Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Jessica Kim

Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2020

Agent: Thao Le

One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian.

On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her “Yu-MEAT” because she smells like her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she’s reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.

Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she’s a girl named Kay Nakamura–and Yumi doesn’t correct them. 

As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.


• Chosen as an Indie Next book

• Selected for the Winter/Spring 2020 Kids Indies Introduce program under the Independent Booksellers’ Debut Picks of the Season through the American Booksellers Association

"The engaging first-person narrative is a good first step into a rich landscape of reads about first-generation immigrant experiences."
—Publishers Weekly

"A must-read."
School Library Connection (starred)

"Middle grade readers will find Yumi’s first-person narrative utterly appealing. Readers will root for Yumi even as they cringe at her choices in this refreshing novel. Highly recommended—every school has at least one Yumi!"
School Library Journal

"Kim has taught school, and it shows, both with the spot-on dialogue and the up-to-date social media references. She also offers readers solid suggestions on building self-esteem. This will certainly remind readers of Kelly Yang's Front Desk (2018), but instead of a deus ex machina solving the family's problem, Yumi does it herself."
Booklist (starred)

"With wonderful supporting characters, strong pacing, and entertaining comedy bits, debut author Kim has woven a pop song of immigrant struggle colliding with comedy and Korean barbecue... Readers will cheer the birth of this comedian." 
—Kirkus (starred) 

“Being your true self can be tough, but with guts, gumption, and a whole lot of heart, Yumi Chung rises to the challenge and shows us all who she really is—a bonafide star.” 
Booki Vivat, New York Times bestselling author of the Frazzled series

“I adored this book! Like I seriously hugged it when I was done. This is quintessential middle grade -- charming, funny, real, and overflowing with heart. Jessica Kim does an extraordinary job of illuminating the ordinary triumphs and challenges of a middle schooler's life, writing with a sweetness that's never saccharine; every page is brimming with life.”
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th Grade Superzero, Two Naomis, and Naomis Too