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About The Book

“So funny and heartfelt.” —Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese
“I love the profound honesty of I’m Ok.” —Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park

Ok Lee is determined to find the perfect get-rich-quick scheme in this funny, uplifting novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Crenshaw.

Ok Lee knows it’s his responsibility to help pay the bills. With his father gone and his mother working three jobs and still barely making ends meet, there’s really no other choice. If only he could win the cash prize at the school talent contest! But he can’t sing or dance, and has no magic up his sleeves, so he tries the next best thing: a hair braiding business.

It’s too bad the girls at school can’t pay him much, and he’s being befriended against his will by Mickey McDonald, an unusual girl with a larger-than-life personality. Then there’s Asa Banks, the most popular boy in their grade, who’s got it out for Ok.

But when the pushy deacon at their Korean church starts wooing Ok’s mom, it’s the last straw. Ok has to come up with an exit strategy—fast.

About The Author

Photograph © Sophie Kim

Born in Busan, South Korea, Patti Kim immigrated to the United States on Christmas, 1974. Convinced at the age of five that she was a writer, she scribbled gibberish all over the pages of her mother’s Korean-English dictionary and got in big trouble for it. But that didn’t stop her from writing. The author of I’m Ok; It’s Girls Like You, MickeyA Cab Called Reliable; and Here I Am, Patti lives in University Park, Maryland, with her husband, two daughters, and a ferocious terrier. Visit her online at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 16, 2018)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534419315
  • Grades: 5 and up
  • Ages: 10 - 99
  • Lexile ® 670L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"I love the profound honesty of I'm Ok. Patti Kim goes beyond giving us a fully-realized and finely-drawn character: She illuminates the truth that an awkward, confused, funny, and tender thirteen-year-old still lives inside every one of us."

– Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist

“So funny and heartfelt. You know how they say the best fiction is true even though it’s made up? This book is true.”

– Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese

“Narrator Ok navigates this full plot with quirky humor that borders on dark at times. His feelings and actions dealing with his grief are authentic. . . . A work of heavy, realistic fiction told with oddball humor, honesty, and heart.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“A poignant look at navigating changes in family dynamics and welcoming unexpected friendships. This is an important novel that can serve as either a window or a mirror for middle-grade readers, making it ripe for wide appeal.”

– Booklist

“A stirring finale. . . . Ok tells his own story with humor and pathos. A South Korean immigrant herself, Kim incorporates Korean touches which add authenticity to the novel. Recommended.”

– School Library Connection

“An honest and poignant tale of an adolescent attempting to navigate his feelings of loss and inadequacy, and Kim writes with easygoing accessibility and vivid detail.”


"Kim, also a Korean immigrant, tells a moving story of family, culture, and growing up, through the eyes of a boy who struggles to fulfill his father’s American dream and maintain his own sense of pride. Ok’s anger and frustration about his father’s death and his mother’s burgeoning relationship with a deacon from their church ring particularly true, as do his ethical and emotional growth.”

– Publishers Weekly

Awards and Honors

  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
  • APALA Asian/Pacific America Literature Award Honor Book

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