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Unidentified Suburban Object

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  771 ratings  ·  175 reviews
The next person who compares Chloe Cho with famous violinist Abigail Yang is going to HEAR it. Chloe has just about had it with people not knowing the difference between someone who's Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. She's had it with people thinking that everything she does well -- getting good grades, winning first chair in the orchestra, etCETera -- are because she's ASIAN ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Shoshana
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
An interesting premise, but I'm afraid I couldn't get past two things:

One, the main character was just too unlikeable. I kept hoping she'd improve and she did... a tiny bit. Sometimes. But she kind of reliably kept losing her temper at people, shouting a lot, and treating others badly, and I just wasn't into it.

Two, the principle twist. I just... don't think it was necessary. This book could have just been about what it appears to be (at the start) rather than what it ends up being. It was even
...more
Monica Edinger
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really liked this one. Delightful voice and such an authentic sensibility to Chloe's issues. Teasing out her assumptions regarding peer's and friends' responses to her --- is it about race and ethnicity or something else? --- is artfully done. And there is a delicious twist to boot. Difficult to say more without spoilage, but this is the sort of realistic fiction/sf that When You Reach Me is. That is, mostly rooted in the real but with...something else too.
Clare Lund
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Started as a story about Chloe Cho, the only Korean girl in her entire middle school who feels like her classmates only view her as an Asian stereotype. The book hooked me right away, but then took a WEIRD and unexpected turn about halfway through and... I’m not sure how I feel about it. The story was unique, I’ll give it that!
Niki Marion
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Whip-smart, hilarious, and endearing, this book will win your heart and your funny bone. Chloe Cho feels alien as the only Korean kid at her middle school. She encounters casual racism daily, which fuels her already-short temper, but her BFF Shelley is a constant source of support and acceptance. When her parents reveal her true ancestry and it impacts her relationship with Shelley, Chloe realizes that she might not have been a very observant or kind friend. (Inter)Stellar work from #weneeddiver ...more
Abby Johnson
Oh, man, I really liked this one. I marked it as both contemporary and sci-fi because while it is definitely science fiction, the bulk of the story is written as contemporary fiction and I think that fans of contemporary fiction will gravitate to this one more than huge science-fiction fans.

This is a book about a middle school girl trying to figure out her identity and dealing with bigger issues than she could have ever imagined. While she's dealing with big identity issues, she's also dealing
...more
Sarah Donovan
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
So this one is mostly a realistic ya novel of a girl trying to connect with her Korean heritage while her parents resist saying it's "too hard" or "too painful" to think about the family's past. I had a few students in mind as I read this and thought of my own grandfather from Italy, whom I never had the chance to talk to about his reasons for leaving Italia. All this is until there is a shift in the story line, and the realistic cultural quest becomes more sci-fi. I can see how this will appeal ...more
Raina
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j
Chloe's parents have always been cagey about her heritage. Chloe wants to know why.

I read this with my 4-6th grade book club, and it was a really good discussion. (view spoiler) I was into the fish name-dropping and like that he was specific about where they came from.

Jung is a pretty solid author for me!

Prolly gonna booktalk this at local el
...more
Keann
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was amazing! I loved how it was realistic fiction and then switch to fantasy. That was a big surprised and I thought I was not going to like the book any more, but I did. I think making the book fantasy half way though made the book better. If you like science fiction books you would probably like this one. This is what I thought about this amazing book.
Gemma
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't particularly enjoy this book, but perhaps younger readers will. I admit that I don't think I read the jacket cover summary well, or didn't think the book would actually take it where it hints it would, because I was actually surprised by what Chloe learns about her family history.

Chloe's character -- her exaggerated sarcasm, her generalizations of other students and locals (as racists, etc.), her dramatic reactions -- bothered me. For example, when upset by even the smallest things, Chl
...more
Ms. Yingling
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Chloe Cho isn't wild about being the only Asian student at her school, but she HATES that people can't tell that she's Korean and assume that she is Chinese. She's love to know more about her Korean family background, and tries cooking "authentic" food with her best friend, Shelley. When she asks her parents about anything to do with her heritage, however, they refuse to talk about it, saying that it's something they would rather not think about, and beside
...more
Madeline (The Bookish Mutant)
Real rating: 1.25 stars (only b/c I was able to finish this book and I had nothing better to do)
The premise of this book seemed pretty interesting-a Korean girl trying to find out more about her family and ancestry. Early on, I didn’t really like Chloe-she was very impulsive and angry, and yelled SO MUCH. (How much do you wanna bet that a third of the words she speaks in this book are in ALL CAPS?)
And then I got halfway through the book...
...and the plot twist came.
*spoilers ahead*
THE PLOT TWIST
...more
Kristen
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked this one at first--Chloe is a great narrator, and I found myself chuckling at her sarcastic, dry inner voice. She's not perfect, but what middle school kid is?

But that twist...ugh.

Don't get me wrong--I'm all for a good surprise. There's nothing better than "Oooh...things are happening that make me think this but BAM. Something else."

But this was more "Oooh...things are happening that make me think this but BAM. Now here's a recipe for meatballs."

It was just SO sudden and SO unexpe
...more
Brandy Painter
4.5 Stars

Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

The Painter household has been waiting for a new Mike Jung book since we first read Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities when it first came out. Unidentified Suburban Object did not disappoint.

Chloe Cho is the only Asian girl in her school. When people aren't confusing her with being Chinese or Japanese (she's Korean), they are busy thinking she is first chair violin and the smartest kid in school simply because she's Asian. She i
...more
Annette
UNIDENTIFIED SUBURBAN OBJECT by Mike Jung combines satire with a serious examination of racial stereotypes, family connections, and friendship.

Chloe Cho is frustrated by being the token minority in her all-white town. Her parents don’t seem interested in their asian ancestry. When a Korean American teacher moves to town, Chloe immediately connects with her. However when Chloe explores her family history as part of a class project, she finds unexpected results.

Librarians will find that the combin
...more
Melanie Dulaney
This 2017 Texas Bluebonnet nominee was extremely promising for the first half of the book. Chloe Cho is a solid main character with a great mix of both positive and negative traits and with her supportive parents and solid best friend, I just knew that author Jung was going to use Chloe's intelligence and almost too strong work ethic to smooth the rough edges of her temper and superiority complex. But then he took the developing mystery of why Cho's parents refuse to acknowledge their Korean her ...more
Gabriela Montes
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think that this book was a really good book! I loved both the reality part and the science fiction twist when Chloe finds out about the truth of her family! One thing I think Mike Jung could've done better was the nemesis. It seemed like Lindsay Crisp, the "stupidest person in school" was kind of one. But she wasn't really mean. She was just oblivious to a lot of things and plain dim-witted. Still, every story should have an enemy, and it should show it. Whether the enemy is the coolest girl i ...more
Andria
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
A hilarious middle-grade tale about discovering and coming to terms with your personal identity, with a twist. Chloe desperately wants to embrace her Korean heritage but every time she asks her parents about their culture and traditions they are weirdly reluctant to talk about it. They're obviously hiding something, and when Chloe finds out what it is, her world is rocked. A lot of good stuff about race, identity, family and friendships is going on here, plus some serious library love, delivered ...more
Kristi
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: juv-fiction
Well, that took a completely unexpected turn (I mean, I did not see that twist coming AT ALL), though I guess there were hints. I guess the lesson of self-acceptance did remain constant too. Also, interesting (unfortunate?) cover choice considering the book's discussion about book covers not featuring non-white characters.
Kimberly Sabatini
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-ya
Told through the lens of a middle school girl, desperately trying to connect with her Korean heritage and looking to better understand her place in the world, this book had an unexpected, super fun twist worthy of a Gordon Korman novel. Jung also provided an ending that left me wanting more.
Jennifer
The cover for this book threw me. I really thought it was going to be about someone turning into a fish. So, um, spoiler alert, it's not. No one actually turns into a fish. Of course, that means that once the truth was revealed, I was not expecting it.

While I understand what Chloe's parents were trying to do by not telling her the truth for so long, I feel that a lot of the problems that come up could have been completely avoided if they had just spoken up.

All in all, this is a good book with
...more
Monica
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I am excited to see that so many of the 17-18 Texas Bluebonnet books have a focus on minorities and different cultures. So many of those stories have been largely untold in elementary school books. I wanted SO much to like this book. I mean, a sassy, smart girl who is going to teach cool things about the Asia and/or Korean culture, and it seems like we might learn a bit about the violin, too. This sounded awesome.

I was disappointed. I try to rate the books based on what I think my 3rd -5th grad
...more
Diane
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chloe is a star student: straight As and first chair violin. She works hard and takes her academic career very seriously. Her best friend, Shelley, whom she's known since she was three, is also highly motivated in school. Unfortunately, Chloe stands out in another way, as well. She is of Korean heritage in a place where there isn't much diversity. She's heard every stereotypical comment you can think of: "You're good at math, right?" "Are you Japanese or Chinese?" (no one even thinks about Korea ...more
Teresa Scherping Moulton
Chloe Cho is used to not fitting in. She's used to being the only Korean-American girl at her school and to being compared to all other Asian people (because Japanese/Chinese/Korean is all the same, apparently, UGH). Chloe is also at the top of her class academically, highly competitive at violin, and almost never afraid to speak her mind. Chloe knows not everyone in her class likes her, but that's okay as long as she has her best friend Shelley. Chloe has always wanted to learn more about her K ...more
Erica
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grades
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Serina
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have to start off by saying I was really looking forward to this..... about a young girl struggling with culture identity as a Korean in America. However this is probably one of the first times that I've agreed with a lot of the reviews on Goodreads (since usually a 80% of the time they say the book is amazing even its obviously not) This time people seem to be a little bit more objective and I agree with them. The plot twist twist was completely unnecessary. It's fine but it didn't add anythi ...more
Heidi
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Chloe is different from all of her classmates in the small suburban town in Washington state. Everyone else there is a Caucasian American and they really don’t know what to expect of Asian Americans, or they think the only two possibilities are Japanese and Chinese. To make matters worse, as much as Chloe wants to know more about her own heritage, her parents skillfully avoid the subject at every turn. So, while Chloe is at first thrilled when a new Korean American teacher comes to her school, M ...more
Samantha
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chloe Cho is fed up with the people around her automatically comparing her to Abigail Yang, not knowing the difference between Korean, Chinese, and Japanese, and crediting her intellect to her being Asian. She’s also angry at her parents who refuse to tell her anything about their Korean background, something she desperately wants to know more about. When an assignment from the new, Korean American teacher leads Chloe to push for more answers from her parents, she discovers something she never i ...more
Barbara
Seventh grader Chloe Cho is at the top of her game when it comes to her violin playing and academics, and her future seems bright. Having a best friend, Shelley, who enjoys many of the same things she does, including exploring her Korean ancestry, helps her feel as though she has a place in the small universe that is her school--George Matthew. But cracks begin to appear in her surface and spread outwardly after her new social studies teacher, Su-Hyung Lee, assigns a model diplomacy to the class ...more
Anastasia Tuckness
Chloe is super proud of her Korean heritage, and she does stand out in her small, mostly white, Indiana school/town. She's smart and a really good violin player--I loved how much the book talks about orchestra and the dynamics, including lots of drama about who's 1st chair and whose instrument is better. She also has a couple good friends and enjoys their company as well.

Spoiler alert ahead--it's kinda impossible to talk about this book without giving away the punch line, which happens about 1/
...more
Bethany
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chloe is the only Korean kid in her small town. Actually, she's the only Asian kid, period, in her small town. Getting people to recognize that Korea, China, and Japan are all different countries with different cultures is already a huge hurdle. The problem is that her parents won't ever talk about their families or their past. They also seem strangely clueless about Korean culture, food, clothing, and language. This is infuriating for Chloe, who has cultivated a strong connection to her Korean ...more
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Mike Jung is the author of the middle-grade novels Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2012), Unidentified Suburban Object (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2016), and The Boys in the Back Row (Levine Querido, 2020). His essays can be found in the anthologies Dear Teen Me (Zest, 2012), Break These Rules (Chicago Review Press, 2013), 59 Reasons to Write (Stenho ...more

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