*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Noh Family
Author: Grace K. Shim
Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Publication Date: May 03, 2022
When her friends gift her a 23-and-Me test as a gag, high school senior Chloe Chang doesn’t think much of trying it out. She doesn’t believe anything will come of it—she’s an only child, her mother is an orphan, and her father died in Seoul before she was even born, and before her mother moved to Oklahoma. It’s been just Chloe and her mom her whole life. But the DNA test reveals something Chloe never expected—she’s got a whole extended family from her father’s side half a world away in Korea.. So, despite her mother’s reservations, Chloe travels to Seoul and is whisked into the lap of luxury . . . but something feels wrong. Soon Chloe will discover the reason why her mother never told her about her dad’s family, and why the Nohs wanted her in Seoul in the first place. Could joining the Noh family be worse than having no family at all?
What a fun read! The Noh Family is a Crazy Rich Asians meets Gilmore Girls blend that highlights the true meaning of family and, news flash, family isn’t always the blood relatives you’re related to; it’s the people you choose. Chloe has never known her father, nor her father’s family. When a DNA test leads her to his relatives for the very first time, Chloe isn’t sure if she belongs. All she knows is that her mom kept some pretty big secrets from her and now she wants answers. The door to this mysterious new world is opened and Chloe is ready to uncover the truth.
I loved Chloe’s independent spirit and her drive to understand herself and her father better. She has a deep-seeded desire to know her family more and she is so genuine in her quest. Drama and chaos ensues! Whatever Chloe imagined her dad’s family to be, it was nothing like who they turned out to be: wealthy, powerful, business-driven socialites living deep in the heart of Seoul, Korea. Their world is nuanced, secretive, exclusive, and elitist. It’s so far removed from the humble home that Chloe grew up in with her mother. But her deep belief in the power of good and a drive to understand her paternal family keeps Chloe working hard to begin building a foundation with her grandmother, aunt, and cousins. Unbeknownst to her, they’re intentions are not all their cracked up to be.
This coming-of-age story has love, romance, deception, and mad K-drama vibes. It is a wonderful read of one young woman’s journey to self-discovery and her understanding that you are so much more than your blood family; you are the person that you decide to be.
I would have loved to learn more about Chloe’s father in the end, and perhaps that yet to come. This story isn’t meant to be a one-off. If I read the final chapter right, we’ll be seeing more of Chloe soon.