Actor-turned-author John Cho’s bestselling debut novel “Troublemaker” is now available in paperback.
Cho’s middle grade book, which was originally published in hardcover in March 2022, follows the story of Jordan Park, a Korean American boy who struggles to navigate issues at home and at school.
The Park family’s lives are unexpectedly turned upside down on April 29, 1992 — the first night of the Los Angeles riots, which erupted in part due to conflict between the city’s African American and Korean American communities.
“As tensions escalate, Jordan’s father leaves to check on the family store [near Los Angeles’ Koreatown], spurring Jordan and his friends to embark on a dangerous journey to come to his aid, and come to terms with the racism within and affecting their community,” the novel’s official description states in part.
Cho shared in a promotional video last year that “Troublemaker,” which was co-written with Sarah Suk, is a “very personal story” for him.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots, which serve as a backdrop for his novel, were “very consequential” in his life.
“The book is a love story between father and son, and a portrait of a family trying to navigate an incredibly difficult situation in their lives and in their community’s life,” Cho explained.
However, the events of 2020 would eventually change his mind.
“The summer and spring of 2020 happened, and we were dealing with a lot of stuff that my kids were struggling to understand – COVID, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests and anti-Asian violence,” he said.
“That put me in a contemplative place – contemplative slash panicky – I think I was really looking backward at the arc of my life, as an immigrant, and the relationship to the country I lived in and the country I thought my kids would live in.”
Since its initial release, “Troublemaker” has gone on to receive several accolades.
The novel became an instant New York Times bestseller, as well as an Indiebound bestseller and an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Book.
“Troublemaker” is published by Little, Brown, and Company. Its paperback version was made available for sale on March 7.