The Fold

Common Sense Media says

Insightful and frank novel explores beauty in America.

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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."

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

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.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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
Number of pages:192
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of The Fold was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byshopping is hiking March 4, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
I think this is a great book for kids, mostly girls if they are struggling on how to accept their physical appearance. This book, I think, shows a message that you should be happy with just the way you are and not changing yourself because of what people might think and what you think of yourself. In Joyce's case, the main character, she's not happy with her eyes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bycharissa94 December 7, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

story that will make you wanna move on

i think it was a good novel,with many situations that teenagers may be ahving problems with..
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bybhills March 9, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Perfect for teens!

I'm a 15-year-old girl and I enjoyed this book. It's age appropriate, and had a very good lesson. It's telling you that you don't need to change yourself to be "pretty enough", and that you're fine the way you are.
What other families should know
Great messages

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