Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

Book Summary

Chloe is frustrated in her all-white community, because nobody really seems to "get" the fact that she is Korean, or what that means. When a new teacher, who is also Korean, moves to town, Chloe is excited to connect with her. She's confused about why her parents won't share their Korean experiences with her, and competing for first chair in her orchestra, and dealing with lots of typical middle school problems.
Unidentified Suburban Object book cover
Unidentified Suburban Object

Book Review

I was so eager to read this book for the first time, and there were so many things that were almost right with it. Chloe's concerns and life details have some great authenticity, and this is managed without slang or pop culture references that would immediately date the book. Her conflicts with casual racism in her community are important, and the way she is forced to accept some consequences for bad behavior at school is a good message about dealing with things, even when they aren't going your way. However, there is a big secret about Chloe's parents that builds up for too long, and when it is revealed, it is neither believable, nor necessary for this particular story. Additionally, Chloe is irritable and rude - repeatedly, with multiple other people, and she never seems to learn to adjust this behavior, but wears it as a descriptor - and this makes her hard to like or to cheer for. There are many students who would likely enjoy this book, as it moves quickly and includes so many relatable details.

Topics and Themes for this book:


  • School Relationships; School Projects
  • Being Korean in a mostly all-white U.S. community
  • Violinists; First Chair Contests
  • Friendships
  • Kids Communicating with Parents

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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