Good Enough

Good Enough

by Paula Yoo


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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!

How to make your Korean parents happy:

1. Get a perfect score on the SATs.
2. Get into HarvardYalePrinceton.
3. Don't talk to boys.*

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?

*Boys will distract you from your studies.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060790905
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 124,910
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

From Paula Yoo:

Okay, I admit it. Like Patti Yoon, I play the violin. Yes, I was concertmaster of my Connecticut All-State High School Orchestra. And I snuck out occasionally to see a couple of cool bands (sorry, Mom & Dad). But this novel is a work of fiction. Although I too was forced to undergo a really bad home perm, it burned my left ear, not my right. And there was a cute guy in my homeroom who played rock guitar and asked me to work on a few songs with him, but his name was not Ben Wheeler.

When I'm not writing novels that allegedly have nothing to do with my personal life, I also write TV scripts. I was born in Virginia and grew up in Connecticut. I've also lived in Seoul, South Korea; New York; Seattle; and Detroit. I now live in Los Angeles with my husband, who plays guitar—and yes, we jam occasionally, just like Patti and Ben.

Read an Excerpt

Good Enough

Chapter One

Pink Elephants

You've heard the joke, right? Why is a viola better than a violin? It burns longer.

Wait, here's another. You're lost in the woods and meet a pink elephant and a good viola player. Who do you ask for directions? The pink elephant—a good viola player is just a figment of your imagination.

Violists hate it when we violinists crack viola jokes. But my audition for the Connecticut All-State High School Orchestra is in ten minutes, and I'm trying to relax. I raise my bow above the strings, about to practice one last time. And that's when I hear it. This note.

This pure note, with a warm vibrato that could melt ice instantly, flows from a nearby trumpet. It floats across the room. My concentration's broken. That's never happened to me before.

I whirl around, looking for the source of the sound. Which isn't easy, because there are at least fifty trumpet players scattered throughout the lobby, practicing the same fanfare passage from Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, op. 34—one of the pieces the All-State Orchestra will perform at the annual concert next April.

It's eleven A.M. on the last Saturday of August, and auditions are being held at the University of Hartford's Hartt School, which is also where I have my violin lessons. Every year, students from all over Connecticut try out for a spot in the All-State Orchestra. Only the best are chosen, because we have to be technically advanced enough to practice the music to perfection on our own between now and April. Then we have an all-day rehearsal followed by a concert that evening. Students packthe lobby and nearby hallways, practicing furiously before their audition times. You've got a flautist doing C major arpeggios next to a cellist playing the first movement of the Boccherini Cello Concerto. And across from the cellist sits my friend Susan Summers, bobbing her head up and down as she runs through a difficult passage from a Vivaldi bassoon concerto. (I could insert a bassoon joke here,1 but I like Susan, and she's a really good musician, even though, well, she plays the bassoon.)

I glance at my sheet music—for the solo part of my audition, I will play the first movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor. I've won the first chair of All-State Concertmaster three years in a row. Being chosen concertmaster means you're the best violinist in the entire state. I'm hoping to win it again for my senior year. Getting concertmaster for the fourth straight year will look good on my college applications. Plus I know the Mendelssohn like the back of my hand. But the sixteenth notes splayed across the paper blur into a hazy, inky mess because I can't pay attention. Normally I can zone out all this white noise. What's wrong with me?

I duck as a neighboring violinist's bow nearly impales my left ear. She ignores me and keeps practicing . . .the Mendelssohn. I pause and listen as she scrambles to hit all the notes—she rushes the beat and her intonation is sharp. I sigh, relieved she's not as good as me.

And then I spot him. The one who's distracting me from preparing for my audition. He's standing in the far left corner of the lobby. The blinking fluorescent lights sparkle off the bell of his trumpet. His eyes are closed, and he stands perfectly straight at attention, his left hand curled in a C shape around the valves of the trumpet. He's tall and lean, dressed neatly in a pair of faded jeans and a white Oxford shirt, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. His wavy brown hair curls behind his ears, and long bangs cover his eyes.

For a moment I'm in another world, transfixed by each beautiful note that peals effortlessly from his lips. I'm glad he doesn't play violin, because then we'd have to compete against each other.

He finishes the fanfare. He lowers his trumpet and glances in my direction. He pushes a lock of hair away, and I notice how green his eyes are.

Silence. He's still staring at me. Too late, I realize he's caught me just standing here, gawking at him, my mouth partially open. My thick black-framed Harry Potter–style glasses slip down my nose. I push them up, wishing for the thousandth time that my nose wasn't so flat and that I didn't have the kind of pudgy Korean face that looks cute at age seven but not at age seventeen, and that I wasn't so short. Guys normally don't smile at me unless they're making fun of me for taking stuff like Star Wars a little too seriously or asking me to help tutor them in math. I look away from him, and I wonder why my heart is suddenly beating so fast.

While I'm thinking these thoughts, the cute trumpet guy walks right over, cradling the trumpet underneath his arm. He towers over me—I have to step back and crane my neck to see his eyes.

"Hi," he says.

All that floats through my brain is a trumpet joke. How many trumpet players does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but he'll do it too loudly. (Oh my God. Stop it.)

Cute Trumpet Guy just stands there, waiting for me to say something. I'm tongue-tied because I'm mesmerized by his eyes, which are the exact same shade of green as that of pimento-stuffed olives. I don't even like olives.

"What's wrong?" he asks. Suddenly I realize I've been frowning this whole time.

"You're too loud." I wince. I can't believe I just said that. But it is true—he was too loud and I couldn't concentrate.

"Sorry," he says. But he doesn't sound upset. "Are you nervous about your audition?"

What? Excuse me? Did Cute Trumpet Guy just ask if the Three-Times-in-a-Row-All-State-Concertmaster was nervous?

"You have to try and zone everyone out," he continues. "It's hard, but you can do it."

Good Enough. Copyright (c) by Paula Yoo . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Good Enough 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should definitely read this book! Inlaid with a tremendous amount of violin (Patti is working on the famous Mendelssohn concerto) it also depicts her changing from a very rigid, uptight girl to a fun-loving and relaxed one. She learns to have fun and not take everything too seriously, as her parents had previously pressured and forced her into believing. Paula Yoon showed the struggle that many children face while trying to please their parents. Patti is also an exceptional violinist, and ends up deciding what is more important- violin or an Ivy League school. Her parents pressure her (she is Korean) in everything: grades, music, SAT, while setting strict rules about what she is allowed to do with friends (and her later crush.) In the end, she ends up sneaking out of her Korean church group lock-in to go to a concert with her crush, in which her parents later find out while coming to give her the great news that she had been accepted into all of the Ivy League schools. Also, she secretly applies to Juilliard, (her friend drives her; her parents are unaware of this process) and she does make it! The book ends where she is still undecided (it ends after her All-State concert) but she definitely realizing how much the violin actually means to her. -LB
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely a good book about growing up and realizing the important things in life with a funny outlook on it all =)
terriko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A cute Asian-American coming of age story, where the girl who thought she should aspire to be the PKD (Perfect Korean Daughter) learns that there's a lot more to life (and to the people around her) than scoring 2300 on your SATs. Loved the music jokes, the recipes, and lead character Patti's great sense of humour about her self and her life. Definitely a young adult novel I'd recommend, even if you've never been forced to be the perfect korean daughter.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good Enough starts off with some rather hilarious band-related jokes, primarily bashing viola players (but you can probably replace it with any other instruments). I live off corny jokes, and the fact that Patti basically introduces herself with a joke really sat well with me. My favorite one from the book: From page 1 You're lost in the woods and meet a pink elephant and a good viola player. Who do you ask for directions? The pink elephant - a good viola player is just a figment of your imagination.The jokes only ran for the first few chapters, and then they fizzled out. However, Patti still managed to inject some humor every so often as she went through the trials and tribulations of being an Asian-American high school senior.The great thing about Good Enough was how realistic I found Patti to be, although I had not been musically-talented or as pressured as she had been. Based off my own experiences with Asian parents, I simply imagined Patti's experiences to be ten times more extreme. Boys were a big NO for both Patti and me, and I could relate to her pining after that cute trumpet player and hoped that he would be The One who would totally get her. I thank my parents for not pressuring me to go to HARVARDYALEPRINCETON, but still they wanted me to get a good useful education and not something that may not sustain me well.I would not go as far to say Good Enough was a "cute" book. Funny at times, but it still carried a hint of thoughtfulness as Patti tried to sort through what her parents wanted and what she may want. Good Enough was the "serious" cousin of skunk girl with less focus on boys and more focus on figuring out what one wants to do versus what one is expected to do.The ending can be seen as both satisfying and disappointing. Patti eventually makes her decision on what she wants to do, but the cute trumpet player storyline warrants more discussion. However, I suppose things all work out for Patti and the cute trumpet player - just not the way I would have assumed. Meh, I guess this is more true to what happens in real life. But it doesn't mean I have to particularly like it!
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very fast read, and I think most Juniors and Seniors will be able to relate to it. Senior year is stressful, and this book really let you feel it while also giving some interesting looks into what it's like to be a Korean American or to be very pressured by your parents. I wasn't a big fan of the ending where they skipped ahead several years and told you how everyone ended up... but I really enjoyed the book overall.
DF1A_JenniferI on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patti Yoon is a Korean-American and a senior in high school. Her Korean parents put a lot of pressure on her in order to make sure she gets into HarvardYalePrinceton. They also made her start playing violin when she was little so that she has a "hook" for the Ivy Leagues. But when she meets Ben Wheeler, she starts rethinking about HarvardYalePrinceton. If she gets into an Ivy League, does that mean giving up the violin, which she loves so much? Should she go against her parent's wishes and apply to Julliard? This book is about Patti finding herself, what she loves, and making decisions for herself. This book is hillarious! It sounds just like a teenager is talking and really shows the ups and downs of high school and pressure from parents. Paula Yoo is a fantastic writer.
lauren97224 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patti's parents constantly pressure her into being a PKD- perfect Korean daughter. They won't accept anything under a 2300 on her SAT's, are disappointed if she gets anything below an A, and practically make her apply to all the Ivy League schools. Good Enough is about Patti, and how she sometimes wishes she could just do what she wants, and what makes her happy, like the violin. And she wishes Ben, a super cute trumpet player, would think of her as more than a friend.I loved Good Enough and really liked how the chapters were set up.
DF1A_AubreeD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patti is a senior in high school. Her parents are Korean who put tons of pressure on her. All she can think about is being valedictorian, HarvardYalePrinceton (the universities her parents want her to go to), 2300 or better on the SAT, and being concertmaster of the state orchestra for the fourth year in a row. Her life turns inside out when she meets a really cute boy, Ben, at the all-state auditions. She gets to thinking about what she wants for a change rather than her parents. Patti has to choose between what her desires and her parents. I really loved this book because I could connect personally with Patti. I am also a senior going through the stress of SATs and college applications. Patti is hilarious at attempting the PKD or perfect Korean daughter. This is a really good book for senior or junior girls who are stressed out about life in general because fictional characters are going through the same things we are!
TigerLMS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patti Yoon's parents have her future mapped out for her. Have for years. The choices after high school are simple: Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Both parents came to the U.S. from Korea, and while successful in their own right, her parents have scraped and saved-- and forced Patti into countless SAT practice exams-- so Patti can have the best possible future. But-- and this is definitely a very new thought for Patti-- what if HarvardYalePrinceton is not what Patti really wants? Paula Yoo's narrative is both charming and hilarious, and proves very insightful to anyone who doesn't have a first generation Korean-American for a best friend. Need a recipe for Spam Kimshi? It's here. Need the top ten reasons why (insert countless list reasons, such as why your youth orchestra will fall apart performing the Mendelssohn concerto)? These are here as well. Many young adult readers with driven parents will undoubtedly recognize themselves in Patti, regardless of ethnic heritage, and every high school student will recognize-- and perhaps empathize-- with Patti as she develops her first major crush (and heartbreak), and questions what she really wants to do with her life. This is a 2010-2011 Missouri Gateway Readers Award nominee, and it's one of the best I've read so far. I highly recommend this book to teens!
DF1A_SarahG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first I thought this book was going to be really bad because it's about the SAT and the violin and things like that that i normally wouldn't want to read about. Once I started reading it, it was actually okay. It was interesting to read about what some people go through in order to succeed and the pressures they go through from their parents.
Conner23456 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. At first i did not think that i would like this book. But, i did like it because it was a very fast book to read and only took a couple hours to read. I think my favorite part was the concert that she went to with Ben and the concert in April. This book, is very imagesit because I personaly can see the people in the book. So,overall it is a good book. I also, like how there are footnotes included in the book
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patti Yoon is a straight-A student, first chair violinist, and destined for HarvardYalePrinceton if she can only get her SATs up to a 2300. She's always had this dream of being accepted into an Ivy league school, going on to make something of herself (and, more importantly, escaping high school). But from the moment she sets eyes on Ben (a.k.a. Cute Trumpet Guy), things start to change. Her whole life, Patti has had to live up to her Korean parents' expectations, but now she's finally starting to figure out what will make her happy. Patti is a really likeable main character and a hilarious narrator. I couldn't put this book down and I was laughing out loud reading it. Patti's surrounded by a cast of interesting supporting characters, including the dreamy, musical Ben, her strict parents (who have their reasons for expecting so much from her) and her geeky friends from Korean church. Yes, race is an issue at times in the book, but the bigger issue is Patti standing up for herself and figuring out that "success" and "happiness" are not necessarily one and the same.
JacquelynD More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. I'm not much of a fan of reading books, but I could not put this one down. I find it very relatable for teens. We all have been in Patti's shoes in one way or another.  Patti has to juggle her music, SATs, getting good grades in her AP classes, the pressure from her parents, and boys. Patti's parents have one big rule, no boys. Boys become a distraction and she cannot have any distractions if she is going to get into an Ivy League school. Patti has to remember what means the most to her, how much she loved her violin. This book is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much I reait twice. I love how it tells the story of a girl (Patti Yoon) stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something new. Do people actually read these reviews? And go by them?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't relate to this book, but one of my friends can. This is a book about pressure, too much pressure from yoir parents. I think you'll enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really liked the story.
gedCA More than 1 year ago
“…during breakfast I will memorize ten SAT vacab words while eating my cereal. When I’m writing an English paper on, say, Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ I’ll listen to my Sarah Chang Mendelsshohn CD at the same time because it helps me memorize the notes.”—page 54 I recently enjoy seeing Paula Yoo on an author’s discussion panel about Asian American fiction. After her stand-out, hilarious presentation, speaking about her book and her life, I was anxious to read her, young adult, novel, ‘Good Enough.’ I wasn’t disappointed. ‘Good Enough’ offers a delightfully warm, humorous, poignant glimpse at first American-born generations and their tendencies to overachievement—a reflection of their immigrant parent’s high ambitions and expectations. Recommended for teens who might like a break from stories about vampires. And for anyone else who enjoys reading about different / clashing / changing cultures. Read also, the non-fiction title: ‘School of Dreams,’ by Edward Humes. “My parents raised me to believe that Second Place is simply a polite way of saying “First Place for Losers.” NOOKbook edition, 209 pages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
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T_Yler More than 1 year ago
I found this book sitting in my library at school on friday, read it sunday, and absolutelt loved it! this book is well writte, is realistic, and i can relate to it in so many ways. As a high school violinist attempting to get a 2300 on the SAT's and get into an Ivy league school, this teen novel hits close to home. I would definetely reccomend this to everyone and anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
GOOD ENOUGH by Paula Yoo is the story of Patti Yoon, a Korean-American girl struggling to meet her strict parents' demands, and trying to find herself during her senior year of high school. A straight-A student, and master violinist, anyone would think that Patti has a bright future ahead of her. However, it is simply not good enough for her parents. She must get a 2300 or above on her SATs, participate in every church activity, and get into Harvard/Yale/Princeton.

However, this plan is put a little bit off track when Patti meets Ben Wheeler, a trumpet player in her state orchestra. Ben exposes her to new music, a new crush, and new dreams. Patti begins to wonder what life would be like without the perfect plan, without Harvard/Yale/Princeton, and with her love of music to guide her down the right path.

Will her passion for playing the violin trump all the demands her parents make of her? Will she turn out fine without attending the perfect college?

GOOD ENOUGH is a hysterical, wonderful book with a lovable main character and realistic situations. With chapter headings inspired by Spam and the SATs, teenagers will find it easy to relate to Patti as she sets off on a righteous path of self-discovery. One thing's for certain: GOOD ENOUGH is more than good enough. It's a fantastic, unique book that will keep you laughing long after your first read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago