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Necessary Roughness

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  287 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Chan Kim has never felt like an outsider in his life. That is, not until his family moves from L.A. to a tiny town in Minnesota--Land of 10,000 Lakes--and probably 10,000 hicks,too. The Kims are the only Asian family in town, and when Chan and his twin sister, Young, attend high school, it's a blond-haired, blue-eyed whiteout.Chan throws himself into the only game in town- ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 3rd 1998 by HarperTeen (first published February 28th 1996)
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Andrew Sommers They just create a background for the book and make it look more "real."…moreThey just create a background for the book and make it look more "real."(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Laura I.
3.5 stars.

Chan is so mad when his Abogee (“father” in Korean) announces that his family will be moving from LA, where he has tons of friends and is a star on the soccer team, to a super white town in Minnesota. There’s only one game in town there: football. And it just so happens that the team is short a kicker. How different could it be?

It turns out that Chan is actually great at football, and it’s a great way to work off some of his anger at his family and their expectations, the blatant rac
Andrew Sommers
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults
Recommended to Andrew by: Self- chosen
I liked this book a lot. Well, I loved this book because of the fact that it's about football and my favorite books are usually about, well you guessed it, football. I highly recommend you read it because it covers a broad range of topics such as: Korean; Death; Action; Adventure and Perseverance. Another reason I like this book is the fact that something really bad happened in the Book regarding Chan, the main character. The part I really liked about it was the fact that he persevered through t ...more
Lewis W
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think that Necessary Roughness is a really good book because it has lots of action in it that makes it interesting the whole book. I rated this 5 stars because the book keeps on get more interesting every chapter and that it leaves me at a cliff hanger after every chapter. The author Marie G.Lee did a good job of put good dialog in the book. Chan is a person who never stops trying and is someone who kind to other. This book was easy to read but it was still a challenge to put all of it togethe ...more
Football, football, football, football. There is a lot of football in this book. Just...a lot. So there's that.

I will say, though, that Lee gets the shock of moving from a multi-ethnic big city to a small lily-white town in the Midwest pretty right. I agree with other reviewers that the ending was rushed, but I did like the family stuff and most especially all of the stuff with O-Ma and Mrs. K. Those ladies are the best.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Fulner
The story of a city boy having to move to a small midwestern town. Life is hard and different, and uniting, and loving, and scary, adn the Korean uncle is a dick
Jonathan Rivera
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee, Chan, an Asian-American teenager moves from Los Angeles to a small town in Minnesota with his family. Chan is very displeased with this decision. I LA he was a star soccer player for his team. He had a girlfriend (not technically because of parents disapproval) and he was happy where he lived. But when he moved, he happened to be the only Asian at the school, much less the whole town. Chan has to suffer through racism and get constantly bullied. Chan decid ...more
Jake Fulton
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
In the book Necessary Roughness by Mary G. Lee, Chan Jung Kim overcomes the difficulties of moving across the country. When he lived in Los Angeles Chan always fit in, but now he was in Iron River, a small town in Minnesota. Everything was different. Instead of soccer, everybody played football, and on top of it all, having a bad relationship with his dad just made everything worse.

Both Chan and his twin sister, Young, are having a hard time getting used to their new school. Nobody had ever se
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee is an inspiring book about the life of a young teenage boy named Chan. Chan's family has to move from Los Angeles to an unfamiliar town called Iron River. He and his younger twin sister, Young struggle to get along and fit in with vicious students in their new high school. Chan decideds to make a choice that lets him earn respect from a couple of students, but lose the respect from his disapproving father. Somehow, Chan manages to stay strong even through dif ...more
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who move/transfers a lot.
Shelves: advisory-books
I am currently reading Necessary Roughness by Marie G. Lee and it this piece is very powerful. You could spend only 10 or 20 minutes on it and you could fall in love with it. It shows how a Korean-American boy named, Chan Kim, who moves a lot and puts no effort in meeting new friends in every other school. However, in RiverWood High School, Chan Kim is accepted and finally finds something he really enjoys: football. Although many of this team mates doesn't want him on the team, he tries even har ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: yareads
The topic of this book intrigued me -a Korean teen transplanted from California to the Mid-West- because I'm curious about those Asian families that own shops in largely white areas of the country. I always wonder, how do they make it work with all the forces of racism, classism, and cold weather to get in their way? How CAN they make it work? And yet, they seem to.

Chan is funny, resilient, and a very typical American teen. I enjoyed spending time with him and watching his friendships blossom. A
Rosa Ruiz
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Passion ,intense in a hurry we know what we want.Mastery not ending waiting to find out none words spoken angry issues to be resolved. Many people hurt and cant take the pain yelling at the problem no feelings can be left out. Moving to other countries cant resolve the situation that are happening. Leaving loved ones behind the cry and laughter have to put it in the past not remembering what had happen. So much memories that been made the friendship the games the time hanged out in school have t ...more
Xiao Qiang
Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who feel out of place.
A good story about how a Korean family has to adapt to living in a white neighborhood in Minnesota. The protagonist, Chang, has to deal with giving up soccer and trying to assimilate into football, a sport his critical father has said is stupid. In his way is a bunch of high school jocks who feel his presence on the football team is unworthy. Through this turomil, Chang meets ALL-PRO, who eventually falls in love with Chang's twin sister, Young. The two becomes great friends as ALL-PRO is turnin ...more
Luis Diaz
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that likes sports books
English II
Luis Diaz
John Rossi

Lee, Marie. Necessary Roughness.LA,Harpercollins, 1996

Dear Lee,
thank you for writing me asking me about this book. I thought that this book is great. I think that the only thing wrong with this book was that the first fivety pages really didn't have a point. It was a really a flash back and it didn't discribe why it was doing it. Other then that this is a really really great book. It really did go into great detail. This book expressed how they felt
Nov 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed the catcher in the rye
This novel by Marie G. Lee about a boy named Chan Kim who struggles with adjusting to the all-white suburban neighborhood his family just moved to. He has a younger sister who excels academically, and parents who focus' on their education and physical well-being but neglects their emotional well-being.
Chan has a really difficult time fitting into their new town, especially since his family is the only Asian one in the entire town, his school doesn't even has soccer--a sport he enjoyed playing ba
Willie Wilson
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
1.I have read so far that the main chareter chan plays soccer.Then him and his family moves to minnesota.So then he wants to play soccer but there is no soccer team.So a football team is in need of a kicker.So he ask his mom(o`ma)can he try out for the team but him ,his mom, and sister are all on 3 differnt levels.His mom says no.His sister say he will die out there because he is small.But instead he tries out so his mom doesnt care no more.So he makes the team lost first 3 games won the rest.T ...more
Chuk Ho Wu
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Chan, the main character of this story is a Korean kid and is currently living in L.A. He was then moved into Minnesota and thanks to his uncle; Chan’s family lost a bunch of money just arriving there without a home to stay in. This book title Necessary Roughness caught my attention and overall, it was a great book. There were things that I still didn’t like about the book like how the action during the football games weren’t that intense and how the plot of the story about Chan’s like moving to ...more
Gage Mcnally
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is about an Asian family who moves from California to Minnesota.Chan Kim is an alien at his high school to the other students.He and his family stand out in the community and Kim has to find a way to fit in.Kim could not relate to the other kids and they looked at him as an outsider.This story reminds me a lot of someone who in the worst circumstances finds something that brings them through a tough time.Kim shows that he is not going to "curl up into a ball" and give up and chooses to figh ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a nice, steady read for me, and I learned plenty of new vocabulary too. I feel sympathetic for Chan, the oldest child of the Kim family, who has to move from Los Angeles, the capital of cultural diversity, to Minnesota, where they are the only family that isn't white. Marie Lee did a great job portraying a teenage Korean boy who has not only to face the regular problems of teenage years, but also the problems of trying to fit in. The bullying experiences Chan faces are so real I start t ...more
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because I love to play football and I can connect to the character. This story is about a kid named Chan Kim. He lived in Los Angeles and he was very popular. he then moved to a tiny town in Minnesota and he joined the football team. Most of the people on the team does not like him. His best friend is Mikko. Chan gets jumped in the locker room one day by his teammates. the people that jumped him got kicked off the team and Chan and Mikko had to carry the team to the ch ...more
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it
this was one of those books that i remembered reading when i was in middle school, i bought it in high school, but i haven't read it since that first time. in reading it through again, some of the things were simplistic and some situations i felt were never fully delved into...however for the audience it was intended for (middle to high schoolers), it was actually a quite heavy book. it deals with moving to a new town, racial prejudices, holding to your family traditions, death in the family, et ...more
This was a nice, fast read about a Korean family that moved from LA to Minnesota. The main character is a high school junior Chan who has a twin sister Young. Chan is the trouble child that does not live up to his father's expectations. His sister is a straight A student who plays the flue.

The book contains the struggles of starting in a new high school, decisions to join the football team, or the band (in young's case), finding new friends and a new life. I think that (view spoiler)
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any asian who grew up in a white town
Shelves: youngadult
i read this book in middle schoolish and i'll never forget the elation i felt as i realized that there was at least one YA novel that was gonna speak to me. korean family uprooted from urban setting (in the novel it's LA and in my life it was phoenix) and dropped down into a superwhite rural town (MN in the book and WA in my life). the larger plot details don't even really matter because that was all i needed. i mean, i know it ends kinda tragically but so what! i had the closest thing to a mirr ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a novel about an Asian American teenager named Chan trying to fit in in a typical American high school while dealing with his traditional family. Chan's father wants him to do nothing but study and work at the family store, but Chan has other ideas. Chan wants to play football, because he sees that as a way to fit in at school. He also wants to date girls, even though his father strictly forbids it.

This book is appropriate for middle school students and would be a good independent readi
Drew Sturgeon
"Necessary Roughness" documents the life of Chan Jung Kim, whose family moves from L.A. to a small town in Minnesota. Chan feels like an outsider here because he is the only Asian-American. He's desperate to fit in, so Chan decides to play football, the only popular sport at his new school. Despite his efforts to throw himself into this new game, Chan still feels like an outsider. This book could be used in the classroom to discuss the desire to fit in to a new environment. All students will con ...more
Subash Rai
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This book about Chan life what was happen in his life and how it's affect etc.Chan family was move from Korea to LA and LA to Minnesota. He have 5 member in his home,his mom, dad,Tow twin sister. Chan he don't really spoke English and he's don't have friend. Chan start playing game in school and he made friend but he can't play football because he never play before. they practice more and they win the game but they still have to play final. Chan sister was die and he desire to not play game. coa ...more
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Summary: Chan, a sixteen-year-old Korean America, moves to a small town where he must deal with racism on his football team and a tension filled relationship with his father.

Personal Response: I am not a football fan and forced myself to begin reading this book. However, this book grabbed me from the start. It deals with many issues: racism, family relationships, friends, religion and sportsmanship. There are a few unexpected surprises, the biggest being the death of a key character.
Mr. Sell
May 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Chan and Young are two Korean-American teenagers who until recently spent their lives in California, but they are suddenly asked to move to an all white rural community in Minnesota. The struggles they face in school and at home drastically increase the stress of teenage life. I recommend this book for anyone who has moved--especially a move to a place completely different from your original home.
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Boys, teens.
I love this one! I teach it to my seniors and they gobble it up. The only time I've been happy to hear a student curse was when he was in the hall raving about this book. It is the story of a Koren teen moving from diverse Los Angeles to "white and blond" Iron River, Minnesota. Chan takes up football despite his strict father's preaching that the brain is the only important muscle, and some "necessary roughness" ensues. ...more
May 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Chan Kim has never felt like an outsider in his whole life, but not until his family moves from L.A. to a tiny town in Minnesota. Chan Kim helped himself into the only game in town. That game was football and the necessary roughness required to make a playing. On the field it means justifiable violence.

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Marie G. Lee is a second-generation Korean American who was born and raised in Minnesota. Marie was born on April 25, 1964 in Hibbing, Minnesota. She is the daughter of William and Grace Lee, who immigrated to the United States in 1953.

As a Founder of the Asian American Writers Workshop, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, and several anthologies. Her books include Fin

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