Study Guide

A Step from Heaven Chapter 25

By An Na

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Chapter 25


  • Scene: the school gymnasium, with bleachers filled with families.
  • It's awards season, and no we don't mean the Oscars. The honors students at Young Ju's school are getting awards.
  • Young Ju is there with Amanda and her parents (Young Ju's parents can't be there because of work).
  • Amanda gets an award for English, which is cool for her parents, but the big surprise is the award for the highest ninth-grade GPA that—drumroll, please—goes to Young Ju.
  • When the ceremony ends, Young Ju tells the Doyles to drop her off at the library; she says that she needs to study.
  • Why the lie (because it is a lie)?
  • The Doyles still don't know where Young Ju actually lives, and she's not about to tell them—plus she's still not supposed to hang out with Amanda.
  • The Doyles do all these cheesy things like sing in the car and say embarrassing (but cute) things about Amanda.
  • Then the Doyles pass through a sobriety checkpoint, which just makes Young Ju think anxiously about Apa and his arrest.
  • In fact, she's not just anxious—she's paranoid that the police will recognize her as Apa's daughter or that Apa might be on the side of the road.
  • But Mr. Doyle just jokes around with the police officer and everything goes fine.
  • When Young Ju gets home, she tells Uhmma about her award.
  • Uhmma is so proud of her, but she's also ashamed that she wasn't there for Young Ju on such a special day. Uhmma even apologizes to Young Ju for being neglectful parents.
  • Then she puts Young Ju's certificate on the coffee table for Apa to look at.
  • Only Apa never comes home because he spent the night sleeping in his car downtown.
  • When he finally does come home, he just throws his newspapers over the coffee table without glancing at the certificate.
  • Young Ju feels hurt and starts to crumple up her certificate, when she notices a smudge on her certificate.
  • She sniffs the certificate and notices an ammonia and bleach smell (smells that have to do with her father and his job as a janitor).
  • Because of the smell, a huge ache "threatens to drown [her] heart."

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