Teenage Jen Dik Seong - "Dixie" to her friends - lives in Los Angeles. She mostly keeps to herself at school, and the most important thing in her life - the main outlet for her frustrations, is hapkido. She practices rigorously, and she is very good.
Her life is pushed off balance when she falls for a gorgeous blond-haired surfer boy who is also competes in hapkido. In an impulsive act she buys him a very expensive gift for his birthday, using the money she was given to pay the entry fee for an important hapkido championship tournament. The result is not exactly what she was hoping for, though. And now that she has no money for the entrance fee, she has to compete in the sweep contest against tons of other kids in order to gain entry to the tournament.
The story that unfolds is funny and bittersweet, and although the theme is a familiar one, this story offers up some wonderful surprises along the way. Dixie is an admirable heroine, rash and impulsive and prone to making mistakes, but she owns up to her faults and does her best to learn from the consequences of her actions. The artwork is expressive and full of energy, creating a moving and believable coming-of-age story that, aside from being a ripping good tale, offers readers a fascinating glimpse into a culture and sport that may be unfamiliar to many teens.
I have not read any work by this author/artist team before, but I will be on the lookout for their other book, My Faith in Frankie, which, sadly, my library does not own.