Best friends b and Rang are all each other have. Their parents are absent, their teachers avert their eyes when they walk by. Everyone else in town acts like they live in Seoul even though it's painfully obvious they don't. When Rang begins to be bullied horribly by the boys in baseball hats, b fends them off. But one day Rang unintentionally tells the whole class about b's dying sister and how her family is poor, and each of them finds herself desperately alone. The only place they can reclaim themselves, and perhaps each other, is beyond the part of town where lunatics live--the End.
In a piercing, heartbreaking, and astonishingly honest voice, Kim Sagwa's b, Book, and Me walks the precipice between youth and adulthood, reminding us how perilous the edge can be.
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About the Author
KIM SAGWA is one of South Korea's most acclaimed young writers. She is the author of several novels, including Mina, published by Two Lines Press in 2018, story collections, and works of nonfiction, and has been shortlisted for several major South Korean awards, including the Munji Prize and the Young Writers Award. She lives in New York City.
"At turns raw and piercing, dreamy and surreal, Kim's latest import...is a pressing indictment of today's too-often onerous transition toward uncertain adulthood." --Booklist, Starred Review
"Best friends are especially important for those who have no family to understand them, and South Korean writer [Kim Sagwa] tells the eerie story of what can happen when those friendships are cut off. It's a familiar picture of teenage pain, despite the faraway setting."--Glamour, "The Best Books of 2020 (So Far)"
"Readers looking for fresh, new voices will want to pick up b, Book, and Me, a story about two friends struggling to move into adulthood in a South Korean town...It's a perfect novel for lovers of translated fiction and coming-of-age stories alike." --Book Riot, "Most Anticipated Books 2020"
"A haunting and complex portrayal of teenage angst in today's modern society...Kim skillfully probes the relationship between the dangerous and existential angst of adolescents and the pressures of trying to survive in a globalist-capitalist world." --Korean Literature Now
"...the text is broken into short, sometimes-dreamlike sections that capture [the characters'] teenage angst and moods... A dark, dystopian view of South Korean adolescence, hopelessness, and the cruelties children are capable of inflicting on each other." --Kirkus Reviews
"[Kim's] polemics lurk rather than pounce...she wants us to feel not only the immediate hurt but the dread of pummeling to come. This, Sagwa implies, is what we're all in for unless the word 'unless' stops sounding absurdly impossible." --On the Seawall
"Surreal and luminous." --Foreword Reviews
Praise for Mina
"Kim Sagwa is South Korea's young, brilliant, fearless writer." -- Don Mee Choi, author of Hardly War
"Award-winning Korean author Kim's first novel to be translated into English is a powerful portrayal of teenage angst. . . . [It] will keep readers rapt until the end." --Booklist, Starred Review
"[Kim] is an expert, crafting an unsettling, deeply felt, and ultimately devastating depiction of the turmoil of youth." --Publishers Weekly
"The novel is full of such vivid details, difficult to read and more difficult to forget. . . . A startling, disturbing portrait of teenage friendship." --Kirkus
"Mina gets to the core of Korean teenagers. Kim Sagwa's fragmented rhetoric stands for a generation that has no choice but to set imitation as its standard. The novel, which points out a universal desire for unattainable genuineness, focuses on teenagers while at the same time shining light on Korean society at large. Readers open their eyes wide to the agonizing violence of a character torn up by the inability to bear self-deception." --Han Yujoo, author of The Impossible Fairy Tale