Announcing the Soshelf Distancing Book Club!


Hi all! I hope you are doing well. I just finished my first three days of online classes and it's certainly been a transition.

On COVID-19 and Racism Toward Asian-Americans


I don't remember the first time that I knew I was Asian, but my mom tells me it went something like this: I emerged smiling from my kindergarten classroom, equipped with my hot pink Hello Kitty backpack. Parents clustered outside, waiting to pick up their kids after a day of counting by tens and drawing potato-heads we thought were portraits. My mom greeted me in Korean, her native tongue. Suddenly aware of my classmates and the stares of their parents, I declared to the eyes around me, "I don't know what she's saying."

I don't remember this moment. But I know now that it made me feel other. I thought that rejecting my mother's tongue and making sure that these strangers knew that I spoke English would dye my hair and bleach my skin. I could claim the whiteness of my dad, and my mom could be other.

Boston, Birthdays, & Byes: a Belated Recap of February 2020


“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
- Michelle Obama, Becoming

Hi all! I hope you are home safe and healthy. I am writing this post from my bedroom at home, surrounded by photos and posters I plastered on my wall during my sophomore year of high school. Things are bittersweet: I am enjoying the extra time with my younger sister, but my spring break was extended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Because the college called the decision after I had already left for break, I am equipped with about a week and a half's worth of clothes. Like many of my peers, I am still processing that the next time I step foot on campus, I may very well be a sophomore in college. But, I am grateful that schools across the country are striving to put the health of students and staff first and seek alternative methods of learning.

Blog Tour + Review: Anna K.: A Love Story


Thank you to Flatiron Books at Macmillan Publishers for inviting me to participate in the Anna K blog tour! I received an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.
"Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way."

In this modern-day retelling of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Anna K. grapples with living defined by her parents and society or choosing her own, flawed path. At 17, Anna K. has already secured a relationship with the seemingly-perfect Harvard student and "Greenwich OG", Alexander, that her community believes will end in marriage. But, an unexpected encounter and later affair with Alexia "Count" Vronsky, drives her to question whether she feels fulfilled in her relationship with Alexander and with life. In Anna's social circle conflict and romance also abound. Steven, Anna's older brother, cheats on his girlfriend Lolly; Kimmie, Lolly's younger sister, wrestles with her love for Vronsky and her personal identity after an injury upended her ice-skating career; Dustin, Steven's tutor, wonders how he could win the favor of one of the elite girls. When Anna's affair, scandals, and tragedy shock her community, Anna and her friends challenge their values and what love means to them.

How I Review Books: 7 Steps to a Killer Book Review


I love to read and review books. As my website has changed with me since I started it in eighth grade, enduring different name changes, designs, and topics of discussion, book reviews have remained a staple.

As I transitioned from middle school to high school, and more recently, high school to college, my writing and my methods for tackling book reviews have changed a lot. Today I wanted to share my current method for reviewing books, both to compare with fellow book bloggers (hey guys!) and offer some tips I've learned throughout my journey.

TV, Teens & Turmoil: Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee Review


Thank you to Random House Children's Crown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.
"On TV, things are uncomplicated, with lots of fanfare. But sometimes real life is better, in all of its complications, in all of its everyday, quiet ache."

In this novel, Jeff Zenter weaves the perspectives of high school seniors Josie and Delia, known to their horror movie show audience as Rayne and Delilah. On "Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee", the girls watch and review old films that Delia's father shared with her as a child. For Josie, the show is practice for her future career in television. As high school graduation approaches, however, Josie struggles to choose between staying in her hometown to continue the local show and moving to Knoxville to pursue something bigger: an internship at the Food Network. She also unexpectedly falls in love with a guest on her show, Lawson, further complicating her decision. For Delia, the show has more personal meaning: "Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee" is her escape from her home situation, where Delia must care for her mother, and a way to reach out to the father that left her. Zenter's book illustrates the hard decisions that young adults face during their transition to life after high school.

Comfort, College, & Canada: January 2020 Recap


“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” -
- John Steinbeck

I can't believe that January is already over. This month was eventful for me: I transitioned from a restorative winter break at home to an increasingly busy second semester of college. Looking back, the days felt slow, but the weeks flew by.

Why is the Korean Church So Important to the Korean-American Community? (I Made a Podcast!)


"When you come to a strange place, you need someone to help you. You need someone to talk to you and share your meals and your life and your job. So we need as a person, we need community, we need somebody other than yourself. That’s natural. We need each other."  - Barbara Park

During my first semester of college, I took a freshman seminar called American Soundscapes. In this class, we explored a variety of music in the United States and the diaspora and communities behind them. From traditional Irish music in Boston to North Indian classical dance in San Francisco and Arab music in Detroit, our case studies ventured to unexpected and vibrant nodes of culture.

Do the Ends Justify the Means? Descendant of the Crane Book Review


Thank you to Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with an advanced reader copy for review. Receiving this galley does not impact my opinion of the book.
"If you want to understand a person, peer at his heart through the window of his prejudices and assumptions."

Descendant of the Crane follows the journey of Hesina of Yan as she searches for her father's true killer. Now the queen, Hesina holds the power to order a formal investigation and trial to identify the murderer. Yet the young leader's pursuit of justice is not so simple. Hesina hides her own act of treason from the public: seeking the assistance of soothes, clairvoyants rejected by society. To complicate matters, Hesina's representative in court, Akira, is a criminal himself, and the court desires a quick answer rather than a fair trial. Even worse, other kingdoms, sensing the new court's vulnerability, near closer to war. With the help of her royal siblings, Sanjing, Caiyan, Lillian, and Rou, and her representative, Akira, Hesina must quell public dissent and mediate court politics to find the king's murderer and save her kingdom.

My 2020 Resolutions


New year, new me? Not exactly. 

For me, 2019 was a year of renewal. I felt like a new me: stronger, happier, and once more inspired. As I reflected on the year past and look towards the future, I wanted to create goals that would challenge me but also expand upon the progress I made in 2019. In 2020, I don't need to be a "new me". I can enhance, enrich, and expand to build upon the last year and be the best me I can be.