Monday, February 3, 2020

PIPPA PARK RAISES HER GAME by Erin Yun – A young basketball star tries for a new life

I’m not a big sports person, but I know lots of kids are, and it’s not always easy to find sports-related books with female main characters. Although I've never read Great Expectations, this book is a re-imagining of that classic story by Dickens.

Description from the publisher:

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look. So when Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself by following the “Rules of Cool.”

At Lakeview, Pippa juggles old and new friends, an unrequited crush, and the pressure to perform academically and athletically while keeping her past and her family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates. But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened.

As things begin to spiral out of control, Pippa discovers the real reason she was admitted to Lakeview and wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun was published by Fabled Films Press in 2020.

Why you want to read this book:

If you love reading about sports, you’ll want to read this one! There are tense moments on the basketball court as Pippa tries to fit in with her new team. But what really kept me turning the pages was the contrast and tension between Pippa’s family situation and her new friends at private school.  This is a great story about how a girl struggles to fit in.  


I was the only person in the park.
Tucking a damp strand of hair back behind one ear, I surveyed the abandoned slides and empty benches.

If you’re a writer…

Consider studying the action scenes in this novel, especially if you’re writing about sports. The pace picks up and I felt like I was right there in the moment when Pippa was playing basketball.  

If you’re an educator…

This book would be a good one for a classroom or school library collection. The author includes many interesting details about Pippa’s experience as a Korean American background. Pippa’s struggles with trying to fit in with a peer group and make friends will be familiar to many readers.  How much do you tell others about yourself? Do you tell them the truth or adjust the truth to look different, to be what you think others want you to be?  

If you’re looking for more middle grade reads, check out the list over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. It's interesting to read both yours and Greg's comments. This sounds like a fun book. I'll look for it. Thanks for your review.

  2. I enjoyed your insightful review of this new book. It sounds like a good read with lots of interesting topics and characters. Thanks for sharing it with us for MMGM!

  3. Great minds think alike! We share some of the same type of enthusiasm for this book. Thanks for helping spread the word on MMGM.

  4. Two great reviews today on Pippa! I'm even more excited to get a copy. Love books about the Korean culture!

  5. I'm not generally drawn to the sports books but this one sounds deeper and I was a big fan of basketball as a teen! Not terribly good, but I had lots of enthusiasm. ;) I'll be on the lookout for this one--thanks!

  6. Funny that you and Greg both reviewed this one this week. I'm glad you both liked it so much.

  7. Seeing this book on two blogs this week makes me even more curious about it. Sounds like a great read. Awesome review! So glad you enjoyed this one. :)


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