Reviews for Pippa Park Raises Her Game
"An empowering celebration of identity, friendship, and embracing one’s roots, Yun’s loose reimagining of Great Expectations follows a first-generation Korean-American girl learning to navigate her new life at an elite private school.... author Yun writes of Korean-American family life with heart- warming, authentic detail..."
—Publishers Weekly Dec. 1st issue
“Pippa is a magnetic heroine, funny and good-hearted, and young readers will relate as she makes one honest mistake after another in an effort to fit in. A nice balancing act between sports action, middle-school drama, and the struggles of an underprivileged immigrant family that will appeal to a wide audience.”
—Booklist Nov. 1st issue
“In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, familiar themes and predictability are offset by the depiction of Korean culture and language, which add texture and depth to the narrative. Readers will sympathize with this likable heroine as she struggles to succeed. VERDICT An enjoyable read with a buoyant contemporary twist on an old classic.”
—School Library Journal Nov. 1st issue
“This is a highly engaging and relevant title for schools that takes up issues of social class, ethnic identity, and the venture of staying true to oneself which will lend itself well to educators and parents looking to support growth in today's tweens. Highly Recommended.”
—School Library Connection Mar. 1st issue
“This is a wonderful coming of age story that will resonate with many middle school readers…Hand this to teens who love realistic school based stories with great characters.”
—Youth Services Book Review Jan. 2020
“Original, entertaining, and especially recommended for both school and community collections for young readers ages 10-12,”
—Midwest Book Review Jan. 2020
“In Erin Yun’s enchanting Pippa Park Raises Her Game, a girl starts a new school and tries to reinvent her image... an exciting middle grade novel about middle school struggles and feeling out of place.”
—Foreword Reviews Mar. 2020 issue
What Booksellers are Saying
"Pippa Park is a Korean-American middle schooler who vastly prefers shooting hoops with her friend Buddy to doing her math homework, assisting in the family laundromat, or dealing with her bossy older sister… A delightful reimagining of Great Expectations that breathes new life into a familiar story while infusing it with new relevance and accessibility, Pippa Park Raises Her Game raises the bar for literary retellings while standing firmly on its own two feet and scoring three-pointers right and left. A wonderful introduction to a classic story while also being a realistic portrayal of middle school and its exploration of identity, this novel is a must-have for libraries and collections everywhere!"
—Anna Eklund, Buyer, University Book Store, Seattle, WA
“Pippa Park Raises Her Game is not only a fun and zippy read but is a book that tackles big issues with nuance and sensitivity. Pippa is a funny and smart heroine who sometimes makes mistakes, sometimes doesn’t behave in ways that she feels proud of, but who always learns from her experiences, and whose heart is always in the right place. I couldn’t help but wish as I was reading this book that I had a friend like Pippa when I was in middle-school!”
—Amanda Toronto, Bookseller, WORD Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
"This is the kind of plot I love to read in middle grade novels... secrets are revealed, friendships are tested, and the reader is out of breath till the end. This is an excellent, inclusive, well written book that throws some popular and always topical middle school themes against the backdrop of a Dickens' classic and is one I very highly recommend."
—Nichole Cousins, Still North Books and Bar, Hanover, NH
"Pippa is a plucky Korean American middle schooler who gets a surprising basketball scholarship to a private school. This fast-paced story deals with the many social situations that face young people today. Pippa is a likable character in spite of her ups and downs and the action-packed ending keeps you turning the pages in this satisfying middle grade novel."
—Carol Rabe, owner, The Bookworm Bookstore, Bernardsville, NJ
“I loved the quick pace of the plot and Pippa was such a honest and flawed girl. When the story takes off, I was completely swept up. Pippa's longing to be a new person at the new school was so painfully realistic as were all her small lies to cover her true life which she was so embarrassed by. The plot had so many levels of relationships, drama, mystery and tragedy. Erin Yun is my kind of writer with such realistic dialogue and perfect descriptions of middle grade angst and cute boy swooning.”
—Therese Stanford, Bookseller, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY
“Pippa Park is a feisty young woman who is passionate about basketball, but when she switches to a fancy new school, she has to learn to manage her time (and her money) to fit in and keep her grades up so she can continue competing…Pippa Park covers many important themes including immigration, familial pressure, social media, and poverty but through the eyes of a seventh-grader just trying to fit in and naively taking advice from a teen magazine on how to do so. Debut author Erin Yun tells a story that many pre-teens and young, female athletes will recognize. As an adult, I definitely saw my own 12-year-old self in Pippa.”
—Denise Phillips, Owner, Gathering Volumes Bookstore, Perrysburg, OH
"I really enjoyed Pippa Park Raises Her Game! I loved the rich portrayal of Korean culture (and food!), and liked Pippa as a character, in general. She felt very real and relatable. I definitely zipped through it, and I've already raved about it to my co-workers and our rep. It's such a great book!"
—Shoshana Smith, Co-owner Flashlight Books, Walnut Creek, CA
What Librarians are Saying
“This novel serves as a delightful way to re-engage with elements from Dickens’s Great Expectations through a modern narrative that easily stands on its own. Especially striking is the protagonist Pippa, who is deeply relatable while avoiding the tropes often associated with middle-grade fiction. I found myself not only rooting for her, but remembering the ways in which I was her, from the triumphant moments to the cringe-worthy mishaps. This title could be a great tool for introducing classic literature to classrooms in an interesting way that encourages students to re-examine dated narratives through the lens of their own lived experiences.”
—Alessandra Affinito, Children's Librarian, New York Public Library
“Even if readers have never heard of Great Expectations, they will enjoy Pippa's story… The contemporary setting, the diverse mix of characters, the contrast between rich and working class, and the typical teen issues of friends, crushes, and deciding what sort of person one will become all mix together for an entertaining story that has something to offer a variety of readers. Highly recommended for middle grade readers who enjoy realistic fiction”
—Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN
“Inspired by Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, Pippa Park Raises Her Game is a relatable middle grade story about a middle schooler dealing with the school stress, family stress, an unrequited crush (with his own family stress), and the stress of keeping her real life secret from her glam friends at school. She's witty and dorky and just wants to do the right thing, but why is the right thing so hard to do? We want Pippa to get it right, because she's us….[the book]is a slam-dunk for middle grade readers. It's smart, funny, and gives readers a heroine they can root for.”
—Rosemary Kiladitis, Librarian, Queens Public Library, New York, NY
“Pippa Park Raises Her Game is a quick read with fun twists and strong female characters. It would be great for my sixth graders and I believe many YA readers would like the fast-paced plot that addresses the hot topic of the influence of friends during adolescence. A great first novel from Erin Yun.”
—Karen Surdynski, Library Media Specialist, Hunting Ridge School/Pleasant Hill School, Palatine, IL
"A play on Great Expectations with some fast-paced moves of its own…Erin Yun's debut novel is a slam dunk of a story that takes on major issues like stereotypes, friendship, and fitting in with others. Middle school readers will identify with Pippa's challenges and cheer her on as she learns what it takes to be proud of who you are."
—Tara Cooper Weiss, George Washington Middle School, Library Media Specialist, Wayne, NJ
"As Pippa navigates the difficulties of being who others expect, she discovers more about who she is. Students and teachers will connect with the desire to fit in but not lose themselves in the process. I loved the book and think that the inclusive themes are fantastic for classroom discussions.”
—Elizabeth Duesing, Accelerated Specialist, Troy Craughwell School, Joliet, IL