Wait for Me

( 6 )

Overview

Mina is the perfect daughter. Bound for Harvard, she’s Honor Society president and a straight-A student, even as she works at her family’s dry-cleaning store and helps care for her hearingimpaired little sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie. Then, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets someone to whom she cannot lie. Ysrael, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work for her family, and asks Mina the one ...

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Overview

Mina is the perfect daughter. Bound for Harvard, she’s Honor Society president and a straight-A student, even as she works at her family’s dry-cleaning store and helps care for her hearingimpaired little sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie. Then, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets someone to whom she cannot lie. Ysrael, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work for her family, and asks Mina the one question that scares her the most. What does she want?

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Harvard bound, Honor Society president, straight-A student: Mina is the picture perfect daughter. Beneath all the superlatives, though, is an insecure teenager groping for her real identity. Told through the words of its Korean-American protagonist, An Na's Wait for Me captures the intensity of adolescent experience without false dramatization or sentimentality.
Publishers Weekly
Guest gives a sensitive, nuanced performance as Mina, the Korean-American teenager who resorts to lying and doctoring her report cards to live up to the expectations of her mother, whose dream is for Mina to attend Harvard. This spot-on reading conveys Mina's conflicting emotions: fear of being caught in her deception, guilt at knowing that her mother worked hard and sacrificed to give her opportunities, resentment at all the pressure her mother puts on her, and most of all, a deep-seated longing to break free and live her own life. Additionally, Guest is wonderful in the role of the mother, with her heavy Korean accent and bossy nature, and also Suna, Mina's childlike, hearing-impaired younger sister. Children of immigrants will find a kindred spirit in Mina, while most young listeners will relate to the eternal teenage conflict: trying to please parents while finding one's own identity. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Mina's mother has her life planned out for her. After Mina graduates at the top of her class, she will leave the family's laundromat in California and attend Harvard. Mina, a seventeen-year-old Korean American, does not have the high grades that her mother thinks she does. Mina has doctored her report card with the help of Jonathon Kim, the son of a wealthy friend of the family. She does, however, have a plan: She has been stealing small amounts of cash from the register when she does the nightly receipts, and she intends to run away and live on her own after graduation. She feels responsible, however, for supporting her younger half-sister Suna, whom her mother treats poorly. While struggling to decide what she can do with her life, pretending to study for the SAT, and fending off Jonathon's amorous advances, Mina must hide her developing relationship with Ysrael, a Mexican teen who has come to work in their shop while Mina's stepfather recovers from a strained back. Events come to a head when the missing money is discovered. Ysrael is blamed and leaves for music school in San Francisco, and Mina finally stands up to her mother. This Printz award-winning author crafts a difficult book about a girl in a difficult situation. Mina and her sister share the telling of their story. Mina's chapters are in first person, and Suna's are in third. The flipping back and forth creates a distance from both characters. Mina is not particularly sympathetic. The convention of using quotation marks only when English is spoken makes it tough to distinguish Mina's thoughts from conversations in Korean where no quotes are used. Some teens might see themselves in Mina's struggle to free herself from hermother's control, but most will not bother struggling through the flowery language or the slow-moving story. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 176p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Timothy Capehart
VOYA - Leslie Carter
Initially appearing to be another book about the constant battle between a mother and her teenage daughter, this one grows into a girl's struggle for her personal survival and for her understanding of love. Born into a Korean American family in a suburb of Los Angeles, Mina wearies over her mother's constant nagging about grades, SAT preparation, and Harvard. She knows that her grades have fallen because of her problems with math, but her mother's expectations will not allow for any failure or any goal short of being the best. Mina's solution to her battle with her mother is to lie and tell her that everything is fine. She also begins taking money from the till in her parents' dry cleaning shop with the idea of leaving home at the end of her senior year. When Ysreal is hired to help in the shop, Mina slowly begins to discover that she has found a soul mate. She opens her heart to him, and he wisely encourages her to tell her mother the truth. When he leaves for music school in San Francisco, Mina almost goes with him, but her love for her family draws her back to finally deal with everything that has pulled them apart. Although Mina's mother begins as a one-dimensional character, she becomes much more faceted when her background is revealed. Readers will immediately identify with Mina and her struggles at home. This book will especially resonate with girls who feel under too much pressure to excel.
Children's Literature - Cynthia Hopp
Mina tries her hardest to be the best possible child and student for her mother, but this means lying about her grades and covering up her misdeeds of stealing. During the summer before her senior year, everything seems to fall apart for Mina. She has to face all of her lies, and in the process, she finds herself falling in love with Ysrael, a young migrant worker who has come to help her parents run their business. Since Mina's mother only wants the best for her child, she forbids her to date until Mina graduates from high school and goes on to Harvard. Now Mina must face her skeletons, make her mother come to terms with her own skeletons, and decide how to choose between her sister, whom she protects, and her new love before summer ends. Mina comes to realize that she can only do so much before everything starts to crumble. An Na shows the true struggle of an adolescent with controlling parents who faces realistic problems. Mina is Asian-American, and as she negotiate the gaps between her two cultures, readers gain insight into cultural practices surrounding essentials such as child-rearing practices, money, and tradition.
Jennifer Hanni
Creating a dream-like state through language and point of view in Wait for Me, An Na tells the story of a Korean-American girl searching for her own dreams, while trying to live up to her mother's high aspirations of a Harvard education. While some of the language and situations may be culturally specific, all readers will connect with the fear, anger, desperation, passion, and struggle with parents Mina feels, as well as fall in love with Ysrael, the boy who flips her tormented world upside down, forcing her to decide exactly what she, and not her mother, wants. Wait for Me's chapters switch focus between the protagonist, older sister Mina, and her younger hearing-impaired sister Suna. Mina's chapters are written in first person, while Suna's are written in third person, creating an interesting dynamic of voice and point of view. This point of view floats readers outside reality into a world where truth, reality, and fantasy intertwine.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Mina has a lot to cope with during the summer before her senior year in high school in this novel by An Na (Putnam, 2006). Her Korean-American family needs her help in their small dry cleaning business, her hearing-impaired younger sister depends on her for the nurturing their mother doesn't offer, and she's getting unwanted physical attention from a longtime family friend. But most of all, Mina has promulgated some whopping lies about her academic prowess that has put her in several tight spots. She's led her mother to believe that she's head of the Honor Society and en route to Harvard when, in fact, Jonathan, a family friend, has covered for her and taught her about stealing from the family's business. Complicating matters is Mina's new love interest, Ysrael, a young man from Mexico who comes to work at the family's dry cleaners, who urges her to follow her dreams-and him. Kim Mai Guest provides compelling narration. This story is compact, highly textured, and sure to engage listeners.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkley Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What defines success? For one immigrant Korean mother, it is nothing less than a Harvard education. Seventeen-year-old Mina has created a high-school life filled with the illusion of straight A's and a topnotch college preparatory program in order to meet the overwhelming demands and expectations of her controlling Uhmma. Aided by former boyfriend and fellow Korean Jonathan, Mina adds some cheating to her life of lying. Her younger, hearing-impaired sister Suna, viewed as "damaged" by Uhmma, and the forbidden love and realistic advice of new, Mexican boyfriend Ysrael, ultimately force a sense of accountability in Mina. In an open-ended and arresting conclusion, she begins to face the truth within herself. Once again Na has created a compelling drama riveted with emotional anguish. She draws her characters completely from within their souls, expressing the dreaded fear and doubt of protagonist Mina, which is brought on by the harshness and overbearing parental presumptions of Uhmma, and complicated by the loving responsibility for neglected and virtually abandoned sister, Suna. For Mina, success will depend on how she confronts her own desires, voices them to her rigid, insufferable mother and begins to live an honest life for herself. Gripping and engrossing. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142409183
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/6/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 619,285
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Read an Excerpt

prologue

She walks alone in the rain. The faded pink pajama bottoms and oversized T-shirt clinging to her small frame, heavy with the weight of water. Her breath breaks inside her chest in an upward heave that strangles a cry escaping from her throat. Gulps of air. Her shoulders rising and falling. How much time has passed? She presses the heel of her hand against the tears that blur her vision. Though her chest still throbs, demanding air, she begins to run again. Looks down at her feet and urges them to fly faster, skim across the pavement.

The city, a dusty camouflage of grays punctuated with dots of colors from traffic lights and swirling neon signs, stretches awake in the early-morning drizzle. In the distance there is the slam of metal gates being pushed aside, revealing cluttered storefronts and display windows. The heartbeat of the city thickens with the heat of summer rising as steam from the streets, with the noise of cars speeding across the freeway, with the multitude of voices and languages rising up to greet each other. The day begins, yet all Suna can see is the memory of a face framed by night. A face so familiar, so loved, she can name each imperfection, each mark as though they are her own.

Suna runs forward without a glance, without a thought. To the car rounding the curve of the freeway off-ramp. The road slick with oil and rain. She pumps her arms and wills herself into the light.

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Interviews & Essays

When did you start writing?

I started thinking about writing for children after I had finished college and was teaching full time. However, it wasn't until I entered my MFA program that the real writing began.

What made you decide to write this book?

It started with a very visual image of Mina and Ysrael on the hood of the car looking out over the sunset. While the image of the two lovers was familiar what caught my attention was the thought of the younger sister, Suna, inside the car watching her older sister fall in love.

What would you like young readers to learn from Mina?

To know and believe in yourself.

Are any of the characters in Wait for Me? based on anyone in your "real" life?

Some of the characters are composites from many different people, both real and fictional.

What adjectives would you use to describe Wait for Me?

Tender, loving.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Ian McEwan, Sylvia Plath, Jacqueline Woodson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Lorrie Moore, Lois Lowry

Have you started working on your next book? Can you give us a sneak peak?

I'm currently at work on my third novel, but I don't like to talk about it until it's completely done.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell readers?

Thank you for listening to my stories.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2008

    One of the best young adut romances

    I picked up this book warily. I've read too many fluffy teenage romances that are both unrealistic and uninteresting. But I was surprised and pleased with my reading. This book really tells the life of two very different girls, sisters Mina and Suna. An Na writes Mina in such a believable way that you come to believe that this girl is a real teenager: lost, moody, unaware of herself and unsure where to go. The relationship between Mina and Ysrael is very sweet and deep, too deep for the average teenager to be involved in. I think that Suna's story is the most captivating part of this story. She's young and imaginative. She goes where she likes in her mind, and her hearing there is just as good as everyone else's. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2008

    Waste of money and time

    I bought this book because it was on the shelf, without really reading what it was about. I was horribly disappointed that I wasted my money on this book. Wait for Me has a very shallow plot which lacks depth or intellect. Also, sweat was mentioned a little too much for my liking. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a way to fall asleep at night, or a way to pass time without thinking or learning anything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    Wait for Me

    Wait For Me The author AN NA won a Printz Award from her book, A Step from Heaven and was a National Award Winner Finalist too. In her wonderful novel, Wait for me, AN NA wrote about a girl named Mina, a Korean-American. She is known to be a good student, in after school activities, and still manages to help out in her parent¿s dry cleaners business. She is going to enter her senior year in high school. Suna is Mina¿s younger sister that needs her a lot, their bond is so strong, but when Mina meets Ysrael, a new worker at her parent¿s dry cleaners, and a musician. She finally found someone who she cannot lie to. He teaches her to think for herself and really find what she really wants in life. She has to face so many decisions and find a way to stop living a lie should she live the dreams that her mother would love for her to have, take care of her little sister, or accept the love that Ysrael is giving to her. I would recommend the book Wait for me for teenagers that are trying to find themselves and decide how you would want to live your life, solve any conflicts that are in your home, and outside the real wild world The message of the book is telling the readers to make good decisions in life and don¿t let others always decide for you. This book will have the reader wanting more after each chapter there are a lot of emotions running through the book that it will just have you stuck until the end comes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    Mina is ending her senior year with a lot to look forward to after graduation. With straight A¿s and president of the Honor Society, her mom thinks she is Harvard material. Mina has a lot more going on then just high school and applying to colleges. Her parents own a dry cleaning business where her whole family works. Suna, Mina¿s little sister, is hearing impaired and has to wear hearing aids. Mina finds herself taking more care of Suna than their mother does. Uhmma, their mother, is easily frustrated with Suna because she is different and does not live up to Mina¿s accomplishments. Mina knows the truth about her life and realizes she can not keep it a secret for much longer. She works at the dry cleaners taking in clothing from the customers, running the cash register, and balancing the receipts. When her mother is not looking Mina takes money from the register and safely packs it away. She knows she is not going to Harvard, and she will need money to pay for an apartment until she can tell her parents the truth. Jonathan, a Church friend, is helping Mina alter her grades to make them Harvard material. Mina knows she will never be accepted with the grades she has earned. She does not want to let her mother down because it is her dream to see her daughter go to Harvard. As far as Uhmma knows, Mina is getting extra college help from Jonathan. Suna is like she is on a different planet than everyone else. She often lets her mind carry her off into her imagination. When she is at the dry cleaners, she sometimes likes to hide in with the clothes so her mother can not find her. Her mother does not understand her because she is different from Mina. When Uhmma highers Ysrael, a new man to work at the dry cleaners, Mina finds herself wanting to know more about him. She likes the way he is gentle and friendly. He even knows how to make Suna happy. When Mina and Ysrael start dating, she finds herself facing the truth about her future. She does not want to live the life her mother has planned for her because it is one big lie. Mina needs to be true to herself and her family. When Ysrael asks Mina to move to California with him, Mina is ready to go. She has the money she has been saving from the dry cleaners, what else does she need? Then she thinks of Suna. Now Mina has to make the hardest decision of her life. Does she decide to run away with Ysrael or does she stay and take care of her sister Suna and live the life her mother has planned?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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