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Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

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One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian.

On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her "Yu-MEAT" because she smells like her family's Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she's reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.

Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she's a girl named Kay Nakamura--and Yumi doesn't correct them.

As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published March 17, 2020

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Jessica Kim

6 books57 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 638 reviews
Profile Image for julianna ➹.
207 reviews263 followers
May 20, 2021
my tbr is like "pls!!! i am begging you!!!" and in response i say "no" and read random books i find on libby

also this is the 500th book i've read as marked on goodreads!!! wow
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,737 followers
February 20, 2020
Remember the funny girls. No one else seems to. Living as we do in an age when every other book published is an inspiring group biography, our children are currently steeped in the very serious nature of what makes a woman great. And being funny, quite frankly, isn’t something that tends to make the cut. Humorists have a purpose on this planet, but you’re not going to win a Nobel or a Pulitzer or even an Oscar most of the time for making someone laugh. This is why funny books written by women are such unicorns in the publishing world. You might find one or two written for 9-12 year olds in a given season, but they’re probably not going to attract much literary cred. You know what they’ll do instead? Make kids laugh. Give them an alternative to the deadly serious fare that’s out there. And, most importantly, show them that women can be just as hilarious as guys. So hats off to Stand Up, Yumi Chung! Sure it’s a funny story couched in a meaningful one, but for what it’s saying and how it says it, I award it a great big rubber chicken. It may not be a work of grit and resonance, but it’s fun and that, to my mind, is worth all the hoity-toity awards in the world.

Tragedy plus time equals comedy. All well and good, but it’s not like everyone’s gifted enough to turn their tragical tragedies into comic gold. Yumi Chung’s been struggling in particular since she’s first generation Korean-American and her parents have some crazy high expectations for her. They want her to pass a scholarship exam for financial aid to her fancy private school with flying colors. She wants to do stand up comedy. What’s a girl to do? Probably not sneak into a summer comedy camp hosting by her idol, pretend to be another camper under an assumed name, and concoct a crazy plan to perform and convince her parents she’s a natural born comedian. Yet that’s exactly what Yumi (now Kay Nakamura) does, and as the lies build up and her parents’ restaurant starts to flounder, she’s caught between her desires and the desires of her family. Is there a way to balance both?

So here’s a pretty basic question about the book: Is it funny? I mean, it’s about someone who’s digging deep down into the depths of their soul to bring hilarity into the world, but are the jokes any good? That sounds like a simple question, but it’s actually pretty complicated. First off, there are definitely funny moments in the book itself. Not too many wild and crazy hijinks, but good observational stuff. You know how I can tell whether or not I’ll like a book? I see how the first chapter feels. It’s not a perfect litmus test, but nine times out of ten it’s pretty darn accurate. In the case of this book, that first chapter is a joy to read. I’ve been taking deep dives into a lot of serious subject matter so encountering a first line like, “I should have known better than to think anyone would listen to me at the Korean beauty salon” feels like a breath of fresh air. But to get back to whether or not the book is funny at all, what about Yumi herself? Do her jokes fly? Let me remind you that Yumi is an eleven-year-old girl. As such, if she were whipping out brilliant material like some kind of George Carlin / Richard Pryor / Ali Wong child savant, how believable would that be? Now I’d argue that the first joke Yumi writes in her notebook is probably her funniest, but the simple fact that she’s so young and willing to try so many things is evidence of the reality of the story. Is she the funniest thing you ever saw? Nope. She’s eleven, but she's working on that.

Ms. Kim also does this adept little tap dance around the microaggressions Yumi has to deal with in her life without having them draw attention away from whatever scene is playing out. For example, in one moment early in the book, Yumi is talking with a guy named Felipe who has just complimented her. “I break into a sweat. I’m not used to people striking up conversations with me. Last year at Winston, hardly anyone bothered to speak to me at all. My own teacher didn’t call on me for the entire first week of school because he thought I couldn’t speak English. True story.” Then we’re back in the moment with Felipe. It doesn’t skip a beat, but you know a lot more about Yumi from its inclusion. This proves true for the people around Yumi too. In one case, she’s considering how her mom can’t really compliment her without “attaching some kind of warning to balance it out. Like when she tells me, ‘You are pretty, but if you don’t put on sunscreen, your skin will turn rough like dried squid.’ It’s just her way, but I can read between the lines.” You may not be able to completely identify with Yumi’s mom after knowing that, but you can at least be convinced that she truly loves her daughter.

I should mention that I have nothing against inspiring group biographies of women. Just out of curiosity though, where’s the group biography of funny women throughout history? Does it not exist because it would be too hard to write, or because no one’s interested in women that can make people laugh? I’m interested. I bet other people are too. It’s important for kids to see all kinds of people being funny, and until we get a collection of such biographies I’ll be happy that at least kids are getting books like Stand Up, Yumi Chung! in the interim. This is a book unafraid to declare its love of comedy in the face of overwhelming odds. Funny stuff.

For ages 9-12.
Profile Image for CW ✨.
644 reviews1,692 followers
June 21, 2020
Oh, I ADORED this!!! This is such a feel-good story that's also unexpectedly laugh-out-loud funny, being who you are, and the shenanigans of accidentally living a double-life.

- Follows Yumi, a shy young Korean girl who loves stand-up comedy! When she stumbles on a comedy camp led by her idol, Jasmine Jasper, she is mistaken for another camp-goer and accidentally leads a double-life.
- This was just really funny? Even though it's aimed at a younger audience, I found myself chuckling and giggling at some of the jokes. This book is just so incredibly warm and charming.
- I loved the family aspects of this book. Yumi's parents own a Korean BBQ restaurant and, as immigrant parents, put a lot of pressure on Yumi to succeed. The characterisation of her parents were never stereotypical - in fact, there are some tender and vulnerable moments between them, though the story also honestly portrays how these pressures can conflict with what children want.
- I loved the core message: how fear of failure, not failure itself, is our greatest obstacle.
- So heartwarming, lovely, and highly recommended for all younger readers!
Profile Image for Nev.
1,051 reviews136 followers
May 18, 2020
This was such a fun, heart-warming Middle Grade book. Even though Yumi Chung is super shy she dreams of being a stand up comedian. When she stumbles into a comedy summer camp and gets mistaken for a camper she doesn’t correct anyone. Now she’s secretly attending summer camp, growing her confidence, and hopefully learning how to stand up for what she wants.

I loved this book so much! Yumi was a great character. Her struggles with her parents not really listening to what she wants to do were very relatable. I appreciated how a lot of this book is an immigrant story about her parents moving to the US from Korea and how that impacted their family and how they raised their children. Also, Yumi learning to express herself through comedy was fun to see.

Overall I think this is a funny and sweet Middle Grade book. And it was fun to see the BTS references in it.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,337 reviews524 followers
March 17, 2020
Yumi Chung has #shygirlproblems. She also loves to tell jokes using her hairbrush as a pretend microphone after a long day of school and helping out in her family's struggling Korean BBQ restaurant. Yumi's parents sign her up for a summer tutoring class to prepare her for a scholarship exam so she can continue to attend a tony private school for free. On her way to the library to study after class, Yumi stumbles upon a new comedy club in her neighborhood. Inside is favorite comedian and a summer camp for kids. When Yumi is mistaken for an absent student, she glimpses a future where she can enjoy her passion instead of living for her parents as older sister Yuri has been doing. Now she is living a double life -- Kay Nakamura at camp and Yumi Chung at home and school. What will happen when her worlds collide? What secret is Yuri keeping from her family? How will her family find keep their restaurant open? What do Yumi's struggles in class have to do with her pursuit of comedy? Perhaps getting caught in her web of lies will be the best thing that could have happened to Yumi. Give this to kids who loved Front Desk.

Thank you to Kokila and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
512 reviews298 followers
February 19, 2022
Trigger Warning(s): Bullying and racism.

Reading Challenge: #PondathonII

Rep: Yumi and her family are Korean American. Ginny is Korean American. Manuel is Salvadoran American. Felipe is Mexican American.

My Thoughts Before Reading: I had seen this book floating around Twitter in 2020. I love middle grade books and was so excited about this one! I have never read a book which follows an aspiring comedian.

I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

What I Liked: The comedy aspect was so much fun! I loved reading from Yumi’s secret comedy notebook. The Haha club’s meetings and improvs were so cool and innovative. I almost wished I was there with Yumi and doing the same activities! I also really liked reading about the Korean restaurant. The food descriptions will definitely leave readers hungry!

Jessica Kim was able to capture Yumi in her entirety. From her awkward thoughts and feelings, to the deeper side of Yumi-wherein she was afraid to disappoint herself and her parents. I was so in awe over how well the book was written! I truly do believe it takes a certain creativity to capture a childs voice and Kim definitely succeeded.

Yumi’s relationship with her parents were complicated. Like many immigrant parents her parents want the best for her and don’t really see her interest in comedy as anything more than a hobby. When her mother suggests the taking the exam in order to get a scholarship, she is un-surprisingly not very happy about it. However Yumi doesn’t feel she can say so because of the familial guilt that comes with being the child of immigrant parents. The need not to disappoint her parents, to work hard and fulfill their dreams for her.

I really appreciated that Kim never portrays Yumi’s parents as the horrible and stereotypical ones that you see in a lot of media. They are fully fleshed out and have some really deep moments with Yumi. That specific scene with Yumi and her father towards the end brought tears to my eyes. And Yumi’s mother supporting her by rehashing advice that Yumi got from watching comedy videos, really touched my heart and made me root for Yumi even more.

I loved reading about Yumi and her sister Yuri’s relationship! Yuri is almost like a second mom to Yumi (there is a large age difference). Yumi idolizes Yuri. She thinks that Yuri is untouchable and someone who has it all figured out. Of course she doesn’t, and has her own story arc. Which was done beautifully.

Yuri supports Yumi’s love for comedy and tries to come to her defense when she can. Even so much as trying to convince their parents to let Yumi attend the Haha club. When Yumi is inevitably in way over her head she even gives Yumi the means to get out of the situation before it all blows up. Yumi in turn also supports Yuri’s new career direction. Not immediately but she comes around and what counts is that Yumi supports her sister.

Yumi had some really solid friendships in this book! Like with the restaurants cook Manuel, who loves hearing about Yumi’s jokes. Ginny who supports Yumi not necessarily in a way Yumi wants but is still there for her. Felipe and Sienna whom attend the Haha club and had such sweet moments with Yumi. These three were constantly cheering each other and I lived for it!

Yumi’s character development was done so beautifully! I loved reading about her growth, her newfound confidence in herself, and letting go of the fear of disappointing herself and others around her. It was spread throughout the entire novel, stemming from her experience in the haha club. And even the relationships she had with everyone in her life.

My Criticism(s): Absolutely nothing!

Conclusion: Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Stand Up, Yumi Chung! I highly recommend it if you are looking for a light middle grade novel.
Profile Image for Shaye Miller.
1,236 reviews81 followers
May 4, 2020
Yumi Chung’s greatest desire is to become a stand-up comedian. But her Korean-American parents have sacrificed everything to send her to a special private school in order to get her into a top-notch university in hopes that she’ll become a lawyer or go to med school like her “perfect” older sister. While her parents face severe financial troubles at their family-owned restaurant, they are informed that Yumi can continue to attend her private school on scholarship if she scores high on an exam. So she’s being sent to specialized tutoring all summer long. Yumi really doesn’t want to continue to attend her school. She doesn’t feel like she fits in and there are constant microaggressions she faces as a non-white student. However, she attends her tutoring sessions and plans to do as well as possible on the exam. By completely accident, Yumi happens upon a comedy camp taking place as a local theatre. When she pops her head in to see what’s going on, she is mistaken for another enrollee who didn’t show up. She plays the part perfectly and becomes Kay Nakamura at camp, but remains Yumi Chung at her tutoring group. As would be expected, her friends from both places eventually meet in a single space and Yumi’s lies begin to unravel. The heart of this story is about taking a risk to do what you love doing. But in the story we discover (and understand) how hard Yumi’s parents have worked to keep their family business running and WHY they’ve sacrificed everything in hopes that Yumi’s life will be devoid of a financial stress. Being a stand-up comedian means a lack of financial security, so they’re only trying to look out for her. There are a number of comedic moments throughout the story, but I just loved the thoughts about second chances and the cozy, feel-good ending. ❤ I’m more than happy to recommend this one!

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!
Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,252 reviews1,811 followers
March 24, 2020
A book that took some time for me to get into but I loved the immigrant representation in this, expectations from parents, discussion of relevant topics like BTS, and everything else.

Profile Image for DaNae.
1,372 reviews73 followers
April 18, 2020
Fun story about following your dreams when your parents don't understand what the dickens you're dreaming of. I could wish that a book about a wannabe comedian was just the least bit funny.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,592 reviews3,470 followers
May 2, 2020
2 stars.
This was a fun read about Yumi, a Korean-American girl who’s parents own a Korean Barbecue restaurant. Much to the dismay of her parents, Yumi loves comedy and telling jokes. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing Yumi and her family’s Korean culture—even if it was a little strange seeing Korean words written in English (called “Romanization”) as a posed to 한글. While I wasn’t thrilled with Yumi lying and keeping things from her parents, there was a message throughout the book of going for your own passions and being yourself that I think some readers would like. There was one part with Yumi’s friend where the friend had to seriously talk and show research on what they wanted to do for the parent to understand where their child is coming from. This is very similar to what my parents did with me growing up, so I appreciated Yumi trying it in her own way to get her parents to understand her.
Besides the lying, the only difficulties I had with this book was some of the language—while not a big deal to some, I personally am not a fan of different words used (buttload and kick butt being two that were often said). There also was some humor related to a girl’s period and a pad that I felt went over my (personal) comfort line. So, it was a fun book at times, but there were some parts I wished were left out.

Spiritual Content: A few mentions of churches & a pastor; A couple mentions of a crowd being like a cult; A comment of ‘Thank God you’re here’ and another about ‘Lord knows I try to be a forgiving person…’.

Negative Content: Some minor cussing/language (buttload, dang, darn, freaking, fricking, heck, ‘holy hot cheetos’, kick butt, OMG, shoot, stupid, sucks, sucker, what the heck, and what the…, are all used often; Yumi also comments that her mom scared the ‘shin kimchi’ out of her). Yumi lies and deceives about being another person and keeps from her parents about going to the comedy club; Mentions of TV shows, celebrities, singers, actors, & comedians (SNL, Conan, BTS, Elton John, and Hugh Jackman); Mentions of acne, poop, & throwing up; Mentions of smoking cigarettes (Yumi’s dad does it when he is really stressed); A few mentions of animals being killed; A mention of R-rated movies.

Sexual Content: Mentions of studying your butt off or laughing it off; Mentions of a story about a girl getting her period at a sleepover, pads, making a makeshift pad, & an embarrassing situation; Mentions of girl superheroes chests and needing support.

Profile Image for Adri.
947 reviews801 followers
May 4, 2020
4.5 Stars

Yumi Chung has earned herself a big fan in me, because oh boy did I love this book!

I love how this story shows us that comedy, while being a form of entertainment, is really a space of vulnerability where comics share so much of their lives and use storytelling as a way of healing and making sense of their experiences. Yumi loves comedy so much, but struggles because she lacks confidence and self-belief, which is whatmakes her so determined to learn.

As the story progresses, we see that Yumi isn't just dealing a standard bout of shyness, but that she's being held back by her fear of failing and her fear of being herself. I also appreciate how this story breaks down stereotypes concerning "tiger parents" and "strict Asians" by showing us that, yes, Yumi's parents are hard on her, but it's because they don't want her to become a labourer like them, and they don't want her to feel uncertain about her future. Yumi is not trying to defy her parents, in fact she deeply respects them, and that's a level of nuance that I really appreciate.

Another layer this story gives us is how entitlement and privilege are not something afforded to many POC and especially the children of immigrants. Everyone in Yumi's life is advising her to "just be honest," and "tell your parents what you really want," and while it all comes from a good place, all she can think about is that her parents would never sign her up for comedy camps or send her to a performing arts school, because those things are luxuries. Getting a first chance at living your dream, much less a second one, is a privilege in and of itself. And getting what you want exactly how you want is simply not the reality for many POC.

To me, this story says that maybe the endgame isn't getting what you want, but learning how to love each other better, and how love yourself better. Maybe the endgame is learning to take what you're given and look for every chance you have to use it in the best way you know how. And yes, the story celebrates learning to be yourself in the funniest and sweetest way possible.

So, in short, I love Yumi Chung and I love this book, and I wouldn't say no to reading more adventures about this wonderful comedic hero.
22 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2022
I liked this book. I like how Yumi finally stands up for her self and to her parents. I like how Yumi grew and became more confident in herself and how she felt. I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
December 9, 2019
Yumi Chung dreams of being a comedian, but that is not at all what her Korean immigrant parents have in mind for her. When she stumbled across a comedy camp meeting in her neighborhood and a girl with an Asian last name has not shown up for the first day, Yumi finds herself pretending to be "Kay" and taking her spot in the camp. Not only does she have to protect her secret identity, but she has to make sure her parents do not find out. AND she has to find the courage to take the stage and perform.

This is a funny, winning middle grade novel about following your heart and your dreams, even if it means you might get in super big trouble. Hand it to readers who are into performing or readers who enjoy the hidden-second-life plotline.

Possible readalikes: Dear Sweet Pea for readers who enjoy books where tween girls have a secret life they have to hide from their friends and parents.

Dorko the Magnificant for readers who enjoy books about kids living a life on stage.
Profile Image for Carli.
1,032 reviews8 followers
March 3, 2020
Thanks to Libro.fm.fm and Penguin Random
House for the advance listening copy of this 3.17.20 release. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this story about finding your voice, which is perfect for fans of Front Desk, The First Rule of Punk, and The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Eleven-year-old Yumi longs to be a stand-up comedian. Her Korean parents, however, insist that she keep her attention on studying and helping out at their struggling Korean barbecue restaurant. When she stumbles upon her favorite comedian running a summer comedy camp and accidentally pretends to be someone else, Yumi’s passion is confirmed; however, is she in too deep to make things right? Perfect for grades 5-7.
Profile Image for Adriana.
917 reviews69 followers
May 8, 2020
A shy girl who wants to be a comedian, Yumi Chung finds herself deceiving her parents in order to make her dreams come true. Along the way she learns the importance of family and that her immigrant parents might just support her if she gave them the chance.

A heartfelt story centered on family, comedy, and being your true self; Stand Up, Yumi Chung! is one of the most hyped middle grades of 2020 and for good reason. Jessica Kim's debut has stand out characters and an impactful storyline. Yumi's passion for comedy is what truly sold me on her. She practices and writes jokes in her "Super-Secret Comedy Notebook" constantly. She is so determined to show her parents that she can do comedy and ace an important test that she spends hours studying for something she doesn't want to do. She finds it in herself to take a chance, although a morally gray one, to learn how to be a better comedian. She learns to tell jokes in front of people and be okay with being in the limelight while being shy. As a fellow shy person, I appreciated her realistic growth on the stage. Family was a large aspect of the story and having an immigrant father and grandparents myself, it's always interesting to see the similarities and differences between immigrant cultures. My parents drilled into me and my brothers how important education is because it's something that can't be taken away. With our careers they mostly want us to have stable jobs and for us to be happy. At first, Yumi's parents didn't seem to focus on happiness, but for them, a successful career where you don't have to worry about money is being happy. Speaking of being happy, I loved that Yumi's sister - Yuri - decided she rather go find herself then do something she knows she hates in order to make her parents happy. Both sisters were going through the same thing at different times in their lives which I thought was a great addition to the plot. Yumi's jokes themselves could be very good especially when she was talking about her permed hair. None of them were belly laugh funny but I'm not the audience. I can see kids her age enjoying her jokes. Lastly, I enjoyed the satisfying and somewhat realistic ending to the story. I think it had a good message that kids can take with them after the story is finished.

I do have some qualms about Yumi's story centering around being a comedian. It would be nice if more books focused on characters who want to be something either kids' have never heard of or something not revolving the arts. Yumi wants to be a comedian like someone she follows on YouTube which isn't really realistic but I guess that's the point. However, I do think that showing the drive Yumi had towards working hard to be a good comedian leveled off the playing field. Also, I love books with food descriptions but I didn't know any of the food that was talked about in this story. It would have been so nice to have an illustrated image or two of some of the food that was served at Chung's Barbecue. One last thing, I wish this wasn't a standalone. I would be really interested to see Yumi in seventh, eighth, or even as a freshman in high school with the new friends she made and her current best friend.

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! is well worth the hype as it showcases the struggles and love of being a part of an immigrant family and the determination it takes to stand up for your dreams.

Thanks to Kokila (Penguin Group) and NetGalley for letting me read Stand Up, Yumi Chung in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Sasa.
248 reviews117 followers
February 3, 2023
6 stars

i wanted something i could turn my brain off to and this was simultaneously that and so much more. this book depicted struggles from trying to live up to her immigrant parents's expectations while also chasing her own dreams of becoming an asian girl comedian—stand up, yumi chung! is a winner of a debut novel. i loved how much heart, thoughtfulness, and juice there was to the story and i kept wanting to know what happened next. i loved yumi chung's journey from start to finish and the character development on all fronts (not just the protagonist's) was /chef's kiss 🤌🏼 i can't wait to see what else jessica kim puts out into the world!
Profile Image for Nadine.
1,610 reviews44 followers
April 5, 2020
Another great book from the Korean-American community that will resonate with students everywhere who have the same familial pressures to succeed for the sake of their community and parents and where success is fairly narrowly defined as a few white collar careers.
At once poignant and humourous this is a great middle school read about satisfying both your own needs while remaining respectful to the needs of your family, finding compromises and maintaining relationships.
Thank you to libro.fm for the review copy.
Profile Image for adriana.
29 reviews11 followers
July 24, 2021
this would be perfect for Disney channel.
Profile Image for Katie Seymour.
32 reviews
April 7, 2021
This is an awesome middle-grade book that showcases a Korean main character who wants to be a stand-up comic. Quick read, and perfect for the 5th-7th grade age group!
Profile Image for Angela Germany.
181 reviews11 followers
May 26, 2021
I enjoyed this one so much. I highly recommend it. This book also gets the award for the most embarrassing moment I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of middle school books. No spoilers but when she is found out, I was so mortified that I couldn’t read it. I had to take a few hours to mentally prepare myself for her impending humiliation.
Profile Image for Kat.
112 reviews85 followers
June 1, 2020
Stand up, Yumi Chung! is a fun, uplifting, and heartwarming middle grade novel about one eleven-year-old girl’s journey to find her true self and overcome the fear of failure. It deserves nothing less than a standing ovation.

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Profile Image for Priscilla (Bookie Charm).
138 reviews155 followers
July 10, 2020
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! is a middle grade contemporary story that follows a shy, Korean- American girl who has big dreams of becoming a stand up comic. Just don't tell her parents because, as immigrants originally from Seoul, the last thing they want to spend their hard earned money on is a comedy summer camp. When Yumi gets mistaken for another camper, she decides to attend the classes in secret under another student's name.

This book is incredibly charming and I loved the familial relationships in it. Yumi's parents own and run a struggling Korean BBQ restaurant and all they want is for their daughters to succeed. While Yumi is attending comedy classes in secret, her older sister drops out of medical school. It's interesting that the siblings both divert from the plans that their parents have outlined for them. Many children face issues like this when they seek joy on their own terms. The trouble comes with trying to do this without feeling guilty for disrespecting your parents.

Diasporic children of immigrants know this dilemma well. It's a question of balance because you want you recognize the hardship and decisions made by your family but also want to pave your own path. It's difficult for folks, much less young children, to grapple with these specific pressures. Kim is able to articulate this so well in this book with some beautiful, vulnerable moments of understanding between parent and children.

What I didn't expect was to care so deeply about comedy as a crafted skill and creative artform. Yumi's musings about vulnerability and authenticity in that space are so endearing. I just love middle grade stories like this and highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Mid-Continent Public Library.
584 reviews184 followers
March 24, 2020

Yumi Chung has #shygirlproblems. She also loves to tell jokes using her hairbrush as a pretend microphone after a long day of school and helping out in her family's struggling Korean BBQ restaurant. Yumi's parents sign her up for a summer tutoring class to prepare her for a scholarship exam so she can continue to attend a tony private school for free. On her way to the library to study after class, Yumi stumbles upon a new comedy club in her neighborhood. Inside is favorite comedian and a summer camp for kids. When Yumi is mistaken for an absent student, she glimpses a future where she can enjoy her passion instead of living for her parents as older sister Yuri has been doing. Now she is living a double life -- Kay Nakamura at camp and Yumi Chung at home and school. What will happen when her worlds collide? What secret is Yuri keeping from her family? How will her family find keep their restaurant open? What do Yumi's struggles in class have to do with her pursuit of comedy? Perhaps getting caught in her web of lies will be the best thing that could have happened to Yumi. Give this to kids who loved Front Desk.
Reviewed by Darla from Red Bridge
Profile Image for vanessa.
981 reviews150 followers
March 24, 2020
4.5. Ah, this warmed my heart and made me smile. It was exactly what I needed & if you're looking for a comfort read, I totally recommend. Yumi Chung is a normal girl in L.A., the daughter of immigrant parents who run a restaurant and encourage Yumi to become a doctor or lawyer. Yumi, however, loves stand-up comedy and can't help herself when she stumbles into a comedy camp full of kids that share her interests and a vlogger/comedian Yumi loves as their teacher. This is a story of family (loved the family in this one!), community (uniting and helping small family businesses), and being true to yourself despite the plans your family may feel they must impose on you as a child. It was super cute on audiobook, too. Thanks to LibroFM for the advanced listener's copy.
Profile Image for The Half-blood Reader.
926 reviews52 followers
July 16, 2022
**Read for Jordan Ford's Summer Reading Challenge 2020. Prompt 1. A book set in a campground or at a summer camp**

A middle-grade story about a Korean girl who loves stand-up comedy, an interest that does not match her well-intended immigrant parents' expectations. They are working hard at their Korean BBQ restaurant to give their daughters a better future, so the pressure for success is high. These are not helicopter/tiger parents however, there are moments of tenderness and vulnerability between them, the struggle is real!

She accidentally finds herself doing comedy camp with her idol when she's mistaken by another student. The lies are building up, tho, the sandcastle is bound to fall. Stand up, Yumi, fear of failure is worse than failure itself!
Profile Image for Sylvia.
Author 5 books112 followers
March 28, 2020
All Yumi Chung wants is to be a stand-up comedian, but her immigrant parents who have sacrificed so much so that she can attend a private school don't understand her passion. In this funny and heartwarming story, Yumi accidentally stumbles into a comedy summer camp by impersonating another student, while juggling summer studies for the SSAT, helping her parents' struggling Korean BBQ restaurant, and making new friends. She manage her different identities while learning something true about herself. A great read.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
8 reviews
September 9, 2019
I LOVE this book! It’s been awhile since I’ve laughed out loud so many times during one book. It is super funny and very relatable. It will make you laugh, cry and you will find yourself super hungry for some Korean BBQ. Yumi’s internal dialogue is hilarious and although it is geared towards a much younger age group (🤫) I found myself really connecting with her. A book for all ages! I look forward to reading more from Jessica Kim.
Profile Image for FloeticFlo.
915 reviews40 followers
May 25, 2021
What a delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Yumi Chung. As an immigrant, I could definitely relate to a lot of Yumi's relationship/observations about her parents. I think a lot of immigrant kids will, too. I loved learning a bit about stand up comedy -- tips and how tos. It's a world I don't know much about at all. And finally, I loved the play on words in the title -- Yumi doing stand up and Yumi also standing up for herself. I just adored this one so much! What fun it was!
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