One can hardly get through a list (although, not nearly as as slowly as I am) of Hawaii’s best and brightest books and authors without landing on at least one of Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s unique novels. I read Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers when it was first published and enjoyed the book, although couldn’t sympathize with the main character (Lovey) for wishing to speak proper English instead of “pidgin”. It just seemed that everyone I knew could switch back and forth like I could.

I had heard that Yamanaka had also written a young adult novel Name Me Nobody but hadn’t gotten around to reading until recently. Name Me Nobody is one of those books that showcase Hawai’i’s unique place in literature. It’s a young adult novel about seeking acceptance and growing up, which we can all relate to. But this story is told through the colorful eyes of an asian girl growing up in a multi-generational home, like many of us in Hawaii. Yamanaka has a knack for being unapologetically blunt but her honest prose makes her characters relateable and endearing. And her characters speak just the right amount of pidgin! 😉

Both books are worth reading but Name Me Nobody made me laugh, cry and want to call childhood friends from hanabada days.