Wait for Me

by An Na

Na’s novel unfolds in chapters that alternate between the first-person narrative... read more

Na’s novel unfolds in chapters that alternate between the first-person narrative of teenage Mina, and third-person accounts of her younger sister, Suna. The Korean American sisters’ bitter, demanding mother, Uhmma, expects Mina to obtain a scholarship to Harvard. Mina has started lying, cheating, and stealing from her parents’ laundry business, creating a web of subterfuge in a desperate attempt to ease the tremendous pressure to succeed. At the same time, Uhmma all but ignores Suna, who cannot remember a time when her mother didn’t seem angry with her. Although she can’t hear well, there is little that observant Suna doesn’t notice. But she knows she can rely on her gentle father for tenderness and Mina for understanding. Then Ysrael, a Mexican immigrant, is hired to help out at the laundry. Ysrael is full of dreams of his own making, and his spirit warms Mina. Mina can’t imagine following her own dreams—she can’t even imagine what her own dreams would be. As she and Ysrael grow closer, he encourages her to break free from the pressure, and Suna, who knows she cannot share in their bond, realizes that breaking free for Mina could mean leaving her behind. An Na’s sensory-rich novel is weighted with tension from its opening page. Her lovely, clear, crisp prose tells the story of two sisters drowning in sadness and uncertainty until they finally surface into the air and light. (Ages 12–16)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007

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