Pippa Park Raises Her Game is a brand new Realistic Fiction book for Middle School readers from #ownvoices author Erin Yun. Here’s my review.
I’m so happy to introduce you to Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun (Amazon affiliate link). I really love a good twist on an old classic and this retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations, is such a fun book for the middle school crowd.
Pippa Park is a first-generation Korean-American girl who loves basketball but struggles in math. Her mother is still living in Korea, so she lives with her older sister Mina and Mina’s husband, Jung-Hwa. Because her math grades keep slipping, Mina makes Pippa quit the middle school basketball team to focus on her schoolwork.
Just when it seems like the end of all of Pippa’s basketball dreams, she receives a mysterious letter informing her that she has been selected to receive a basketball scholarship to the elite Lakeview Private School. The only condition is that she must maintain a 3.0 GPA to keep her scholarship and stay on the team.
This seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, but middle school is hard and Pippa struggles to figure out where she fits in. Will the kids at Lakeview like her if they find out she helps her sister run a laundromat and that she received a financial scholarship? Will the girls on her basketball team accept her if they discover that she came from public school and a rival team? She doesn’t want to lie, but half-truths feel like the safest way to fit in at her new school.
Things seem to be going well, until Pippa starts receiving anonymous messages from someone threatening to expose her. It’s time for Pippa to remember who she is, who her real friends are, and how much she appreciates her hardworking family.
Review of Pippa Park Raises Her Game
I love all the plot points Yun adapts from Dickens. Even the Havishams make an appearance, but in Yun’s version Estella is actually Eliot, a handsome eighth grader who tutors Pippa in math. It was especially fun to read because I’m familiar with Great Expectations, but even if you don’t know anything about the Dicken’s classic, this story can stand on its own.
I also enjoyed the perspective that #ownvoices author Erin Yun brings to Pippa’s experience as a Korean-American girl. Readers will appreciate the glimpse into Korean culture, as well as gain a better understanding of the unique challenges and stereotypes faced by Asian-American teens. Pippa’s voice is so authentic!
I recommend this one for middle school kids, ages 10 to 14 (the publisher recommends this one for kids ages 10-12) who enjoy Realistic Fiction. My eighth grader devoured this one and declared it a fantastic page-turner. She really enjoyed the mystery as well as the relatable themes of friendship in middle school and growing up. I’m handing it off to my sixth grader now and I’m confident she’s going to love it.
Check out the book on Amazon here. (Amazon affiliate link)
I received a copy of Pippa Park Raises Her Game from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are entirely my own.