Chapters 13–19

Shy Yumi Chung dreams of being a stand-up comedian — and when a mix-up gives her access to a summer comedy camp, she might finally get her chance to shine.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. doppelganger
    a ghostly double that haunts its living counterpart
    "It's freakish," I admit, my eyes bouncing back and forth. "Felipe, he's your doppelganger," I say.
  2. fervor
    the state of being emotionally aroused and worked up
    Spurred by Felipe’s find, Sienna starts digging through the bins with the same fervor as my mom plowing through clearance racks.
  3. uncanny
    surpassing the ordinary or normal
    Chameleon Girl has got the same freckles, big hair, and long skinny limbs. And, to top it off, her superpower is the ability to change colors to blend in with her environment. It's uncanny.
  4. brandish
    exhibit aggressively
    I burst out laughing when I see a busty ninja girl wearing a tight kimono and brandishing a huge samurai sword on the cover.
  5. penchant
    a strong liking or preference
    "Mom!" I blurt out, cutting Felipe off before he has a chance to finish. "I'm hungry. Like, really hungry. What are we having for dinner? Bibimbap?" I hate to use Mom's penchant for feeding me against her, but I'm desperate.
  6. warily
    in a manner marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
    "Those kids go to a Korean hagwon?" Mom looks at me warily with one hand on the wheel.
  7. dingy
    thickly covered with ingrained dirt or soot
    The automatic glass door slides open, and we follow Jasmine into the lobby, where the walls are lined with dingy floral paintings and bulletin boards, like the kind we had in elementary school.
  8. smattering
    a small number or amount
    "The only thing my strict parents want to foster is a four-point-oh GPA."
    I get a smattering of courtesy laughs.
  9. mediocre
    moderate to inferior in quality
    "You know how when you get a pack of Jelly Bellies, it's a mixed bag. You get the okay flavors like bubblegum and banana. Some awful ones like buttered popcorn and licorice. But when you get your favorite one, it makes having to get through all the bad and mediocre ones worth it. For me, it's all about the Tutti-Fruitti one.”
  10. dud
    an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual
    "There's no fixing that set. It's a dud. Total failure."
  11. gig
    a booking for performers
    "If only you knew. I teach at the Haha Club and online to help kids and to pay my bills, but you better believe I'm still out there pounding the pavement. I want to be a writer for kids' TV shows. I'm not there yet. In fact, this year alone I got passed over for two comedy writing gigs—one for a show on Cartoon Network and the other for Disney XD—but I keep hustling."
  12. dapple
    color with streaks or blotches of different shades
    He hits a button on the remote and the sparkly globe glitters as it rotates, dappling the wall of traditional brush paintings with festive dots of lights.
  13. a cappella
    without musical accompaniment
    My dad, the ultimate karaoke king, cannot refuse the microphone. He takes it in both hands and belts out his go-to song, an old classic Korean folk a cappella.
  14. croon
    sing softly
    "I dedicate this song to my best-dressed wife, who makes most delicious food in Koreatown." Then he croons a Korean love song, showing off his silky tenor.
  15. tinker
    try to fix or mend in an unskilled manner
    He's one of those people who can tinker with the bass and treble dials on a stereo system forever until he gets the purest sound.
  16. dignity
    the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect
    “I'm sorry, Mr. Montgomery," Dad pleads, searching the tabletop like he's looking for his dignity.
  17. expansive
    able or tending to extend in one or more directions
    The doors part, and I immediately scan the expansive air-conditioned lobby in search of Yuri.
  18. poised
    in full control of your faculties
    My sister, who Mom once described to some customers as the Asian Audrey Hepburn, perfectly poised in pastel cardigans and tasteful ballet flats, is wearing an apron and a floppy logoed baseball cap, making a drink.
  19. terse
    brief and to the point
    Her tone is terse.
    "I took the bus."
  20. disgruntled
    in a state of sulky dissatisfaction
    Disgruntled Pantsuit Lady drums her French manicured fingers on the counter dramatically.
  21. repress
    conceal or hide
    "Apparently." I turn away so I don't have to look at her. "All you care about is leaving us to join the stupid Peace Corps." My throat aches with repressed tears.
  22. resentment
    a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
    "Well, for your information, so have I. Not that you'd care. You're too busy with your new life to know how stressed out I've been about the showcase this Thursday," I say coolly, with resentment I didn't know I had.
  23. reimburse
    pay back for some expense incurred
    "By the way, that check is a loan.” She taps my notebook with two fingers. "Just so you know, I'll have to work a bunch of extra shifts to cover this. I expect you to reimburse me in full as soon as you can."
  24. falter
    speak haltingly
    My voice falters. "I can come back later."
  25. anticlimactic
    ultimately disappointing after a promising or exciting start
    I follow her into the staff lounge.
    To be honest, I've always wondered what it was like in here, but it's kind of anticlimactic.
  26. mystique
    an aura of heightened interest surrounding a person or thing
    It's nothing but a plain, boring room with a huge conference table littered with paper piles, empty pizza boxes, Doritos bags, and soda cans. Not that I was expecting whoopee cushions and beanbag chairs, but this doesn't quite live up to the mystique.
  27. gall
    the trait of being rude and impertinent
    "Wow." This person has some gall. Everyone knows that notebooks are off-limits. Some things are sacred.
  28. salivate
    produce a clear liquid secreted into the mouth
    I am practically salivating when I get my plate of tiny corn tortillas piled high with chopped onions, cilantro, and sizzling beef topped with a generous drizzle of spicy salsa verde and radish slices on the side.
  29. accomplice
    a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan
    My whole life I've trusted Yuri with my secrets, and she's always been on my side, but I've never put her in a situation that required her to be my accomplice.
  30. fateful
    having momentous consequences; of decisive importance
    The way the stage lights beat down on my shoulders reminds me of the first time I stood on this stage. That fateful day when everything changed. My first day of camp.
Created on June 28, 2020 (updated July 14, 2020)

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