Asian Pacific Heritage Month Spotlight: Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun

This month is American Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It is a month that means something to me even though I struggle with it on one level.

Growing up, I didn’t recognize that I was a part of the Asian community. My grandma was grandma, but I didn’t really know my Filipina background. Even now, I’m sure I am messing up how to say it. Suffice to say, I am a quarter Filipino but I have very little knowledge about it.

I remember the day I learned I was considered Asian Pacific. I had glanced at the attendance list in my fifth grade and was confused about that one child on the Asian Pacific Islander listing. I was curious about it and asked mom, because moms know everything. It was then I learned I was that number.

The thing is, I am still unsure about my culture. Or at least most of the history of my family and the culture through that. As a child, there wasn’t much literary representation to base me in that.

Enter Pippa Park Raises Her Game. This book is a middle grade book that is not only relevant for middle schoolers, but features a Korean American lead. On top of that, it is a Great Expectations retelling (one of my favorite novels from Dickens, just saying). Right now, my copy is on its way to my house.

Do I plan on reading it this month? You bet

Do I plan on having Bug read it? Absolutely.

“Pippa is a magnetic heroine, funny and good-hearted.”―Booklist

Readers will cheer on Korean American Pippa Park in this compelling middle grade reimagining of Great Expectations. Navigating friendships and cyberbullying at a new school, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is.

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself by following the “Rules of Cool.”

At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, an unrequited crush, and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and her family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened.

As things begin to spiral out of control, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.

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