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Everything Asian

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  66 reviews
David King was twelve years old when he moved from Korea to New Jersey. In loosely-connected tales, we follow David as he adapts to his new country.

You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Average rating 3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  334 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Bert Edens
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It really delves into the stories of the Kim family, how they struggled to survive in America, and as important, how they managed to survive with each other. The father goes to America in advance of the rest of the family, and once they join him, all members struggle to adapt to the adjusting roles.

Highly recommended for anyone who loves to read about Korean culture or just a good in-depth looking into families and emotions and day-to-day struggles.
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, reviewed
The novel begins with the main narrator and his sister fifteen to twenty years beyond the bulk of the story. The narrator discovers that the shopping center that had previously housed the family store has been demolished. The first chapter begins the story itself, about a family recently reunited in the United States after five years apart.

Instead of focusing solely on the story of the family, the narrator switches each chapter to someone else involved in the family's life in some fashion. This
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Inside the walls of a down-at-the-heels mall somewhere in Jersey, Dae Joon and In Sook Kim learn to become David and Susan, Americans reared in their father's entrepreneureal dreams. Each morning, they clean "Everything Asian" (a shop full of kimonos, chopsticks, Buddhas, furniture, purses, and assorted other Asian things) and spend the day with customers and other shop owners.

There is Russian immigrant who sells high end stereos and, at one point, decides to investigate a crime by having his p
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story!! Young David Kim immigrates to the United States from Korea in the 1980’s with his mother and sister. Their father has already been in America for the past five years trying to build a business and getting some money behind him before his family re-joined him. He owns a store in New Jersey called “East Meets West” in the Peddlerstown Mall and sells various items such as: kimonos, candles, vases, dragons and other miscellaneous items.

The chapters alternate between stories tol
Shin Yu
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Written from a variety of different perspectives - Everything Asian revolves around an immigrant Korean family that sets up shop in a suburban American strip mall. The book chronicles their efforts to adjust to a new life and culture by getting to know their neighbors, attending ESL classes, and everyday interactions in their retail store. The book begins with narration from David Kim - a 12-year-old boy, as he leaves behind Korea with his mother and sister to join his father, who's been working ...more
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it
An immigrant story, Woo switches narrators with each chapter. The story covers the first year that a Korean man's family (wife, teen girl and teen boy) join him in the States after being separated for five years. There are several conflicts -- most of them expected after a family has been apart for so long. I liked all the characters and enjoyed stepping inside their shoes for a chapter. It was not a particularly happy story, but it's written in a light tone. It was great pool-side reading.
May 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I was expecting a more humorous novel, but this story--while it did have humorous moments--was actually quite poignant and even a little melancholy. Mr.Woo uses multiple voices to depict not only the Kims' struggles but also moments in the lives of the other Peddlers Town merchants to paint an affecting portrait of what it is to be part of a family, in all its messy glory.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Kim just migrated to America from South Korea with his mother and sister. He finally met his father who he only remember him as a picture. The Kim family owe a store in a strip mall where their are a cast of weird owners. The Kim family has to adjusted to their new life, while other lives intersect theirs.

I had to expectation coming to this book as I heard not much from it. All I know coming in is that its an immgrigant story, which is something I can relate to. And yes it is t
Lucas Johnson
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Everything Asian by Sung J. Woo is the heartwarming story of a young Korean Immigrant overcoming the challenges of living in New York in the predominantly white 80's. The Kim family, Sue, David, and their mother move to the state of New York to reunite with Harry, David and Sue’s father. Harry left his family for 5 years to start a newer more prosperous life for his family by opening a Korean goods store. The story then swaps perspective from family friends to store employees, at times the trans ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a cute, funny, lighthearted story told from the perspective of a 12 year old Korean boy, David Kim, who just moved to America, with his mother and teen age (and very moody) sister, to join their father. Their father had established a life in America a few years earlier and the transition for young David and his family tends to be difficult and awkward. Everything Asian covers the first year of their new lives together. The book cover says it is a Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Awa ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: junk
I was curious about the immigration story. And Woo seems to have been right in the middle between three moves, four if you are counting him. But the writing is so 19th century I started turning pages in an attempt to get what happened without being confronted with too much unpleasant poetry:

> [...] the first phase of Noona’s loneliness, soon to swell heavy and round like a full moon.

> Noona put the tape recorder to work immediately. She spoke intensely, her long bla
Mary Ellen
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
It started off very promising. Interesting characters throughout. but as you went on it got to be, what's the plot/resolution? It ended with no tying up of anything.
Ian Folger
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The book Everything Asian, is about a boy named David that just moved from Korea to America to live with his father, who he has not seen in five years and the book goes through and tells us of David’s new life in America while working at his father’s Gift shop.

David along with his mother and older sister has finally moved to america where their father has lived for 5 years to set up a shop called East meets West and try to make a good enough living so the rest of his family can
Feb 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Terrible debut. 12 year old David has arrived with his mother and older sister in New Jersey. It has been five years since they've seen their father and husband, and now they are to make a new life in New Jersey running a small shop in a strip mall.
I found the book horribly disjointed. It keeps switching viewpoints and I have never been a fan of that style. Done well with a large cast of characters can make a great story, but here it just did not work for me. The book actually opens
Jan 22, 2011 marked it as to-read
(newly arrived in the States from Korea in the early 1980s, Dae Joon, 12, does not know his dad and does not want to. Father left five years ago to make a home for his family in New Jersey. Now Dae Joon (“David” in America) and his older sister must adapt to a new world, working after school in Dad’s Asian gift store in the shabby Peddlers Town mall, attending ESL classes with their embarrassing parents, and discovering secrets and betrayal. Told in sharp, immediate vignettes, mostly from the bo ...more
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewers, early
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ACCULTURATION is the cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture. Having studied Cultural Anthropology in my college career, I remember that full acculturation is often easier for younger children than adults and that learning the language is paramount to this process. Even so, definitions and lectures cannot take the place of actual experiences. While I do not know David Kim, ...more
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A very graceful, lively, and generous-spirited novel about a family from Korea that runs a shop in a Jersey Shore mall called Peddler's Village. ("Everything Asian" is a nod to the son's secret name for their Asian-goods store.) The main narrator is 12-year-old David, who has just arrived from Seoul with his mother and sister to meet his father, who has already been in the States for several years. There's both comedy and deep sadness in the difficulties the family has in reuniting--the natural ...more
Kak Kang
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Everything Asian is a story about a David and his family going to the U.S. to reunite with his father that he hasn't seen for 5 years, and who has a shop. When david, and his family come to america they are greeted by their father, and are taken to there new home. They get settled Into the new home, and almost Immediately are put to work at their dad’s store East Meets West. David doesn’t seem to enjoy working there, and complains about It a lot. While his sister Susan on the other hand seems li ...more
Paul Clayton
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished Everything Asian today and now I’m a little blue. (I really enjoyed this story! What am I going to read tonight?) Immersing myself in this character-driven novel day after day, I felt like a house guest of this young immigrant family making their way in New Jersey. Theirs is a universal story, and their language barriers and cultural differences are like a spice added to a wholesome meal, eaten alone in the back of a darkened restaurant. The characters are complex and very human (I wa ...more
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jeanne by: Booklist
David Kim is twelve years old and has just come to the United States with his mother and sister. His father has been here for five years, establishing himself and enabling his family to finally join him.

The family owns a store in New Jersey, East Meets West. Located in a mall called Peddler Town, the Kim's store is the center of their lives. Stories of the other merchants and their families pepper David's narrative.

The point of view shifts from David to other characters, making for
Sung J. Woo's debut novel, Everything Asian, chronicles a year in the life of David (aka Dae Joon) Kim, a teenage emigre from Korea, and his family in small-town New Jersey. Set in the early 1980's, chapters that focus on David's struggles with the cultural and generational divide in his new home alternate with vignettes from the viewpoint of other characters, such as his sister Susan (In Sook), his parents and fellow shop owners in their central N.J. stripmall. The characters and situations were very ...more
Amy Beck
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-novels
This slice of life portrait of a Korean family in upheaval is told through the eyes of a 12-year-old son who, along with his mother and noona, join their father in the US after 5 years apart. The dad owns a shop in a rundown New Jersey strip mall.

These feel like vignettes told honestly--without sugarcoating--as the family tries to negotiate and navigate cultural differences and familial dysfunction. This book manages to be both humorous and melancholy at the same time. A quick read that is very
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book for YA and adults is aptly named, because while it does tell the story of a store that sells everything Asian, it also subtly reveals that everything is Asian as it is common to the human experience of fitting in. Part of Woo's brilliance is his ability to write both for and from the insider-outsider perspectives while commenting on that very dichotomy. Language that seems clunky and contrived actually portrays characters-Korean, Western, and others-as bound by their search for love an ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-fic, read-in-2009
As a general rule, I'm leery of reading books about Korean immigrants, but the author does a good job of telling the story of this individual family, rather than getting stuck in the rut of trying to define the 1st/2nd-generation Asian American identity. While the book starts out telling the story of the Kim family, it branches out into a collection of vignettes about the other characters in the novel. Somewhat depressing, and it's not really a story with a nicely wrapped up ending, but written ...more
I had to read this book as a requirement for my AP Language class. The beginning was kind of dry, but it slowly got better. I enjoyed the random silly events that happened throughout the story. I liked how Woo kept changing perspectives to keep it entertaining.

However, I just liked the book. I didn't love it. It was okay, but I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for a brilliant read.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a good read. The story kept me engaged and the characters were interesting. Essentially this is a story of a Korean family's adjustment to their US immigration, primarily narrated through the son's eyes. I likes that the story was linear, but told from different perspectives and characters (especially characters that are secondary to the main family of characters). There were no huge plot surprises, but the story was interesting.
The focus of this 1980s era story is David Kim's Korean immigrant family who own an Asian imports store in Pedders Town, a downscale mall in New Jersey. In short stories, readers follow the family's ups and downs as well as those of their neighboring store owners. Every character has a compelling background and personality that draw you into the life of this mall community. Poignant, bitter, funny and hopeful.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Incredibly disappointing. Little to no real development in this one - and though this is theoretically a coming of age novel, there's no real "coming of age" to speak of, at least from my reading of it. Being half Korean, I really wanted to relate to the ethnic discussions the book was trying to have, but I ultimately felt let down by how stilted and trite these discussions became. A total missed opportunity of a book.
Julie Bowerman
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Not the page turner that I'd hoped, but an interesting perspective on the immigrant experience. The novel follows 12-year-old David's first year in the US as he, his mother and his sister finally join his father in New Jersey after a five year separation. They operate a shop in Peddler's Village, a low budget mall. The other shop owners' quirks and conflicts are revealed as the year unfolds with triumphs and tragedies. More of the latter than the former.
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book-- the multiple narrators were interesting and believable, their voices rang true. While the provocative title suggests a broad look at "everything Asian," the author tells a very particular story of a young boy's family's transition to life in small-town, 1980s America. There's perfect irony there.

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Sung J. Woo's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, PEN/Guernica, and KoreAm Journal. He has written two novels, Love Love (2015) and Everything Asian (2009), which won the 2010 Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Literature Award (Youth category). In 2014, Everything Asian was chosen for Coming Together in Skokie and Niles Township. A graduate of Cornell Universi ...more