Book Review: Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim by Patricia Park

*I received a digital ARC on NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim
Author: Patricia Park
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
ISBN: 9780593563373

Synopsis:
Alejandra Kim doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere. At her wealthy Manhattan high school, her súper Spanish name and súper Korean face do not compute to her mostly white “woke” classmates and teachers. In her Jackson Heights neighborhood, she’s not Latinx enough. Even at home, Ale feels unwelcome. And things at home have only gotten worse since Papi’s body was discovered on the subway tracks.

Ale wants nothing more than to escape the city for the wide-open spaces of the prestigious Wyder University. But when a microaggression at school thrusts Ale into the spotlight—and into a discussion she didn’t ask for—Ale must discover what is means to carve out a space for yourself to belong.

———

Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim (hereafter ISOCAK) is an excellent representation of youth in the big city in today’s world, coming head-to-head with understanding identity, culture, respect, race and racism, and what it means to be a good person and a good friend. Alejandra Kim is one of the most interesting and complex characters I’ve seen in a young adult fiction. Her cultural background and current upbringing have left her feeling like there’s no real place where she belongs. She’s not Korean enough, not Latinx enough, not American enough, to check the boxes that people expect her to check. This novel is her journey to self-discovery where she learns to break the mould and cast off expectations of who she should be, to become who she really is.

Not only is her high school life, particularly her final year, filled with the typical teen dramas that one would expect in that last year before college, but she’s also strikingly aware off the performance of diversity, the realities of privilege, and the struggle with stereotypes that pervades her elite, majority-white school in NYC. Ale has a number of faces she wears, when she’s at home in Queens with her parents, with her childhood best friend, at her school with her upper class friends. She herself is not without her own prejudices, and thus is perfectly imperfect as a character. She has her own issues to grapple with before she can make change in the world around her. This story is her journey through these issues, with confronting her past, and with discovering her future to fully understand her place in this world.

This book is engaging, topical, and brings to light issues and conversations about race and diversity that are key to drive change and make a difference. I think young readers will appreciate Ale’s sense of human, but also her brutal honesty as she navigates a world that doesn’t necessarily favour (or perhaps over idolizes) her culture. I personally loved reading Ale’s story and watching her blossom and refine into a driving force for real change and impact in the world. I think she’ll be a truly inspiring character for many a reader.

Happy reading!

Published by wornpagesandink

Hi! I'm Jaaron. I'm a book-obsessed blogger, writer, reader, coffee-drinker, and dog-lover. I have a B.A.H. in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Book and Magazine publishing. I've been fortunate to have worked in both trade and educational publishing. If you have any recommendations for excellent reads, let me know!

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