Troublemaker

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Author: John Cho

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Troublemaker — the powerful debut novel from actor John Cho (Star Trek, Cowboy Bebop, Harold & Kumar) — follows the events of the 1992 LA Riots through the eyes of 12-year-old Korean-American Jordan, as he navigates school, family, and the racism both within and against his community.

It’s 1992 in Glendale, California, and Jordan’s life is coming apart.

He’s been suspended from school for cheating. He’s banned from seeing Mike, his impulsive best friend from church. Sarah, his adored older sister, is always busy — and so perfect that Jordan worries he looks even more disappointing by comparison. Appa and Umma, burdened with financial worries, are constantly working at their liquor store. Jordan’s family immigrated from Korea 9 years earlier, but the bright American future they sacrificed so much for seems questionable

And now, his city is in flames. People are erupting in protest over the unjust Rodney King verdict and tragic killing of Latasha Harlins by a Korean shop owner. Desperate to prove himself to Appa - and grappling with what the turmoil means for his community, Jordan sneaks out with Mike — and the gun his father’s forbidden him to touch. As the protests spread toward Koreatown, he tries to deliver it as protection for Appa, who’s boarding up the family store... only for things to quickly spin out of his control.

"Equal parts suspenseful and emotionally insightful" - Kirkus Review

heartfelt, insightful book exploring the bond between father and son who deepen their relationship while navigating social justice, police bias, Korean American identity, and the trauma of the L.A. riots." — Jewell Parker Rhodes, NYT Bestselling Author

"Deep appreciation for this much-needed book.”—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist