The blurb: Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?
Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate's colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate's problems, and she needs the money too.
If the two of them team up, Nate has a real shot of winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…
My Review: If I could give Suzanne Park's debut novel The Perfect Escape 10 stars instead of 5, I would! When I think of debut novel, I am excited but am willing to overlook holes in the plot or flatness in the characters. The Perfect Escape doesn't feel like a debut novel because the characters of Nate Kim and Kate Anderson are so well crafted! They come alive so clearly and their humor, foibles, generosity and kindness shine through.
There are villains a plenty among the private school classmates that Nate deals with. But Nate's closeness to his family and his relationship with his 5-year old sister are so real. Suzanne Park captures the sacrifices that Nate's parents make and their frugality is treated with sympathy and humor. Even a non-Korean American understands the relationship, the expectations, the difficulty and the pride that Nate must have in his parents' persistence in the face of poverty and no safety net.
If you are looking for a funny, heartwarming boy-meets-girl story, you'll be glad to find that The Perfect Escape also contains bullies, zombies, overstretched parents, helicopter parents, entrepreneurial zeal and a double dose of humor.
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About the Author: Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. In her former life as a comedienne, she appeared on BET, was the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and placed as a semi-finalist in NBC's "Stand Up For Diversity" showcase in San Francisco.
She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates.