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Modern Age

Author: Cho, John
Buy at Amazon |

Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1992
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: LA Riots, prejudice and racism
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Upper Middle Grade
Format: Chapter Book
Published: 2022

Content Warning
stealing, hiding a gun, getting into a car with a stranger

American History > Modern Age

Troublemaker follows the events of the LA Riots through the eyes of 12-year-old Jordan as he navigates school and family. This book will highlight the unique Korean American perspective.

12-year-old Jordan feels like he can't live up to the example his older sister set, or his parent's expectations. When he returns home from school one day hoping to hide his suspension, Los Angeles has reached a turning point. In the wake of the acquittal of the police officers filmed beating Rodney King, as well as the shooting of a young black teen, Latasha Harlins by a Korean store owner, the country is at the precipice of confronting its racist past and present.

As tensions escalate, Jordan's father leaves to check on the family store, spurring Jordan and his friends to embark on a dangerous journey to come to his aide, and come to terms with the racism within and affecting their community.

Emily's Review

This book had a lot of great things to say, and with a face-paced plot, and family drama, it made for an enjoyable read. I thought the conversations about race and police violence were very relevant, and the discussions about living up to parents' expectations were very well done. I appreciate that the family drama is resolved by the end of the book as well.

My one negative about this book is that Jordan makes SO MANY bad choices throughout this story - many of them putting him and his friend in direct danger, and there are seemingly no consequences for any of them. A large part of the plot revolves around him hiding a gun in his backpack to bring to his father, but not telling anyone about it. This is definitely a book to read WITH your child so you can discuss these things together.

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