, 2011 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing
There are many different reasons why we like to read books but there is one reason that I prize above all others and that is to feel a connection with someone. It's difficult to predict when this will happen. All the marketing in the world can't drum up an authentic human experience if it's not there in a novel and you can scour a bookshop in vain for something that will reach out and touch you.

It often happens when you're not expecting it and when it happens you're reminded of why you're addict
Miss World by Randi Black is a about Kim, a chubby 16 year old who loves Kurt Cobain, Doc martins, and wants to become a musician like her idol. Set in the early/mid '90's, we learn about Kim's life, her emotionally abusive parents and her self esteem issues.

OK, I just have to say right away- I LOVE this beautiful and heartbreaking book!! This is the first book in a LONG time that I was truly upset when it ended. I want more. I don't know if its the fact that I was a teenager in the 90's, i wore
Dec 16, 2011 Valentina rated it really liked it
At its core a coming-of-age story, this novel will grab you by the scruff of the neck and not let go. It is violent, unapologetic, and shameless in a way that is gutsy.
I’m not going to lie, the beginning of the story was tough for me to read. There’s a lot of violence, physical and psychological, and I actually had to set it aside for a few minutes and get myself prepared for what was happening. Kim, protagonist, is refreshing, a change from many of the female characters we see often these days
Jan 21, 2012 Katrina rated it liked it
Well I must say Miss World is like no other book I have read, Saying that its not a bad thing - BUT - The harsh reality of A teenager trying to fit in, feeling uncomfortable within herself and will do anything to escape the life she lives in.. and of course somewhat scary and true.

Blending in the 90's - rockstars, guitars and pop a great mix of everything in quite a book . The era where There was Sex, drugs and rock n roll ! Comes to mind !

Kim ho sleeps with men whom she thinks she can benefit
the golden witch.
My initial interest came with the title for the book – not gonna lie about that. I grew up with Hole and Nirvana on the radio, so it’s a comfort area for me. Luckily, Randi was awesome enough to send me a copy of this for review. The synopsis got me, and I more or less read it in one sitting. Yeah, it was that good. It lets everything hang out, and for that, I must applaud Black for doing what so many authors choose to not do: tell ugly truths about young adults/teens, no matter what the time pe ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Randi sent me this book in preparation of her upcoming blog tour. When she told me what the book was about, I got super excited to read it. I grew up in Seattle, and was quite involved with the grunge scene.
I will post my full review of this book when I post it on my blog.
Don't Look
Jul 10, 2011 Don't Look rated it it was amazing
Remember one thing if you read this book: Kim's imaginary friend will kick your imaginary friend's ass. haha.

I would give this book to every 16 year old girl I know.
Dave Sippel
Jul 16, 2014 Dave Sippel rated it really liked it
This book was a flashback for me. Strangely however, it was a flashback to someone else's life. In the mid 90s Kim Ho and I were both loners in high school, but besides that we didn't have much in common. I remember other people talking about Nirvana, Courtney Love and the suicide of Kurt Cobain even though I couldn't have cared less about any of that. So this was may have been a look into the lives of my classmates.

Taking place in San Dimas, California, "Miss World" follows Kim through the bull
 ☆∞Love Frances∞☆
for full review & more.

I wouldn’t call “Miss World” a fun, light hearted, lets gush over the Grunge Era book. While it does take place in the era I grew up in (and loved), it is more about the darker side of a teen girls life that happens to take place during 1993/94. Old school Chines values battling New school American ones, imaginary friends, loneliness, bullying, rape, are a few of the things that take place in main character Kim Ho’s life.
Cassandra (The book & movie dimension blogger)
Full, non-spoiler review from {Book Tour} courtesy at Book & Movie Dimension a Blog

Kim Ho embodies in Miss World the type of new age young woman of more modern times. She's what young adults might see in each other in regards to taste in cool music and what to do for fun. While it may not be completely accurate in every piece represented, it does present quite a few shards of what an adolescent really is. By that, meaning spouting profanity liberally like "Fuck" and "slut". While also being
Kathy Coleman
Feb 16, 2012 Kathy Coleman rated it it was amazing
My Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

*A copy was provided by the author for review.

I've done quite a few events with my friends Darkfallen and Greta over at Paranormal Wastelands. I've also never been lead astray about a book by these two. So, when they invited me to be part of the Miss World blog tour, I took one look at the summary and went "Hell yes!".

I'm very glad that I did. I have a lot to say about Miss World -- starting with the fact that this book is definitely not for every
Nov 06, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
You know how sometimes you'll be reading a really good book, and suddenly the main character will do something so stupid that it makes you start yelling at the pages? And then you grudgingly accept that the character had to be stupid in order to move the plot along? Miss World thankfully doesn't do this to the reader. Don't get me wrong, Kim Ho does some stupid things, but no more stupid than the average teenager who is trying to figure out her life and gets in over her head. Kim Ho breaks down ...more
Stephanie Parent
Nov 30, 2013 Stephanie Parent rated it it was amazing
Miss World was a book I wanted to read even before it was released—I was a child and teen of the 90s, and I really liked the idea of an honest, raw look at that time period through a teen girl’s eyes. In fact, I think this may have been the first “indie” book I was really interested in. However, I want to read EVERYTHING, and I’m a slow reader, and…it took me three years and a little push to finally read Miss World. And of course now I’m kicking myself for not getting to it sooner, since it was ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
This is one of the most raw books I have ever read. Based around the life of Chinese-American teenager Kim Ho, this book takes an unromantic, and gut wrenching look at teen life in the 90s.

Note to prospective readers, this book contains excessive swearing, sex, brutal rape, and domestic violence.

Sort of spoilers ahead.

Kim is chubby, uncool, music obsessed, and slightly delusional. She lives with her controlling, vicious parents, and spends her spare time chatting up adult men on a party line (
Sonia Reppe
Dec 22, 2011 Sonia Reppe rated it liked it
Recommended to Sonia by: the author, classmate of mine
I love the time period here--the first half of the 1990's: Kurt Cobain, Nirvana; Stone Temple Pilots; me a grundge high-schooler at the time, everything still had a feeling of newness about it, and the world was my playground. Actually the world sometimes seemed to be a scary place, but nothing bad could possibly happen to me, other than bad hair days and pimples, right?

Contrarily, Randi Black's novel, Miss World, is about a Californian high-schooler in the '90's who is dealing with some heavy
Elise Valenti
Jan 01, 2013 Elise Valenti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a child of the 90's like me, "Miss World" will remind you what it was like to grow up in that time. The culture of the 90's defined an entire generation.

The main character Kim Ho is growing up in a traditional Chinese family in an nontraditional world. She has a rough time and is an outsider in school and at home. She goes through a traumatizing experience and it defines her. She slowly heals with the help of an imaginary friend and new boyfriend.

I know that's vague, but you really
Oct 09, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
This debut from Randi Black is truely unique. I enjoyed the music references throughout this book. I think that this novel will appeal to those in their late teens as it is a 'coming of age' kinda book. It was set in the early 90s in the time Kurt Cobain which also makes me think that it'll also appeal to those who grew up in that era. It was a bit too violent for me though! It offers an alternate viewpoint of Chinese family life, which is great. Looking forward to the planned sequel.
Jul 02, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it
I started reading Miss World thinking that I would identify with the time and the setting and the main character, but then I discovered an exceptional writing talent was bringing all those elements together in a way that gives new meaning to the statement "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Thanks for writing this Randi Black. It's a rare opportunity to read an new author whose words get into you like an old favorite.
Feb 21, 2012 Ava rated it liked it
This book did not grab me in any way. I strongly believe that this is not a book for children. I was shocked to see the strong sexual "vocabulary" and I was in a way disgusted. It was hard to understand the relationships between the characters and who was who. I didn't enjoy this novel. Would I read it again? No. I guess everyone is different, so why not give it a shot? Don't say I didn't warn you...
Jul 31, 2012 Glenda rated it really liked it
This was such an interesting and entertaining book and once I understoon who "Joey" was it made more sense. I felt sorry for Kimmie as her mother was the worst, alot of it because of cultural differences but also because I think she was just a bad person. I'm glad Kimmie was able to overcome everything that happened to her!!
Sep 19, 2013 Racquel rated it really liked it
Well, I know why this is a self-published book. It's too honest to pass the 'lets continue staying in our ignorant bubble' test of published books. Also it seems ignorant has a negative connotation to it. I do mean ignorant in its denotation of 'lacking knowledge'.
Aug 21, 2012 Janice rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this "Coming of Age" book. Kim is a bright teenager with Chinese parents living in America finding it difficult after being raped and having to conform to her mothers strict ideals and being bullied by her classmates.
Aug 03, 2013 Katherine rated it liked it
A strong book that's graphic and realistic, it's deserving of its 4 stars. The ending of the book was far from happy but shows how life can just be that way.
Nov 05, 2011 Cassie rated it really liked it
It took me a little while to get into it, but I'm glad I continued to read it.
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Randi Black has worked as a phone sex operator, cashier, writing tutor, and librarian. She holds an MFA and an MSLIS, and is responsible for the controversial debut novel, Miss World. For now, she lives in Chicago with her long-suffering partner and spoiled cat.


If you want to get in touch, the fastest way would be through Twitter.

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