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Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  36 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
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: 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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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Layla (Between the Lines)
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.
Kelly
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
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Mariko
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 myself...lol) 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.
Raven
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
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Beth
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
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Raven Black
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely memoir of becoming not just Korean and not just American but both and knowing who you are.
Emily
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)
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.
Megan
4.5 Stars
I related to this way more than I thought I would. Great read!
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.
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.
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
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Melissa ~ Missy (FrayedBooks)
Almost American Girl by Robin Ha

read this and more reviews on Frayed Books:
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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
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Sam
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!

What a fantastic and heartfelt memoir! I loved Robin Ha's Cook Korean! earlier this year, but I also thought it was such a novel concept -- a graphic novel cook book. Almost American Girl, however, looks at Ha's immigration to America, her feelings of displacement and loneliness, and how she and her mother attempt to find their place in a foreign land.

Ha's story begins in Seoul, South Korea, when she and her mother decide that life would be
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Jennifer
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
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Amy (novelteahappyme)
As a middle-grade teacher, I’m always on the lookout for compelling graphic novels, especially those offering diverse representation. Robin Ha’s “Almost American Girl” came highly recommended as a title to watch for in 2020.

An illustrated memoir about immigration, belonging, and how art can save a life, this graphic novel aimed at Grade 8 and above (although I think Grade 6 & 7 readers would easily be engaged and interested) follows main character Robin as she unexpectedly becomes a
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Kinsey
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
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Mary
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, ya
Robin Ha’s graphic memoir Almost American Girl is an intimate look at a whirlwind mother-daughter relationship. Chuna’s self-sufficient single mother unexpectedly relocates the family from Seoul to Alabama to start a new life, unbeknownst to her daughter upon their arrival. Devastated to have left in everything she loves in Korea, and not speaking a word of English, Chuna—now Robin—struggles to fit into her new American world. I felt like I was holding her heart in my hands as I watched Robin ...more
Andrew Wagman
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of graphic novels
Recommended to Andrew by: College professor
I received an advanced reader copy from one of my professors, and I loved this graphic novel. It was a real page turner. I received it yesterday (1/8/20) and finished it today (1/9/20). I'm not familiar with Robin Ha's prior work, but her memoir here is extremely compelling, telling the story of her and her mothers trials and tribulations when immigrating to America from Seoul. There were a few printing errors, but that is to be expected from an advanced copy. I would recommend this to any fan ...more
Ellen Lindner
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough good things about this story of Chuna, a young Korean girl who lives through a very unusual kind of emigration to the USA. It encompasses so many things: it's about the immigrant experience, it's a story of surviving being bullied, it's a story about salvation through art and friends. The art makes each character truly come to life, and the dialogue gives each person real personality. An excellent choice for any kid (or adult) who likes graphic memoirs, or prose memoirs like ...more
Kristina Aziz
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and had the pleasure of reading it as a mother. More than that, of reading it as a single working mother and I can only hope that one day my daughter and I have a relationship as Rock solid as this. The story was great and the artwork wonderful, but this book went deeper than most slice of life graphic novels I've read, and struck several chords as I followed Robin through her memories.
Ruth
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Read an ARC) Good art and an excellent story.

Themes: Mother-daughter relationships, Korean cultural views, immigration, learning English, isolation and loneliness (as an immigrant), comics/manga.

(My only issue with the formatting is something I hope will be fixed before publication - The glossary terms should be footnotes. It seems that some of them are also footnotes, but for the flow of the story, footnotes are better. Keeping the glossary for additional reference isn't a bad idea)
Jennifer
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ha's graphic novel memoir depicts her life growing up in Korea and moving to America, where she didn't know the language and had a hard time trying to fit in. Readers who enjoy graphic novel memoirs will probably like this one too. It's a very personal story, but also has a universal feel to it. Review from galley.
Linzhe Wang
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book with a great message about knowing who you are. I felt like I could really relate to her and the struggle of identity when living in America doesn't always align with your nationality. It wasn't a particular deep book, but it was short and I think I would have liked it a lot more when I was growing into my identity.
Carla A
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this title. I think the main issue I have is that for me the black and white version (if it could be called that the final will be in color - I think) is better than the color. I read this as an ARC and there are some full color sample pages.
Joey
A beautiful memoir of a young Korean girl in America
Michelle
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this memoir!
Jeffrey
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
Tana
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done graphic memoir. Raig pick
Samantha
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poc-author-2019
A beautiful and moving graphic memoir for young adult and adullt readers. I hope this is read far and wide when it publishes next month.
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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