Almost American Girl

Almost American Girl

An Illustrated Memoir

eBook - 2020
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"A powerful and moving teen graphic novel memoir about immigration, belonging, and how arts can save a life--perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and Hey, Kiddo. For as long as she can remember, it's been Robin and her mom against the world. Growing up as the only child of a single mother in Seoul, Korea, wasn't always easy, but it has bonded them fiercely together. So when a vacation to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama, unexpectedly becomes a permanent relocation--following her mother's announcement that she's getting married--Robin is devastated. Overnight, her life changes. She is dropped into a new school where she doesn't understand the language and struggles to keep up. She is completely cut off from her friends in Seoul and has no access to her beloved comics. At home, she doesn't fit in with her new stepfamily, and worst of all, she is furious with the one person she is closest to--her mother. Then one day Robin's mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, which opens the window to a future Robin could never have imagined"
Publisher: New York, N.Y. :, Balzer + Bray/Harper Alley, imprints of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062685117
Branch Call Number: e-book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (227 pages, 7 unnumbered pages) : chiefly color illustrations
Alternative Title: Library2Go


From Library Staff

In this memoir graphic novel, Robin Ha’s childhood was drastically changed when she was uprooted from her home in her Seoul, South Korea and forced to live with her mother's new husband's family in Huntsville, Alabama.

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Apr 29, 2021

I have mixed feelings about this book. Disclaimer: I’m not really into graphic novels or comic books, so this review should be taken with a grain of salt. First, I really love how effectively Ha was able to communicate her experience to the readers: Korea to American is a difficult transition and Alabama isn’t exactly a Disneyland park. Ha’s illustrations are really different, and this may take some time to get used to (if you read primarily books with text). I really like it when Ha gets to explore her strengths as an artist and human being when she finds a friend group and even gets to go back to Korea! Sad, happy, and an experience only Ha can deliver.

Feb 05, 2021

What a story. The book is so well plotted and constructed from the very beginning that I could immediately immerse myself in the body of Robin. I felt the heartaches, struggles, and tears through the pages. I especially loved the part where Robin and Mom turned into martial artists, and Mom taught her the mantra of life. This was described in such a humorous and graphic way. The book is recommended for teens, but may I recommend to mothers as well? As a mother myself, Robin's mom has given me more strength.

IndyPL_TammieB Dec 19, 2020

This is a great story of resilience. The reader will root for Robin as she faces challenge after challenge. The book addresses many themes: fitting in, immigration, prejudice and discrimination, and fighting bullies. Ha delves deep into the racial injustice, language barriers, and gender roles that she faces trying to assimilate to a culture that ostracizes people for being different. The illustrations are great and have a wonderful use of color. Check out this video from Robin herself as she teaches about drawing comics.

JCLSarahZ Dec 07, 2020

A powerful graphic novel memoir about the author's move from Korea to Alabama as a teenager. Heartbreaking at times, but well worth the read.

Donna_R Sep 27, 2020

I love an illustrated memoir, and Robin's is one of the best I have read.

Sep 20, 2020

A nice story of learning to fit in and finding one's "hyphenated" (Korean-American) identity.

Tigard_HollyCP Jul 08, 2020

When Robin Ha was 14 years old, her mom uprooted her from her home in Korea and moved her to Alabama. She left behind her home, her friends, even her beloved comic books for a place she had never heard of and where she could not understand the language. Her only saving grace was a comic creating class where she met her first American best friend. With the initially reluctant permission of her mom, she published this graphic memoir about her experience as a Korean immigrant in the American South. She cleverly uses speech bubbles, font color and captions to tell her story to English readers, even during the part of her life when she only spoke Korean.

JessicaGma Apr 23, 2020

Being a teenager is tough enough but imagine if you moved around the world with your mum to a new country where you didn't speak the language? Chuna/Robin did just that when her mum moved them both from South Korea to Alabama in the 1990s. Robin had to deal with the usual teenage baggage but also learn more about her mother and how Koreans saw her. It's a great memoir about growing up but also how one deals with immigration and a new country.

Tigard_LindsayD Mar 08, 2020

A heartfelt graphic novel memoir of a South Korean teen who abruptly moves to Alabama with her single mom in the 1990s. If you like stories about nerdy teens coming into their own, complex families, or cross-cultural dynamics this book is for you!

RandomLibrarian Feb 08, 2020

As a young teen, Chuna Ha and her mother move from Seoul, South Korea, to Alabama. Chuna doesn't find out that her mother is staying because she married the man they came to visit until they've already been in the US for two weeks. She doesn't really speak English and her school has no ESL program. Chuna feels homesick, bored and frustrated by not being able to understand her teachers or classmates, and endures bullying for being Asian. She misses her belongings and the friends she left behind in Korea, and hates American food and her new cousins, who exclude her.

She chooses the name Robin to try and better fit in. As she begins to make friends, her mother announces they are moving again - this time to Virginia. Along the way, from starting life over again in Viriginia and going back to visit her old home in Korea, Robin begins to understand her mother's choices better and to reconcile her life as a Korean-American.

This graphic novel is a compelling memoir of an unwilling fish-out-of-water. Highly recommend!

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IndyPL_TammieB Dec 19, 2020

IndyPL_TammieB thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Feb 27, 2020

yellow_turtle_456 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 99


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IndyPL_TammieB Dec 19, 2020

This book is another memoir graphic novel. The author shares her story as a South Korean immigrant. She must navigate living with a single mom in Korea, then with picking up and moving to Alabama for her mom to have an arranged marriage. She thought they were just taking a vacation!! Then she deals again with living with a single mom, this time in Virginia. She goes through all of this while navigating the transition from middle school to high school. She is an awkward teen interested only in comic books. She does not quite fit in the US but discovers she no longer quite fits in in Korea other. She must come to terms with her identity as a Korean American.


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IndyPL_TammieB Dec 19, 2020

I didn't exactly fit in in Korea or America. I had become Korean American. And that was OK with me.


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