Girls for Breakfast

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Overview

Nick Park loves girls.

Drumstick legs, cherry-colored lips, dumpling cheeks . . . everything about them he wants to eat up. But he’s dateless and has been since he discovered girls in the third grade, and he’s convinced himself that this is solely based on the fact that he’s the only Korean American teenager in Renfield—the fifth richest (and WASPiest) town in Connecticut. In Nick’s mind, he sticks out like a banana in a wheat field.

And now ...

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2006-09-12 Mass Market Paperback New Perfect, unread book.

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Overview

Nick Park loves girls.

Drumstick legs, cherry-colored lips, dumpling cheeks . . . everything about them he wants to eat up. But he’s dateless and has been since he discovered girls in the third grade, and he’s convinced himself that this is solely based on the fact that he’s the only Korean American teenager in Renfield—the fifth richest (and WASPiest) town in Connecticut. In Nick’s mind, he sticks out like a banana in a wheat field.

And now it’s time for him to figure it out once and for all. Is it all in his head or are his suspicions that his heritage is keeping him from a triumphant boob fest true?

An excerpt from Girls for Breakfast:
What confused me about involuntarily visualizing Miss Hamilton with no clothes on was that she wasn’t even pretty. Her nose was pointy and her frizzy hair always looked sweaty, but I couldn’t stop picturing her naked. I also couldn’t stop picturing Martha the bus driver naked every time I stepped on the bus. I was a perverted Superman. As the bell rang I silently vowed to stop staring at the Playboys at night in order to get the rest crucial to curing me. I glared at Miss Hamilton’s breasts and shook a fist at her bare butt as she faced the chalkboard. I knew in my heart I’d beat this disease.

As he reflects back on his life in upscale Renfield, Connecticut, on his high school graduation day, Nick Park wonders how much being the only Asian American in school affected his thwarted quest for popularity and a girlfriend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The morning before high school graduation, the narrator recalls the trials and tribulations of his teenage career as the only Asian kid in town, in what PW called an "often hilarious novel." Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
After what he believes to be the worst night of his life, Nick Park spends the morning of his graduation day reflecting on his school life in suburbia. He reveals the girl-crazy, sex-focused content of his thoughts from his first Playboy at the age of nine to his first girlfriend during senior year. Nick also examines his experiences as the only Asian kid growing up in his white suburban neighborhood, including his hatred of the mixed Asian and American dinners his mother served and being nicknamed "Charlie" by a popular teacher. Nick's account of his youth is long on bawdiness and short on insight—until the last few pages. David Yoo's first novel is an explicit account of growing sexual awareness, and readers are likely to identify with this book on some level. However, it may be a controversial choice for some library collections. 2005, Delacorte/Random House, Ages 15 to Adult.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-"I'd descended into social Siberia sometime during the first week of middle school and had no idea how I'd gotten there. This is, apparently, the question of my life." Nick Park, a Korean American, describes himself as "the only non-Anglo-Saxon student in suburban Connecticut," and blames his Korean looks for his lack of popularity and girlfriends. Readers, however, will understand that his problem is due to his desperate bids for attention. This edgy and wickedly hilarious tale, filled with references to '80s pop culture, begins on Nick's high school graduation day as he retraces his thoughts and experiences from elementary school to the present. Through Nick's perception of his mother (a woman who is more adept at cursing in Korean than cooking) to his perception of what makes the popular kids popular (hot girls, varsity letter jackets, and definitely NOT church), readers get to know a confused and lonely young man who is trying to know himself by any means necessary. Nick thinks a lot about girls, sex, and nude women; while the text is sometimes vulgar, it is actually quite true to the high school experience.-Jessi Platt, Auburn Public Library, AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440238836
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/12/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Yoo is a graduate from Skidmore with an MFA in creative writing from University of Colorado. He resides in Boston without his cat.
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Read an Excerpt

SUNDAY

10:00 AM

I'm standing on top of the water tower behind my house, thinking about my death and the inevitable bronze statue the graduating class will erect in my memory. Today is supposedly the most important day of my life so far because I'll be graduating from high school this afternoon--and yet here I am, the only senior skipping commencement rehearsal right now. The rest of my class has fanned out in waves into the woods beyond the football field in a frantic search for me. Some are joking at first, grateful to have a break from sitting on metal folding chairs in the hot sun, but before long it's obvious this is serious: Nick Park is missing.
The rumor mill has started churning, based on lies, but nobody knows the truth, so they have to rely on a nameless student hollering that he witnessed me entering the woods to take a leak. An hour passes before I'm finally discovered; word spreads quickly that I was attacked in midpiss by a bear in heat or something. Is there still time to dedicate the graduation ceremony to me, or have the programs already been printed?

Renfield High School Commencement, June 18, 19
Dedicated in loving memory of Nick Park
(July 6, 19__-June 18, 19__)
Senior Nick Park, who for four years was the number one tennis player at Renfield High, was mauled to death by a Kodiak Long Cut bear, just hours prior to this ceremony. The cause of death is precisely how we should always remember Nick: courageously fighting a semistarved and therefore far more aggressive than usual man-eater. Preliminary autopsy reports of the bear's intestines suggest--since all the bones in both hands and feet were broken prior to being playfully gnawed at and eaten--that Nick refused to turn himself into a ball and instead went down swinging and kicking. Tragic as this morning's events have been, it is fitting that Nick, in death, has once again personified all that is great about this year's graduating class. The Class of__refused to bow to the frustration of having to use temporary lockers for one semester, and took the initiative and handled the reconstruction of the cafeteria during the spring with aplomb by creating the Brown Bag picnic series, which will continue at Renfield High in the future; Nick similarly refused to cave in to unfortunate circumstances and fought for what is just, in this case the right to urinate in peace and with dignity.

The statue will be unveiled this fall in a private ceremony at the edge of the woods behind the football field. All the football players will tap or head-butt it for luck before running out onto the field at the start of home games. I'll become a local folk hero for simply peeing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Toxicology reports released to the public will detail the abnormal amount of adrenaline in my system; I did everything I could to fend off the bear, even as I slipped in and out of consciousness following the first in a series of strangely alligatorish, furry death rolls.
I'm having trouble picturing the statue. It depicts the final struggle, teenager versus bear, but it's hard to picture my face--specifically, my eyes. I have to admit I'm picturing myself wearing sunglasses, further proof that I am a banana: white on the inside, yellow on the outside, because surely only a banana or a blind guy would picture a bronzed likeness of himself wearing fucking sunglasses.
Though after last night I'd be lucky to be memorialized in balsa.

I'll admit there's something majorly wrong with me if a bronze statue depicting my graphic mauling feels like an acceptable alternative to entering the real world this fall. Tilsen College--a small liberal arts school in upstate New York--is the ultimate microcosm of today's society, where I'll get my first taste of something besides sheltered New England life based on the fact that the student body is composed of prep school and public school kids from thirty-six states; where I'll be surrounded by at least 9 percent blacks, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders (i.e., Samoans and me); where I'll share community bathrooms with flaming gays who aren't necessarily members of the drama club and tall girls, truckloads of really tall girls that I'll think are beautiful, because college is when I'll finally start appreciating them. My surroundings will be different, and hopefully so will I.
So then why am I all alone on a water tower during the rehearsal for what should be the greatest celebration of the most significant day of my life up till now? That much I do have an answer to: it's because I can't stop thinking about what happened last night.
The majority of my shortcomings can legitimately be blamed on the town I live in and my clueless parents. I'm just your average guy. I like girls, therefore I like parties because that's where girls are, therefore I am forced to give two shits about popularity. That doesn't make me shallow--it makes me normal. And how can a normal guy find himself completely alone on the last real day of high school?
This, my friends, is the question.
It wasn't until my first year here that I noticed that being Asian meant being different, and it coincided with the start of a lifelong proclivity toward lying. This was also around the time when I first noticed girls, which I guess means it was when things started to fall apart.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    hillarious

    This book was funny starting from the first page. Sadly, this is quite accurate in what goes on in a guy's mind. i could relate to many things and laugh when I realized how absurd things you think are normal when you read them in a book. I am a reluctant reader but absolutely enjoyed this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    Amazing

    At first I borrowed this book at the library and started reading it. I couldn't stop reading it at night, and the next day, during school, I couldn't wait to go home and read it. It was like non-stop comic. The book was so descriptive too that I could just imagine everything going on. I loved this book and I could read it over and over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2005

    Girls for Breakfast, funny and true

    Girls for Breakfast was not only laugh out loud funny, it gave a very accurate and true description of growing up in the suburbs. As an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. As a teacher, I will also recommend it to my high school age students as a great outside reading book that should speak to their experiences growing up.

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