The Fold

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
The Fold Book Poster Image
Insightful and frank novel explores beauty in America.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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

Positive Messages

The book deals with navigating family obligation, being true to oneself, and surviving in a culture where Western ideals of beauty are thrust upon everyone, whether they can meet those standards or not. Because the book also deals with race and culture, there are some instances of racism, including a man calling a young Asian girl an "Oriental bitch."


Mild swearing including "bitch," "ass," and rude hand gestures. Racial terms including "Oriental" -- to describe an Asian girl, slant-eyed gook -- and "FOB" or "fresh off the boat," a phrase used for recent immigrants.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book deals with people learning to accept themselves and their perceived flaws. Because the focus is on a Korean family and race plays a factor in one character's journey, racial undertones are present including a humiliating display by a student. A college student reveals she's a lesbian.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old March 29, 2013

An Na: Another Wonderful Book

An Na is an amazing author. She creates a wonderful story that has lots of big decisions that gets readers thinking and new ideas. I didn't know what a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byKRDPayne September 22, 2012

Possitive Review

I absolutly love this book. I cant believe I actually finnished a book. I never finnish a book or never read a book. I dont know why, but I was sucked into it a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Joyce has a cute crush that doesn't know she exists; a perfect, beautiful older sister; and a best friend who feels her pain. Her plan to get a makeover and win her crush's heart takes a new turn when her rich aunt offers her plastic surgery. Joyce has to decide whether or not to change what's so fundamentally her to become the someone she dreams about being. Will she go through with it?

Is it any good?

An Na has written a beautiful, poignant coming-of-age story that is as real as the teen girl next door. Na brings readers into a world that is seldom highlighted: the family life of Korean Americans. Her focus is on Joyce, a lovable, troubled heroine who is told by her own aunt that her eyes are a flaw that need to be fixed. Granted, her aunt is called "Michael" (Jackson) by the rest of her family because of all the plastic surgery she's had. But it still adds an extra level of angst to Joyce's self-image issues, and a difficult decision to make when her aunt offers to pay for the surgery.

What Na does especially well is highlight how everyone in Joyce's family, with her aunt's help, tries to make changes: family members try to look taller, more glamorous, find mates, etc. Na's focus on family and accepting the flaws of loved ones is reflected in Joyce's journey of self-acceptance and love. The positive family portrayal and body image message is sure to appeal to parents and young readers alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about diversity, Western standards of beauty, and the media's role in how people view body image. Who should decide what's beautiful? Do the same beauty standards apply everywhere in the world? Do magazines and celebs affect how you see yourself?

Book details

  • Author: An Na
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
  • Publication date: April 10, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 192
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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