Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Patti's parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.

But Patti's discovering that there's more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there's Cute Trumpet Guy. He's funny, he's talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti's favorite band. Then, of course, there's her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn't want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?

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" . . . a funny story that will hit home for many readers." - Publishers Weekly

" . . . convincing narration filled with laugh-out-loud lines . . . the deeper questions about growing up will stay with readers." - Booklist

" . . . a lovable main character with a superb voice." - Children's Literature

"Yoo successfully combines the readability of a chick-lit novel with a fresh coming-of-age story." - VOYA

"The author reflects on the hard lessons of adolescence with humor and authenticity." - KLIATT

Nominated for ALA Best Books for Young Adults

Paula Yoo


Things to Know

Paula Yoo

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On the nightstand: Eyeglass case, a Yale reading lamp (yes, my mom bought it after I graduated!)

Favorite drink while you write: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. (Catch the Star Trek: The Next Generation allusion here?)

Favorite bookstore: Any indie bookseller, period. Especially the children's indie bookstores including Children's Book World in Los Angeles, The Blue Marble in Ft. Thomas, KY, the legendary All for Kids Books & Music in Seattle, WA (which sadly closed this year), Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, CA, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, OH

Favorite libraries: Los Angeles Public Library, Seattle Public Library, Cincinnati Public Library, Beverly Hills Public Library

Pets: Bobbi, my dwarf hamster, and Oreo, my cat. I still mourn the loss of my first two darling goldfish, Lucky and Penny, from 2006.

Place to write: Inside the house where I don't have to dress up and/or be seen by the public! But when I'm just in the beginning brainstorming sessions, I'll go to the library or a coffeehouse to sit and doodle. The real writing I have to get done in private at home because I can stay up all night!

Inspiration: All music inspires me, as do my friends' chubby-wubby babies and fuzzy-wuzzy cats like my Oreo, and FOOD!!!!!

Dream book tour: New Zealand because a) I've never been there and b) that's where Lord of the Rings was filmed!

Writer buddies: Kelly DiPucchio, Lisa Wheeler, Hope Vestergard, April Young Fritz, Carolyn Crimi, and Janie Bynum

Cure for writer's block: Watch FOOD TV, play video games, and read, read, read! Eat comfort food, like my famous homemade mac & cheese or SPAM fried rice - and, in a pinch, I'll just heat up some Chef Boyardee ravioli. Mmmm!

Favorite outfit: When I play with rock bands, I like to wear the Patti Yoon rockin' schoolgirl outfit: a short skirt with knee-length black boots.

Long-hand or laptop? Long-hand for when I'm first starting out (brainstorming and outlining), laptop when I actually write

Stilettos or Uggs? Doc Martens! Although I'm in LA now and mostly wear short-heeled sandals because a) it's hot all the time and b) I have flat feet and can't wear stilettos anyway.

Next up: Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, a children's picture book biography about the Chinese American 1920s-40s movie star - published by Lee & Low Books, Spring 2009

Author idols: My brother, David Yoo, author of the YA novel Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before - published by Hyperion, October 2008


Interviews: rgz tv

Roundtable: readergirlz and postergirlz discuss Good Enough



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Discuss the book with the author herself. Paula Yoo will be chatting live at the readergirlz forum on Thursday, September 18th at 6 PM PST/9 PM EST.

The chat will last for about an hour.





According to a recent survey by MTV and the Associated Press, young people experience stress at a high rate - females more than males. Among 13-17 year olds, school is the most commonly mentioned source of stress. While quick bouts of stress can be healthy, too much uninterrupted stress can really take a toll on your bod. One way to control stress: learn to relax. To find other ways to keep stress at bay, and to try a simple breathing exercise, visit TeensHealth - then be sure to share what you've learned with your friends and family!

Did you know? September has been pronounced the first-ever Yoga Month! Celebrate by attending a yoga class, which has been linked to reducing stress. Ten cities across the U.S. and Canada are hosting Yoga Health Festivals, and volunteering can get you free admission. To find a festival near you, check out




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These tunes were hand-picked by the author to accompany her book. They are all pieces mentioned in the novel and/or in the mix CDs that Ben and Patti recorded for each other!

Violin Concerto in E Minor by Mendelssohn
Caprice No. 24 by Paganini, as performed live by Joshua Bell
Blister In the Sun by The Violent Femmes
Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols
Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies
Ever Fall In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)? by Buzzcocks
Search and Destroy by Iggy Pop and the Stooges
White Riot by The Clash
Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie by Black Flag
Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov


Paula Yoo, Violinist



Discuss books at the readergirlz forum, open 24/7. Here are some things to consider when talking about Good Enough:

1. Patti faces a TON of pressure from her parents to do well in school so she can be accepted into a prestigious university. At the same time, however, she puts just as much pressure on herself. Do you face a lot of pressure from your parents and/or from yourself to get accepted into college? How do you handle that pressure?

2. Patti has a guilty pleasure - a secret love for the fictional teenybopper band Jet Pack, which was modeled after Paula's real-life favorite teenybopper band, Duran Duran. Who is your favorite teenybopper/guilty pleasure band?

3. Patti has been raised by her parents to never "rock the boat," but she learns that, sometimes, you gotta rock that boat and protest! Patti makes a stand against racism. Have you ever rocked the boat for a cause you believed in? What was that experience like?

4. Patti's mom loves SPAM recipes. What crazy foods did your parents introduce to you that you still crave to this day? Do you have any recipes involving SPAM or other unusual food that you love to eat?

5. Patti has a secret crush on Ben "Cute Trumpet Guy" Wheeler. Telling someone that you have a huge crush on him/her can be terrifying! How have you handled being friends with your secret crush? Did you ever admit your feelings to him/her? What happened? Do you feel you've grown from the experience?

6. Patti learns that success does not always equal happiness. What does happiness mean for you? What makes YOU happy?

7. The title of this novel refers to Patti never feeling quite good enough, no matter how hard she studies and practices her violin. During the novel, and thanks to her friends, Patti learns that she IS good enough and finally takes pride in her abilities and gains self-confidence. Have you ever felt that you weren't good enough? If so, why? How did you learn to overcome these insecurities and grow more self-confident?



Invite: Include a can of SPAM or a mix CD of the contemporary and classical songs mentioned in the book.

Food: Make the SPAM recipes from the book, like SPAM Bi Bim Bap, SPAM Kimbap (aka Spam Sushi Rolls), and Spicy SPAM Ramen Noodles!

Décor: Posters of your favorite guilty pleasure teenybopper bands (Duran Duran, 'N Sync, The Jonas Brothers). Photos of famous Korean Americans, old school punk rock bands, and classical musicians. Piles of old SAT prep course books and college brochures. Put cans of SPAM everywhere!

* Sixteen Candles - Please note, this should include an intense discussion on the political and racial ramifications of the infamous stereotyped Long Duk Dong character as well as why on Earth Molly Ringwald had a crush on the popular boy (who isn't really a very nice guy) and how Anthony Michael Hall is really Samuel Kwon in disguise.
* The Breakfast Club - How does each character resemble Patti? For example, the wrestler played by Emilio Estevez has a great speech about the pressure he feels from his coach father to "win win win!" at all costs.
* Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - Okay, this movie has nothing to do with the book, but Patti Yoon and Paula Yoo are huge Star Trek fans, so you should watch what we both consider to be the best of the Star Trek movies and discuss why it's so fantastic and why Star Trek ROCKS.

Crafts: Have a SPAM sculpture contest - or a SPAM recipe contest, which is less messy and less gross than the SPAM sculpture contest. Since Patti's such a good student, decorate a notebook with stickers of your favorite teenybopper band. If any of your friends are musicians, have them bring their instruments and have a jam session! Make each other mix CDs of your favorite songs and trade them!


Luna by Julie Ann Peters  Secondhand World by Katherine Min  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee  The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan  What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci  The Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

Recommended by postergirlz, the readergirlz advisory council

Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Secondhand World by Katherine Min
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci

The Official SAT Study Guide by The College Board

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