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Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz [in Booklist]

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz on BookDragon via BooklistAs explosive growth transforms 1970s South Korea into an international powerhouse, sociopolitical upheaval becomes unavoidable in daily life. Into the maelstrom of such spectacular change, first-novelist Grace Yoojin Wuertz – Seoul-born, U.S.-raised, Yale- and NYU-degreed – drops two women onto the elite campus of Seoul National University.

Jisun is there by birthright as the daughter of a wealthy, powerful businessman, but she eschews her privilege to live with factory workers, join demonstrations, get arrested, and aid underground organizations. In contrast, Namin has outperformed everyone to gain entry; her singular goal of becoming a medical doctor equals her family’s escape from poverty. The girls’ childhood best-friendship falters as each twentysomething faces complex crises against the backdrop of a nation-in-the-remaking.

Wuertz assuredly bears witness to the tumult of her birth country: clashes with U.S. occupiers, the widening divide between haves and have-nots, the dismantling of traditional family structures, the impending end of a dictatorship, and the possibilities of a future when everything might belong to a generation not fully prepared for the challenges to come. An absorbing debut destined for major lists and nominations.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, November 1, 2016

Readers: Adult

Published: 2017



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