by Helen Kim

Summary

School Library Journal:

Gr 7 Up- Because her father wished for a son, 10-year-old Junehee has a boy’s name. Her father, a remote, domineering man, is the catalyst for much of the sorrow in this compelling novel set in 1969 Seoul, South Korea. That year, during the changma, or rainy season, an orphan boy comes to live with Junehee’s family, offering the girl a special friendship before he finally leaves to live with a family who wants him. The tenuous, then strong friendship between the two children is a counterpoint to the brutal relationship between Junehee’s parents. Her mother, a contemporary woman caught in the restrictive values of a traditional family, struggles to survive. The woman’s fight to hold herself and her family together are distilled through the eyes of a sensitive child. Vivid imagery captures each thoughtfully rendered character: spoiled Auntie, who wears red lipstick and shoes though they are thought immodest; Mother, who cuts her hair in a daring act of defiance; the unfaithful father, who admits, finally, that he has not been a good person. The narrative moves forward in appropriately formal diction and through the use of dialogue. The setting is well realized: the rainy season is so present that the pages are nearly damp. The themes of the value of friendship and love shine through. Despite the age of the protagonist, the book’s thematic sophistication make it an outstanding choice for thoughtful YAs.-Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA

Awards:

  • School Library Journal Best Books: 1996

Topics

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Family, Friendship, Teen, Women's Rights