Grace K. Shim, author of "Not Your Average Jo" in converstation with Mitali Perkins

Event date: 

Saturday, March 16, 2024 - 2:00pm

Event address: 

276 Village Square
Orinda, CA 94563-2504


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From the author of THE NOH FAMILY, a second standalone YA novel that follows a Korean American teen as she navigates the treacherous world of nepo babies and cultural appropriation that is the Los Angeles music scene. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi, Maurene Goo, and Emiko Jean.

Riley Jo is a teenager who knows what she wants. Born and raised in Bentonville, Arkansas, this Korean American girl has her sights set on being a musician. So when her parents are surprisingly cool about her attending the prestigious Los Angeles–based arts-focused boarding school her senior year of high school, she jumps at the chance. This is her moment to make her indie rock dreams a reality! 

Things at Carlmont Academy start out strong: She joins a band, and they set out to make plans to perform at the annual spring concert—with a chance to land a record contract. Another student, Xander, decides his school project will be a documentary about the band leading up to their first show. But not everything goes how Riley Jo imagined. She is soon sidelined when her other bandmates feel she is "too Asian" to be their lead singer, and they choose her classmate Bodhi Collins for the role instead.

Bodhi is rock music royalty, with a dad who is a famous music exec. And he's got the "all-American rock star look." Her classmates suggest she try making K-pop,  but her heart is in indie rock. Riley Jo decides to take matters into her own hands and writes an original song to showcase her talent. But Bodhi takes the credit . . . and given his connections, the band lets him.

Xander captures all of this in his film, which he leaks in order to show the truth behind the band. Riley Jo decides to sign up for the spring concert and perform on her own . . . but will she finally be able to take center stage?

Grace K. Shim lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of the young adult novels The Noh Family and Not Your Average Jo. You can find Grace on Twitter @gracemisplaced1 and on Instagram @gkshimwrites.

Mitali Perkins has written several books for young readers, including Home Is in BetweenBetween Us and AbuelaForward Me Back to YouYou Bring the Distant NearRickshaw Girl, and Bamboo People. Mitali was born in India and currently resides in Northern California.


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Not Your Average Jo By Grace K. Shim Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593462768
Availability: Coming Soon—Available for pre-order.
Published: Kokila - March 12th, 2024