Books by An Na

Released: March 6, 2018

"Thoughtful readers who appreciate literary fiction will find much to savor in this lyrical novel suffused with beauty and terror. (Fiction. 12-adult)"
Walking away from those we love most may seem like the kindest thing we can do, but it's a choice that will forever haunt those we leave behind. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2009

In her succinct introduction to this up-and-down story collection, editor Jill Santopolo mentions the "dotted line" that separates childhood from adulthood, a time when the young individual must begin to negotiate the world alone. It's a tough time, and frequently in these narratives the protagonist's assumptions are inaccurate or his or her choices are imperfect. Perhaps that's why the tone of these six stories, each penned by a well-regarded YA author and followed by a biographical note thereon, is largely serious, even grim. K.L. Going's "Survival," an account of an angsty high-school senior who struggles to come to terms with her older sister's never-ending yet still shocking betrayal, pulls off the difficult feat of ending on a note that's simultaneously resigned and triumphant. The most touching tale is Beth Kephart's "The Longest Distance," about a girl trying to cope after her best friend's suicide. In several of the stories, most notably An Na's "Complication," the protagonist must sort through myriad moral complexities—in other words, the stuff and substance of adulthood. (Short stories. 14 & up)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2008

The self-imposed pressure to appear as beautiful as her older sister is accentuated by a makeover gift Joyce receives from her domineering family benefactor, Aunt Gomo. The prospect of attracting the good-looking JFK (John Ford Kang) isn't the only concern for this Korean teen who's balancing school and family responsibilities with her parent's expectations for daily assistance in their busy restaurant. But when it becomes clear that the makeover extends to plastic surgery to create a western-looking fold in her eyelids, Joyce is torn between respectfully complying and her discomfort in surgically creating a look more acceptable to her Aunt, who has appeased her own insecurities with surgery. Na poses a two-fold dilemma for girls of all races. How should physical beauty be interpreted and to what extent should a girl be coerced into developing positive self-confidence? Na deftly provides alternative perspectives with some humorous disaster scenarios as consequences of Aunt Gomo's good intentions with other family members' "improvement gifts." But Helen, the shy and soon-to-be-coming-out lesbian sister, ultimately helps Joyce realize self-respect leads to self-esteem and admiration for each other's beautiful differences. A lighthearted and thought-provoking look at a serious teen issue. (Fiction. 12-15)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2006

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)Read full book review >