Mina is the perfect daughter. Bound for Harvard, president of the honor society, straight A student, all while she works at her family’s dry cleaners and helps care for her hearing-impaired younger sister. On the outside, Mina does everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her life is a lie.At the height of a heat wave, the summer before her senior year, Mina meets the one person to whom she cannot lie. Ysrale, a young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician, comes to work at the dry cleaners and asks Mina the one question that scares her most. What does she want? Mina finds herself torn between living her mother’s dreams, caring for her younger sister, grasping the love that Ysrael offers, and the most difficult of all, living a life that is true.With sensitivity and grace, An Na weaves an intriguing story of a young woman caught in the threads of secrets and lies, struggling for love and finding a voice of her own.
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.