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Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir
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Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  729 ratings  ·  126 reviews
A powerful and timely teen graphic novel memoir—perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo—about a Korean-born, non-English-speaking girl who is abruptly transplanted from Seoul to Huntsville, Alabama, and struggles with extreme culture shock and isolation, until she discovers her passion for comic arts.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been Robin and her
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by Balzer + Bray
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Chelsea There is really no romance in this book. It focuses more on the personal growth of the main character. Hope you enjoy the book!
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A pretty decent YA memoir mostly about immigrant experience. It is compared to American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo, but Almost American Girl doesn't quite have the depth and creativity of those works. This memoir has a more expected and predictable story arc. However, the parts about Robin's childhood in South Korea and her relationship with her mom do shine.

As an immigrant myself, I am always bothered by how the issue of actually obtaining of the US citizenship is presented as something very
Layla (Between the Lines)
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Thank you to HCC Frenzy for sending me an ARC of Almost American Girl.

I rarely find myself relating to anything these days but this memoir really struck a chord in me. Robin paints a beautiful story, her story, of what it's like to live in a place that doesn't feel like home, and how wonderful it is to finally feel at home.

This ARC did not have fully coloured pages but the artwork was still very nice. I'm looking forward to picking up a finished copy soon.
Elizabeth A
The author was raised in Seoul, Korea and is suddenly transplanted to Huntsville, Alabama when she's about 14 years old. This graphic memoir explores the author's relationship with her mother, the move, and all the usual themes you'd expect in an immigrant memoir. This is targeted at a younger audience, and as an adult reader I wanted a deeper dive into the themes explored. I was more interested in her mother's story, and would absolutely read a book about that. The art is colorful and cute, and ...more
What a fantastic graphic memoir, and I cannot wait to revisit this in full color as the sample pages for that were excellent (it'll really enhance the already solid art!).

Growing up in Korea, Robin knew being raised by a single mother and not knowing her father made her family one that bucked Korean cultural norms. She'd had friends but always felt a bit like an outsider for not fitting in to those standards. So when Robin's mother moves them to Alabama and married a man she'd met, Robin finds
Richie Partington
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Richie’s Picks: ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL: AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR by Robin Ha, Harper/Balzer + Bray, January 2020, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-06-268510-0

“Their father’s hell did slowly go by”
-- Graham Nash (1970)

Or, in this case, her mother’s hell.

From the Acknowledgements page:

“So you can only imagine how thrilled Mom was when I finally told her I had been working on this memoir for over a year and found a publisher for it. After realizing there was no turning back on this project, Mom insisted that I at
I am gradually finding graphic novels that I enjoy: ones with more content than fighting and magical happenings. This book is technically not a graphical NOVEL, but I am going to put it in my group for such, because that is where I would look to find it again. It is an "illustrated memoir".

I am almost always fascinated with the experience of going from one culture to another, probably because when I was 16, I went off to Germany, trading the American Vietnam War era culture for the German one.
Read by Coco ✨
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hall-of-fame
Keywords: immigration, memoir, Korea, America, isolation, language barrier, friendship, culture.

Story: this memoir really encapsulated what it must feel like to be thrust into an environment where you don’t speak the language, and don’t really understand the culture. The author is really able to show the fear and frustration she felt, especially during her first year in America. I enjoyed watching Robin grow, gradually at first, and then swiftly. The use of Korean & English language in
Ruth Covington
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a homeschooled girl in a conservative religious family who moved 2000 miles from one place to another when I was 13, so this book, about a Korean girl moving from Korea to Alabama at age 14 with her mother to start life with a new family, hit close to home for me. I related strongly to the isolation, depression, grief, fear, anger, and confusion that Robin felt in leaving behind her old life and friends and trying to understand and fit in with other kids her age, in her difficult ...more
Angela Garcia
This book is about a newly arrived immigrant to the United States from Korea. Her journey reflects the experiences of young adult immigrants across the United States and all of the feelings that they experience.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
I found this very raw and compelling. Enjoyed how Ha wove commentary about Korean society especially regarding single mothers and how female behavior is policed via societal norms. Since I read this in black and white, I'm curious how reading it again in color will change the experience.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
this was a really excellent memoir about immigrating, finding new family, and becoming korean-american. the author does a great job of describing her own experience/pov as a teenager, and also her mom's experience/pov, which robin didn't really know about until after she had grown up. it brought a lot of depth to the story to see robin upset about decisions her mom had made, but then seeing what she didn't know at the time--things her mom had experienced that led her to make those kinds of ...more
Received advanced reader copy from publisher via Baker & Taylor book supplier.

For so long, it has been just Robin and her mom. Then mom takes Robin on a “vacation” to America. Except it wasn’t a vacation but a move. Robin finds herself uprooted from the familiar and plopped right in the middle of a very-Caucasian Alabama town. Surviving has so many meanings.

Not only was this a terrific memoir about immigration. It is a powerful glimpse into Korean culture and family, a look at trying to
Deborah Embury
I really appreciated getting a deeper looking into the experience of Ha; her struggles in adapting to her new home, sadness over losing what was familiar, and her focus on the particular hardships Korean women have had to deal with were especially eye-opening. This memoir made me feel a whole lotta emotions, and I'd love to read more of Ha's work.
Karen Parisot
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Born in Korea to a single mother, Chuna Ha aged fourteen is suddenly wrenched from her happy existence in Seoul. Her mother has decided without any warning to uproot both their lives and start over in America. They land in Huntsville, Alabama where Chuna finds she has a new step family, a new school, and absolutely no friends. She picks a new name for herself, Robin, and struggles to fit in. Her command of the English language is poor, she’s bullied at school, and her step family is not too ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story is so heart-wrenching, and the drawings so vividly bring the pain, discomfort, and then, comfort, to life. Really a powerful graphic memoir.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks the B&T for sending me an ARC.

Excellent graphic novel memoir. I am loving the illustrated memoirs that have been published recently, and this one is one of the best. This is the perfect story for teens who feel out of place either in school or at home. Robin thinks she is just vacationing in American and will return to the home and friends she loves in Korea soon. But instead her mom informs her that they're going to stay in Alabama. Robin must try to navigate a new home life, new
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me feel things. So good. Thank you Robin Ha.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Robin Ha’s graphic novel memoir about moving to America from Korea & how art helped her communicate & find her voice in a new country. ...more
Melissa ~ Missy (FrayedBooks)
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-release
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

read this and more reviews on Frayed Books:

Almost American Girl is an illustrated memoir of Robin Ha’s life of moving from Seoul, South Korea to America as a teenager. Chuna (or Robin, as she chooses for her American name) lives with her single mother who unexpectedly moves the pair of them to America. Robin didn’t know that when they were going on “vacation” they were actually moving to a new country. Robin’s mother wants to give Robin the best life
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
I related to this way more than I thought I would. Great read!
Maggie Carr
Expected Publication 1/28/2020 | Grades 8+

I received Almost American Girl as an ARC from Baker & Taylor in exchange for an honest review.

I was honestly shocked about what is expected of the people of Korea; the treatment of single mothers, fatherless kids, gender expectations, and teacher bribery in Korean culture is disheartening.

My ARC isn't in color, but I know it will only make this comic better. I can see the shelf awareness for titles like these and how the value of seeing what life is
Cozy Ink
Kind of young for me. I think it would be better marketed as middle grade rather then teen. The art was nice, and I preferred black and white to color. The narrative sometimes felt like she was glossing over stuff, but it was ultimately a fun but slightly unmemorable read.
Note: I read the advance reader copy, with only a few color pages.

A wonderfully illustrated, rich memoir about the details of Ha's childhood, particularly moving to and slowly adjusting to the US. Chuna/Robin depicts her struggles in a relatable yet unique way, from being the child of a single mother in strict, proper Korea to dealing with a new stepfamily and struggling to learn English in Alabama. Differences within Korean-American immigrant and second-generation communities are portrayed. The
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful graphic novel. A true story about a girl who looses her identity when she leaves Korea and comes to live in America. How she struggles to find where she belongs and the struggles she faces navigating middle school and high school in a new country.

I found the illustrations to be wonderful. Lots of details and the colouring is wonderful.

The story line flowed well and the flashback scenes were great. I just wish there was more. The story felt rushed at times and I would have liked
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got an ARC of this for work (hopefully I'm allowed to say that lol) and I really loved it! The strength of the mother daughter relationship resonated a lot for me. I appreciate how the difficulties memoir writing presents for Asian Americans (since I worry about it a lot so the real heartfelt, warts and all nature of this book was especially moving. I also felt it was unique in that it's set mostly in the south during the mid 90s. Great read for any YA audience.
Blue Cypress Books
Excellent middle reader dealing with otherness, immigration, and friendship. Found myself rooting for Chuna's (Robin's) mother, who had such strength and resiliency.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to HarperCollins & Baker & Taylor's ARC program for the ARC. This was lovely. Will recommend to 7th grade & up. (there is some minor language in a bullying incident)
Tina Christopher
Robin Ha does an amazing job sharing her story through words and pictures. You are with her every step of the way and you feel every bit of pain, rejection, hope, and happiness as they happen. You experience the challenges and pain as well as the delight of coming from two worlds. I enjoyed her style of illustrations.
Raven Black
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely memoir of becoming not just Korean and not just American but both and knowing who you are.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not usually a memoir person, but I had this recommended to me on Instagram of all places (via a moving ad, kind of like it was a TV show?) and it intrigued me, so I picked it up at my local library.

I really enjoyed this story. Chuna lives in South Korea with her mom, a single-parent in the 1990s. Her mom meets a man in Alabama, and suddenly, Chuna finds herself moving across the globe at 14 without speaking the language or being able to say goodbye to her friends or her old life. In the US,
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Mock Printz 2021: February Selection: Almost American Girl by Robin Ha 6 48 Feb 10, 2020 04:56PM  

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Born in Seoul, Korea, Robin Ha grew up reading and drawing comics. At fourteen she moved to the United States. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration, she moved to New York City and started a career in the fashion industry. Her work has been published in independent comics anthologies including Secret Identities and The Strumpet, as well as in the pages ...more