Top Five Reasons Why You Have a Bad Violin Audition:
1. Mendelssohn is hard.
2. Cute Trumpet Guy smiled at you!
3. You lose your place in the music and have to start over.
4. Mendelssohn is really, really hard.
5. You wonder if you will ever see Cute Trumpet Guy again.
Protagonist Patti Yoon is right: Mendelssohn is really, really hard.
Now, you may be wondering how I know this. Well, I, like the main character of Paula Yoo’s YA novel, Good Enough, have played the violin for most of my life. Fourteen years, to be exact.
The world of classical music, like many other fields, is incredibly competitive. You must always practice, practice, practice. You must aim to be better, better, better. No matter how much you practice, practice, practice, your teacher will still tell you that you need to improve your intonation. Your shifts are sloppy. Your dynamic changes are not noticeable enough. Your posture needs work. Those three measures that you spent three hours practicing are still horrendous. So you must return home and continue to practice, practice, practice.
Often, it feels like the underlying message is that you are not good enough.
Paula Yoo’s debut novelreminds me that I am good enough. I, myself, am good enough.
Patti’s parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.
But Patti’s discovering that there’s more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there’s Cute Trumpet Guy. He’s funny, he’s talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti’s favorite band. Then, of course, there’s her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn’t want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?
Paula Yoo scores big in her hilarious debut novel about an overachiever who longs to fit in and strives to stand out. The pressure is on!
-from the author’s website
Admittedly, my love for this book is due in great part to my similar experiences as a musician. However, Yoo’s story goes beyond the competitive world of classical music, exploring themes of culture, racism, perseverance, and self-discovery, creating a narrative that will undoubtedly resonate with an array of readers. Although Yoo’s novel raises deep, weighty questions on the aforementioned themes, her narrator tells her story in a fresh, vibrant, and humorous voice, making Good Enough a delightfully entertaining summer read!
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Post submitted by JoAnna