I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Throwback by Maurene Goo
Published by Zando Young Readers on April 11, 2023
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Science Fiction
Source: the publisher
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Back to the Future meets The Joy Luck Club in this YA contemporary romance about a Korean American girl sent back to the ’90s to (reluctantly) help her teenage mom win Homecoming Queen.
Being a first-generation Asian American immigrant is hard. You know what’s harder? Being the daughter of one. Samantha Kang has never gotten along with her mother, Priscilla—and has never understood her bougie-nightmare, John Hughes high school expectations. After a huge fight between them, Sam is desperate to move forward—but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.
To her shock, Sam finds herself back in high school . . . in the ’90s . . . with a 17-year-old Priscilla. Now this Gen Z girl must try to fit into an analog world. She’s got the fashion down, but everything else is baffling. What is “microfiche”? What’s with the casual racism and misogyny? And why does it feel like Priscilla is someone she could actually be . . . friends with?
Sam’s blast to the past has her finding the right romance in the wrong time while questioning everything she thought she knew about her mom . . . and herself. Will Sam figure out what she needs to do to fix things for her mom so that she can go back to a time she understands? Brimming with heart and humor, Maurene Goo’s time-travel romance asks big questions about what exactly one inherits and loses in the immigrant experience.
I really liked the whole Back to the Future feel of this one. For the most part I also really enjoyed all the things that Samantha noticed differences in between her time and the 90s. It was definitely so interesting to see all the things that she was shocked about the students just putting up with or accepting as normal compared to what students today do. Another thing that really grabbed me was how she tried to help her mom win homecoming queen using strategies again from her future timeline, or our present, things that back then just weren’t the way people consumed information or made decisions. Not to mention when they talked about shopping malls in the 90s how nostalgic that made me. I miss shopping malls like that. And there was a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but I liked it for sure!
The way the author handled how Sam actually had to complete things a little differently than she thought to get back to her own time was something I’d kind of figured. The way the future was “changed” thanks to her time in the past was good, and I liked some of the things we learned might have been different than she thought all along. I only had a few issues with some of the things Sam tried to push in the past, but nothing major, as it totally fits with kids of today. And the way the happily ever after ending worked out for this book, for more characters than might have been expected, was perfect! This book was a winner for me!