Monday, July 15, 2013

INTERVIEW & REVIEW: Since You Asked by Maurene Goo

A humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture.

Publisher: Scholastic
Number of Pages: 262
Type: Hardcover


Maurene Goo was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she navigated her childhood by practicing extreme bossy Lord-dom over her many cousins. She studied communication at the University of California, San Diego, and received a master's degree in publishing and writing at Emerson College. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a very old cat. You can visit her online at

The main character of Since You Asked…, Holly Kim, and her three best friends—Carrie, Liz, and David—interview author Maurene Goo, their almighty creator.

Warning: Rambling, tangential, maddening, frustrating transcript ahead.

Holly: Well, well, well.
Liz: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Have you been expecting her?
Holly: I don’t know! Seemed appropes.
David: Stop saying “appropes.”
Carrie: Yeah, totes annoy. Ing.
*Conspicuous silence*
Maurene: Anyway. Hi, guys. This should be interesting.
Holly: Yeah, tell us all about yourself. Your loves, hates, dreams.
David: Vague, much? I thought you were a journalist.
Carrie: Yeah, let’s get specific here: Who is the actor you most want to marry?!
Liz: God, Carrie.
Maurene: No, that’s a great one! Well, I’m already happily married (HI CHRIS), but he knows that my two celeb loves are Michael Fassbender and Chris Pine. I know, Chris Pine. So obvious. But there’s something sparkly about him…impish.
Holly: I know what you mean, but yeah that’s kind of cheesy of you. That’s like David’s teenybopper crush on Taylor Swift.
David: WHAT! I say ONE THING…
Holly: You said she had nice hair!
David: So clearly I want her to bear my children.
Liz, Carrie, Holly: EW!
Maurene: She’s charming, I get it.
Holly: Don’t encourage him! Anyway, fine. What were your high school years like? Did you like it?
Maurene: I did, actually. I look back on high school fondly—
David: *Cough* Freak! *Cough*
*Holly cackles*
Maurene: AS I WAS SAYING. I liked high school—I loved my friends, I studied a lot and was just active enough with extracurriculars to feel involved.
Carrie: What extracurriculars? Sports?
Maurene: HAHA. No. I tried out for the tennis team half-heartedly but didn’t want to run that hard when it was hot. So you can imagine, I didn’t make the cut. But all my friends were total brainy jock types.
Holly: Er, isn’t that, like, an oxymoron?
Maurene: You would think. But at my school the jocks were often the smartest kids at our school. And a lot of my good friends were brainy jocks.
Liz: Wow, sounds…thrilling.
Maurene: Thanks.
Carrie: Well, then, what extracurriculars did you do?
Maurene: Like Holly, I was in journalism—that was my favorite. I was also in Key Club, and I was also a “publicist” for the student government which was literally just making signs because I had nice handwriting.
Liz: You do? I demand to see an example.
Maurene: What? How?
Liz: Show me.
Maurene: Fine. *Scribbles something* Here.
Liz: Pretty good.
Holly: Okay, weirdo. Anyway, next question: What are your favorite books?
David: Gee, I wonder if anyone has ever asked her this question before.
Holly: Whatever, D, trying to be all cool in front of an author. You know you’re curious!
Maurene: No, it’s fine. I’ve just finished my blog tour and did answer this a few times. But I always remember new ones. One of my favorites growing up was Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. It’s one of his more quiet stories and the bond between Danny and his father was so beautiful.
Holly: Oh, I’ve never read that one! Adding it to my list!
Carrie: I’m bored. What are your favorite T.V. shows?
Maurene: Okay, you young people are going to stare blankly at me with this one, but I am obsessed with, and am currently re-watching all of, The West Wing right now.
David: Man, I LOVE that show. Josh Lyman is my idol.
Maurene: I don’t know if that makes me happy or depresses me.
*Holly, Liz, and Carrie stare blankly*
Maurene: Anyway. I’m also really into The Mindy Project and Game of Thrones.
*Chaos as all of them start yelling at once*
Holly: Mindy Kaling is my idol!
Carrie: I want to be in a Jon Snow/Robb Stark sandwich.
Liz: I can’t believe Mindy cut her hair in the season finale!
Maurene: See, I can hang with the young people.
Holly: Er. Do you have any pets?
Liz: My God, Holly! Did you lift these questions from a Highlights magazine?
Holly: PARDON ME. I really want to know!
Maurene: Yes, I have 2 cats. One is Walnut a shy chunkster who eats lizards, and the other is Oliver, a 19-year-old human-in-disguise that loves to lick your hands. Here are their photos: 
Holly: Oh, a cat lady. On that note, it’s been real.
Maurene: Oh, that’s it?
Holly: Why, do you have more to say?
Maurene: Yes, I really enjoy writing you guys. I hope everyone finds you as charming as I do.
*Carrie lets out a burp that breaks the sound barrier*
Liz: You were saying?

Thanks for the AWESOME interview, Maurene! To learn more about the author and her book, visit her site here

This was definitely a great book, but I'd have to start off with saying that it would probably be most suitable for younger teens and tweens. I really enjoyed the journey of the main character, such as seeing her family life and where she came from. To me seeing main characters of different cultures and how their life works behind the scenes, is very interesting. There go through more unique struggles than the average American. 

The novel was well-written, but I felt like I was almost waiting for something more to happen. Like the plot wasn't written to its full potential--and I thought it had a lot. In general, I could have used a bit of romance or something scandy to spice it up a bit, but otherwise I found it really enjoyable since I too am interested with my school newspaper and could try and put myself in this situation and see how I'd react. Also, the fact that I enjoyed it and there was no romance in it says something coming from me... 

The main character, Holly, was an interesting person to learn about and I thought she was a little snobby at first but that made her so much more real to me. I grew to really like her and I could see me getting along with her at some points, which impressed me. 

Overall I liked this book, but I would recommend it to younger readers. But, if I was a younger reader I'd like it even more and probably be able to relate more and fantasize about getting the drama in Holly's life to spice up my own freshman year. I think Maurene Goo is a talented writer and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.

This book is on shelves now!
Buy Hardcover

Happy reading!
Amanda, age 17

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