Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
In Kim’s well-paced debut, 11-year-old aspiring comic Yumi Chung struggles between her dreams and her Korean parents’ wishes. Shy Yumi is frustrated when her mother enrolls her in test-prep tutoring to qualify for an academic scholarship at prestigious Winston Academy. But when Yumi accidentally assumes an absent camper’s identity at YouTuber Jasmine Jasper’s comedy camp, her summer suddenly seems promising. What follows is a balancing act of making new friends and sustaining parental expectations amid looming worries about Yumi’s older sister, Yuri, and the financial state of the Chungs’ restaurant. Amid fresh-feeling comic framing and contemporary conflicts about gentrification and community involvement, the narrative employs several elements that will be familiar to readers of similar titles—Yumi’s strict immigrant parents compare her to other kids and expect good grades, genius Yuri is in medical school, and there’s a lack of clear intergenerational communication. Yumi’s friends and heroes are diverse, which feels genuine to the Los Angeles setting, and her gradual journey toward self-confidence will resonate with anyone who has had shy or awkward stages. Interspersed with entries from Yumi’s Super-Secret Comedy Notebook, the engaging first-person narrative is a good first step into a rich landscape of reads about first-generation immigrant experiences. Ages 9–12. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Mar.)