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Year of Impossible Goodbyes
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Year of Impossible Goodbyes

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,155 ratings  ·  134 reviews
It is 1945, and courageous ten-year-old Sookan and her family must endure the cruelties of the Japanese military occupying Korea.Police captain Narita does his best to destroy everything of value to the family, but he cannot break their spirit.Sookan's father is with the resistance movement in Manchuria and her older brothers have been sent away to labor camps.Her mother i ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Yearling (first published January 1st 1991)
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This book is about a family's life in Korea during the Korean War (Known as the 6.25 war in Korea) The family lives through the Japanese occupation to the Korean war and during the occupation they live in a village in the part of North Korea. Sookan the sister of the family is brave and protects her younger brother. There father is in Manchuria for Japanese-resistant movement and there three older brothers are camped in the labor camp of Japan.

After the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagas
For me personally, I respect this book for introducing an oft-overlooked portion of World War II and the years beyond- Korea's occupation by Japan and ultimately America and Russia splitting the country in two. After a dreary existance under the Japanese, young protagonist Sookan falls under the influence of the communist Russians and must escape with her family to the south. Underneath all of the specifics is a formula story about escaping oppression and coming of age, but it was told so beauti ...more
As stated in the title of this book, there were many deaths through the story. A teenage Korean girl is living through a war between North Korea and the Japanese. She lives in a city named Pyongyang with her younger brother, mother and aunt. Her two older brothers and dad had been taken away from the soldiers and have never return since. War changes her family immensely and she can never forget this past.
Year of Impossible Goodbyes written by Sook Nyul Choi truly has morals that engraves into ou
Blythie Colvin
Parker M.
this was a very good story obout the koren war and what a tipical family went through. although the torture is bad and i hate it!!!
Gi Woo
I haven’t read any Korean history books since 2012, but this book made me think back deeply about Japanese occupation in Korea during WWII. Even though this book is above my reading level, my background knowledge of Korea helped me to understand this book.

I thought this book would include many violent issues like torturing, but I didn’t see much of this. This book is mainly about a family’s love during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Also, I thought that the author would say something offensiv
I can't believe I didn't write a review for this book yet! So here I am, jotting down my thoughts more than a year after I rated 5 stars. Now here's why:
I love historical fiction. But historical fiction set in Korean during WW2 is even more intriguing to me, and it is extremely personal. Choi retells the story of Korea during 1945 (WW2) through a little girl's eyes. It's a story of survival, hatred, patriotic love, family, loss of innocence, freedom and identity. I respect this book for portrayi
Kayla Pahl
I mean i usually say all my books were 5 stars but this one deserves it. Its about this girl named sookan that lives in korea and it gets taken over by japan. After they war ended and Japan lost Russia came into the picture they thought durning the time of Japan took over was bad the time coming was worst. There were lost of sad things in this book they lose the sock girls, her mom gets sickand has to be a maid, her grandfather dies becuz of the japanesse harsh beatings, her father and three bro ...more
This book was a gift from my mom when I was an older child or young teen. I absolutely love this story, and I appreciate it more every time I read it.

Set in Korea, beginning in Pyongyang in 1945, the story follows Sookan and her remaining family members--her mother, little brother, grandfather, aunt, and cousin--through their difficult everyday lives under Japanese rule. Through the course of the first part of the book, we learn how long the Japanese had oppressed the Koreans, and the whereabou
The title of this book really attracted me because of how interesting and poetic it was, and I found that the book itself was filled with events that I hadn't even known about. I think I've been somewhat biased by my interest in Japanese culture, because I hadn't really given a second thought to Japanese World War II actions other than the Rape of Nanjing and Pearl Harbor. I don't think I even knew that the Japanese had occupied Korea, so learning about that through this book was really surprisi ...more
Year of impossible goodbyes. A novel about history. A novel about the war of Japan and N.Korea vs S.Korea. The author is the main character. And this novel is about her in her teenage years. When she was suffering with her family. Obviously, not many people lived at this time, because of the war. But this book is sharing the amazing thoughts of what she was thinking and doing during the lifetime events. The antagonist is obviously Japan. But there is a more specific one. His name was Captain Na ...more
We enter into this book in Pyongyang, Korea during the Japanese occupation towards the end of WWII. The story of Sookan, a 10-year-old girl living under the cruelties of the Japanese and after them the Russians really engaged me. I knew almost nothing about Korean history and had not been interested in Korea before, so I was glad to find this gateway into their culture and history. Since I'm more familiar with Japanese culture and have lived there, I had to wince at how awful they were to the Ko ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Choi’s book expresses the indomitable spirit of the Korean nation to confront the tyranny of the Japanese and Russians during and after World War II. A novel of historical fiction, Choi writes in a first person narration that chronicles experiences from her own life. The book seeks to reach an intended audience of juvenile and young adult readers, ages 12 and up. But adults will also find their emotions piqued with this story of struggle and survival. The story takes place in the spring of 1945 ...more
The reason I chose this book is because I'm a HUGE fan of K-pop although this book is centered around Pyongyang, North Korea and most K-pop artists are from South Korea, I still really enjoyed reading this book and understanding some of the hardships the North Koreans had to go through. Sookan, the main character, is very strong and must work hard to be a noona (what a younger boy calls an older girl) to her youngest brother, Inchun. Together, with their umma (mother), and a guide they attem ...more
Zeavo Defacto
Finally, here we have some Young Adult fiction that's actually pretty good. In the past five years I've attempted a handful of YA books and time after time was disappointed that these works' appeal/enjoyability couldn't transcend the young adult age group (at least for me) the way that say, Harry Potter can. In 'Year of Impossible Goodbyes' (great title by the way) we're presented a fictionalized account of the very real struggle of the Korean peninsula. During WW2 the Japanese occupied the Kore ...more
Sookan is ten years old and living in North Korea during WWII. Her father, brothers, and uncle are all gone and she is living with her mother, aunt, grandfather, and little brother. The Japanese control her town and things are horrible: she's not allowed to speak Korean, her mother must tirelessly run a sock factory for the Japanese in their front year, and her grandfather is frustrated beyond belief at the occupation. When the war ends, hope explodes in her small town, but soon that is eradicat ...more
[NOTE: Some spoilers ahead!]

Year of Impossible Goodbyes takes place over a period of approximately 1-2 years, chronicling the lives of 10-year-old Sookan and her family in North Korea. During the oppressive Japanese occupation of Korea, Sookan and her family are not allowed to speak their own language or assert their own culture, and they are essentially slaves to the domineering Captain Narita. When the Japanese lose World War II and pull out of Korea, Sookan and her family rejoice in the new l
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Ten-year-old Sookan lives with her mother, grandfather, aunt, cousin, and little brother in Japanese-occupied Pyongyang. Her father has escaped to Manchuria and her older brothers are in Japanese labor camps. As the war drags on and the Japanese become even more cruel, Sookan and her family hold out hope that the Americans will come and free them. But when the war is over, it's not the Americans who come, but the Russians, and now their only hope for freedom is to make the dangerous journey sout ...more
There's so much punch packed into this little read. Sook Nyul Choi's Year of Impossible Goodbyes is the heart aching story of ten-year-old Sookan, and her family, living in Korea during the Japanese occupation of World War II. As the endure the harsh world the Japanese have created, the Koreans breathe a sigh of relief when the Russian Soviet soldiers defeat the Japanese. But things do not get easier for Sookan under Soviet rule. As they make plans to escape to the newly created South Korea, Soo ...more
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
Year of Impossible Goodbyes is the story of a young Korean girl and her family. It begins during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and depicts the harshness of living under an invading people's thumb. When the war ends, the family is hopeful and relieved that they are now free. However, the Russians quickly invade and promise equality and surplus under the new Communist rule. The family quickly learns of the back-breaking work and paranoia that Communism brings with it. They devise a plan to esc ...more
The story of Sookan and her family living under Japanese occupation and being liberated, only to have the Russians and communist Chinese take over and the 39th parallel drawn as a line between communism and democracy gives an insight into the experience of Koreans during this time and a better understanding of a major turning point in Korean history.
Hyunwoo R.
Tear of Impossible Goodbyes is a historical fiction book that is written by the Korean author, Sook Nyul Choi.
This book is about a young girl and her family during the Korean war and when Japan took over Korea. At some parts, it could get boring because there isn't much action but other than that, this is a good book that I would recommend.
How is it that I can read about North and South Korea a hundred times in the news, yet little of that sinks in? But then I read (out loud, to my kids) one story set in North and South Korea and suddenly I 'get' those countries in ways I never have before? That's what this book did for me (and hopefully, my kids too).
This story gets better with almost every chapter. It opens in Pyongyang, Korea, during the final months of World War Two and the Japanese occupation. Japanese evil, Koreans oppressed – that’s easy enough to follow, and the emotional impact feels muted as a result.

Once the Japanese are defeated, the Communists take over, and the urgency to escape increases. The Russians are the new bosses, and Choi provides at least a few glimpses outside their stereotypical framework, including her views of the
Susan Menk
Tags: Japanese rule, North Korea, goodbyes, World War II, escape, family, sock factory, Communism, biography, historical fiction, Sookan, Inchun

Sookan lives in a village in North Korea during World War II. The Japanese have come in and occupied North Korea making the North Koreans work hard and giving them little or no food. Sookan and her family try hard to keep going even though they don't know how their father or brothers are doing or when they will see them again. When the war ends, the Japa
Delicious Strawberry
Many atrocities were committed during World War 2 by the Japanese, Germans, and Italians against other groups. In this book, it focuses on a Japan-dominated Korea as told in the POV of a young teenage girl. Her father and older brothers have been carted off to contribute to the cause.

While it's obvious that unpleasant things happen in this book, it avoids graphic detail that would be inappropriate for children, and presents the reality of war at an age-appropriate level, and has a lot of little
Year of Impossible Goodbyes has received and interest level of 5th.-8th. grades. It is a historical novel about a young girl's experiences in North Korea under Japanese rule before the war ended and Russian rule after the war ended. It does use the word "bastard" a couple of times and also tells of how the Japanese closed down a sock-making shop and sent the girls to take care of the needs of soldiers. Some parents might find book objectionable for the audience to which it is recommended.
The b
This book is set in the Japanese invasion of Korea, and then the Russian invasion of Korea. It explains how, contrary to popular belief, most North Koreans are completely innocent.
My daughter read this book in 4th grade and suggested I read it too. It was a compelling story and a quick read, I'm glad my daughter suggested this book. It's hard to believe what Koreans had to go through during WWII and what they continue to face. It is mind boggling to think that the border between North and South Korea is what determines whether a person can live with freedom or not.
I love historical fiction, it's so eye-opening. It's unimaginable what the Koreans endured when Japan had co
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