Thomas's Reviews > A Step from Heaven

A Step from Heaven by An Na
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really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, realistic-fiction

At four years old, Young Ju does not understand that Mi Gook means America, not heaven. When her parents tell her will move to the magical Mi Gook with them, she assumes that they are going to a special, sacred place. She does not understand the problems sure to arise: struggling to learn a new language, financial problems her family face, and her father's escalating anger. As Young Ju takes time to transition into a life at America, she develops an unexpected, unique voice - one that possesses the power to change her family's life, and her own.

A Step from Heaven had beautiful, compelling moments that almost brought me to tears. This book tells more than the story of a girl moving to a new country, but it also reveals a somber, distressed side of a family barely managing to stay afloat in the country across a sea. While the writing style surely will not please every one, Na's consistent poetic prose fits perfectly with Young Ju.

Young Ju's character developed gorgeously throughout the novel. The writing amazed me because as Young matured, so did the prose - the sentence structure became more complex, and the vocabulary enlarged. One of the most astounding aspects of this book was the sheer span of time it covered: Young starts out as a four-year-old, and by the end of the book she is a young adult.

My heart broke twice while I read this, and by the end I wanted to give it five stars. However, some more details could have been included and the side characters remained rather flat. Still, A Step from Heaven has a permanent place in my heart.
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Reading Progress

June 19, 2010 – Shelved
June 23, 2010 – Started Reading
June 24, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Great review! This sounds like something I'd enjoy.

Thomas Thanks :) I highly recommend it.

message 3: by Anquan (new)

Anquan Le I can really relate to this book. Maybe I will read it over the summer.

Thomas Hm, I see. I still have a copy from the library if you want to read it soon.

Thomas Fixed, thank you for pointing that out.

Arianna It is good

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