Good Enough

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Good Enough Book Poster Image
Overachiever learns a new definition of success.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Could lead to some good discussions about the pressure to succeed. See our "What to Talk About" section for some ideas. 

Positive Messages

Parent-pleasing Patty learns to take control of her own life and realizes she has "all the time in the world" to compose a life she loves.

 

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patty is a really believable and relatable character: she loves both the violin and academics, she loves her parents, and even the kids in her church group -- and when she finally tells her crush, Ben, her true feelings, he tells her he only likes her as "a friend." Patty faces some racism, but eventually she is able to confront a character.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is little to be concerned about in this book. Patty and her family face some racism, but in the end, she is able to confront a character. Even Patty's rebellious behavior is pretty mild: She sneaks out of a church lock-in to go to a concert with her crush, and later in the book, she yells at her parents (and tells readers that this was the first time she had ever "raised my voice" to them. We should all be so lucky!).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySjcherie July 6, 2009

Perfect for Asian teenagers; a really, really good read for everybody else :]

This book almost left me in complete shock after I finished reading it. It was almost like it was taken straight from my thoughts, from my complaints, my aches,... Continue reading
Parent of a 18+ year old Written bychanellerivascr December 16, 2015

The book, Good Enough, was too good enough.

The book, Good Enough, was written by Paula Yoo and she did a very good job writing the story. The story, Good Enough, was about a girl name patty did a lot of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byh8rPatrol December 21, 2010
I really think I learned about another culture through reading this.
Teen, 15 years old Written byagentcheesecake March 17, 2011

Gives You an Inside View on the "Ivy-League Asian Genius" Stereotype

Good Enough is one of my favorite books of all time. It is the story of an overachiever whose life is pretty much being controlled and planned out by her parent... Continue reading

What's the story?

Patty Yoon's parents pressure her to get into an Ivy League college, and she works hard to meet their expectations. Her life revolves around studying, taking practice SAT tests, practicing the violin, and hanging out with the other overachievers at her Korean church. But an unlikely friendship helps spark something new in her: The idea that she could choose a life of her own.

Is it any good?

The story takes a pretty predictable path: A nerdy girl learns to stop letting her parents dictate her life and becomes her own person. What's special about the story is that protagonist Patty is a really believable and relatable character: she loves both the violin and academics, she loves her parents, and even the kids in her church group -- and when she finally tells her crush, Ben, her true feelings, he tells her he only likes her as "a friend."

Her transformation into a girl who can stand up for herself is equally convincing. Readers will know that she has spunk all the time by her self-deprecating humor and the chapter interludes, such as "Top Ten Ways to Avoid Ben Wheeler at School" or "How to Make Your Korean Parents Happy, Part 4." Readers will appreciate Patty's brave confrontation with her parents, even if it comes at an unlikely moment (right before an important concert performance). Maybe the book will end too neatly for some, but students -- especially overachievers like Patty -- will appreciate her gradual understanding that she has "all the time in the world" to compose a life she loves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the pressures facing teens today, especially around getting into colleges. Do parents put too much pressure on their kids to be the best at everything? You could check in with your teen: How much stress are you feeling to succeed -- in school and in other activities? Do you ever feel like you are juggling too much?

  • This story is about an Asian-American overachiever. What other books or movies can you think of that feature similar characters? Is Patty a stereotype -- or does her story present an accurate representation of cultural expectations that many Asian teens face? Are there other Asian stories that need to be told? 

Book details

For kids who love movies and books about strong girls

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