A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about modern and historical Korean culture, Seoul and its surrounding areas, and Korean words and their meanings. A guide is included at the back of the book. They'll also learn about tae kwon do, archery, ancient Korean myths, legends, and fairy tales and that the term "gilded" means "to be enslaved."
Strong messages about friendship, being honest and forthright, helping others, putting others before yourself, antibullying, sticking to your beliefs, standing up for yourself, the importance of love and family, doing well in school, and being careful of your surroundings.
Positive Role Models
Jae Hwa is one tough cookie. She's fiercely independent and a strong, likable heroine with a spunky personality. Jae values friendship and keeping her friends and family out of harm's way. She selflessly puts herself into dangerous situations out of concern for those she loves. She was close to her mother who died and misses her every day. Jae knows martial arts and gains more of an interest in Korean culture and her heritage as the story progresses. She also wants to do well in school. Other solid role models are Jae's crush, Marc Grayson, a studious boy who's kind, caring, and loyal and who wants to protect her. Her other friends also are dedicated to their studies and like Jae as a friend. Jae also has strong parental role models in her father, grandfather, and aunt.
Violence & Scariness
Hand-to-hand combat, martial-arts combat such as tae kwon do, archery (using it to hit targets and monsters), wild beasts attacking humans, monsters attacking humans and vice versa.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, hugging, and tender caressing, such as on the face.
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Products & Purchases
Buying drinks and desserts at Coffee Bean.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gilded is Christina Farley's debut novel and the first book in the Gilded series. It's about a Korean-American teen who lives with her father in Seoul, South Korea. She battles an evil demigod, Haemosu, who wants to take her soul and make her his princess. The legend of Haemosu is an actual Korean myth. Gilded has some violence: Jae battling Haemosu and other Korean mythical beings, and monsters using tae kwon do and archery. There's mild romance with a couple of kissing scenes and hugging. The only strong language is "crap."
Is It Any Good?
Gilded is an extremely fun book that offers the perspective of a Korean-American teen living in a foreign country. It's also a twist on standard paranormal books, with new monsters and mythical beings. Jae Hwa is a great role model -- a strong fighter who's still unsure she can defeat Haemosu. She's real and believable. Gilded also has interesting locales, a romance, side characters, and Korean myth and history. After finishing the first book, readers will be eager to dive into the second one, Silvern.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.