I love reading about history and historical fiction. I knew I would like The Kinship of Secrets based on the summary. But I was excited because I almost knew nothing about Korean history and I actually wanted to. Did The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim fulfill the promise? Read on to know more.
About the book
Book Name: The Kinship of Secrets
Author: Eugenia Kim
Genre: Fiction – Drama, Literary, historical
Characters: Calvin, Najin, Miran and Inja Cho, Halmeoni, Harabeoji,
Setting: South Korea, Washington DC, The United States of America
Just a short while after the World War II and the subsequent freedom from Japanese annexation, Najin and Calvin Cho move from Korea to the USA on the lookout for better prospective.
With a plan to return within two years, they take only their eldest daughter Miran with them, leaving the youngest Inja in the care of her aging parents and Najin’s brother.
Unexpectedly, the Korean War breaks out making it almost impossible for a reunion in the near future. Miran grows in an American suburbia, under the guilt and pressures of being the chosen one, while Inja’s problems are much bigger living in a war torn country with scanty resources.
When they finally get to meet after a decade and a half, would there still be a chance to family despite the horde of secrets between them? Would the years passed matter or just the familial bonds good enough form the rest of the story in The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim.
I was not sure what to expect when I picked the book and frankly it took me a while to get into the story. But about 30 pages in, I was completely sucked in. The alternating narratives between the sisters worked very well in this case as did the straight forward narrative.
Kim ensures the reader can trace the disparity between the two girls and the parallel worlds they live in. I adored the much more simplistic life of Inja and her devoted love towards her uncle, despite the dire circumstances they faced.
And Miran always knew that she had a privileged life and bore the brunt of it. She feels like an outsider in her own house when they all speak Korean and grows up watching the packages sent to Korea.
I am usually “heartless” when it comes to fictional characters, but somehow the plight of the young girls made me sob like a baby. And the credit goes to the author for that.
The Kinship of Secrets was an emotional read with compelling characters that are quintessentially Asian. I was surprised to see the many similarities between the traditions and yesteryear’s habits (as heard from family) of Korea and India. The importance of family and putting others first seem to be a common thread.
The Kinship of Secrets is inspired by a true story, so do not miss out on the Author’s note at the end of the book. I am looking forward to reading her other book, The Calligrapher’s Daughter.
What worked for me
- The alternating narratives works well and shows the contrast between the lives of the sisters.
- I loved the author’s writing style and it invoked so many emotions in me. She also made reading the Korean history more fun.
- Knowing that The Kinship of Secrets was inspired by true events made it all the more interesting.
What may have been better
- I felt the pre-adolescent chapters could have been shorter.
The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim is a poignant tale about sisterhood, family and secrets that keep them all together. If you are interested in an emotional read with lots of Korean history, you won’t be disappointed with this one.
Have you read The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim? What other books that have moved you to tears? Can you recommend some books set in a war background? Let us talk.
I know the times are hard and troubling and we bookworms are trying to escape the pressure of the real world. And so I am here help you do that with a great recommendation. Let us review Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, shall we?
About the book
Book Name: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Fiction – Romance
Characters: Alex Claremont-Diaz and his sister June, Nora Holleran (Alex’s best friend), Prince Henry George Edward James Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor, his sister Bea and Pez (Henry’s best friend)
Setting: Washington DC, The United States of America
The sons of the first families of The USA and the UK hate each other dislike each other and the world knows it. The first families and their PRs decide to intervene and stage a fake Instagram relationship.
What starts as a fake friendship between Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry blossoms into something more. But is coming out as gay worth all the drama in the royal family? And more importantly is their love worth causing a political derailment around the world? You will have to read Red, White & Royal Blue to know more.
My initial thoughts
Red, White & Royal Blue was highly addictive and hilarious that you cannot put it down once you start. The banter between the leads is witty and adorable. The writing is top notch and Casey McQuiston knows to keep the readers hooked until the end.
Above all, what struck close to me was the lead characters and how much life like they both were. And the sub plots and side characters especially June, Bea and Nora, were as deep as they can be. Oh I loved them all.
Things that worked for me
- The writing is fast paced and quite an easy flow.
- I loved the characters and seriously appreciate how deep their arcs were.
- The witty banter and the chemistry between the leads is adorable.
- An extra brownie point for the very diverse cast.
Things that didn’t work for me
Red, White & Royal Blue is not going to be your gateway to learn every bit of the politics of USA. You get what you see!
Red, White & Royal Blue is such a cute, sweet and funny LGBTQA romance that will definitely keep your lock down sorrows go away. You need this in your life!
Let us chat
Have you read this hyped up book? How did you like it? What are you reading to keep you distracted from the reality? Let us talk.
The Upside of Unrequited tells a tale that the readers of YA have read several times. It definitely talks about first love and teenage angst. But what makes this novel by Becky Albertalli such a hit both among young and new adults? Read my review to know more.
About The Upside of Unrequited
Book Name: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult Romance
Characters: Molly and Cassie Peskin-Suso, Reid, Will, Mina
Setting: Washington DC, The USA
Plot Summary of The Upside of Unrequited
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso has never had a kiss and has about 26 crushes that she has never made the move upon. She is shy, awkward and conscious about her body. Her fraternal twin Cassie, her best friend, is just the opposite.
Things change when Cassie falls in love with Mina. Molly is forced to get out of her aloofness and make new friends. Mina’s best friend Will takes a liking to her and he is about to become Molly’s 27th love interest when she meets Reid, her nerdy co-worker.
With Cassie moving further apart from her, Molly is forced to handle having the attention of two guys alone. To top it, her parents are finally tying their knots with the legalization of gay marriages in the USA and she has more on her plate than ever.
Will Molly and her awkward self, be able to pull this off? Will Will become her 27th unrequited love (did you see what I did there?) or is it someone else? You will have to read the book to know more.
Book review of The Upside of Unrequited
The Upside of Unrequited deals with several themes that are relevant in today’s world – peer pressure, body image, teenage love, and rejection.
I loved the writing. The style of the author is definitely quirky and cheerful that kept me hooked until the end.
One thing that The Upside of Unrequited has been continually praised for is the diverse representation of minorities, interracial and LGBTQ couples and families. The characters are diverse, of course, well thought out but still are too perfect to be relatable, except maybe for Molly.
Molly’s flawed, funny, socially inept characterization would be relatable to everyone who has had that phase. I like how family and sisterhood was important to her.
I would have loved Molly except that for the fact she had one goal in her life – finding and kissing her boyfriend. And all of a sudden she gains her self-worth when she finds herself a guy. Erm.. definitely something we don’t want books to reinforce of the kids today.
Despite the predictability in the plot, as one might find in most of YA romances, Becky Albertalli’s writing wins the book for me, I could not put the book down even for a minute before I could finish it.
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Have you read The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli? Did you enjoy the diverse characters or you had the problems that I did? Which is your favorite Becky Albertalli book? Let us talk.