Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Kim/Kimi is an account of a sixteen-year-old girl’s struggle to develop her own identity. The opening line, “I don’t understand you,” reflects Kim Andrews’ own confusion over who she is and what she is supposed to be. The novel, organized in chapters, is a chronological narrative of her journey to locate her Japanese American relatives and to understand her biracial heritage. Kim/Kimi is a notable title in multicultural literature since it is one of the first to explore the Japanese American culture for young adults. Within this short, easy-to-read novel, authors Lee Hadley and Annabelle Bowen Irwin, writing under the name “Hadley Irwin,” explore the themes of racial intolerance and ethnic awareness.

Born Kimi Yogushi, Kim Andrews never knew her Japanese American father, who died before her birth. Adopted by her stepfather, she has grown up as an all-American girl in a small Iowa town. Although she has a loving family and good friends, Kim feels different because she looks Japanese. Confused and sometimes angered by racial slurs and stereotypes, she is determined to find her father’s family, who disowned him when he married a non-Japanese woman. Since her mother is unable to help her, she plots with the help of her half brother, Davey, to fly to California while her parents are out of town.

Mrs. Mueller, Davey’s mentor in the game Dungeons and Dragons, plans the quest. Kim is surprised when Ernie Okamura, a...

(The entire section is 527 words.)