Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 304 Pages
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Source: Finished Copy via publisher (Thanks St. Martins!)
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.
Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.
Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.
I knew instantly from the synopsis that this book was going to be adorable and fun. It's exactly the type of novel I needed at the moment!
I've never really listened to KPOP, so it was really interesting getting to learn a little bit more about it. I love how much music is entwined with this story. You can tell Katie really pours her musicality into this book. It was such a fun aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed. I soaked up all the details on the Korean culture, KPOP, and K-drama. The food, the pop culture, the attire, the customs, I loved it all!!
One problem that I and many other people had was with the ignorance of the culture. When Grace comes to South Korea she's a bit ignorant. It's kind of offensive and cringe-worthy, but she learns! It kind of tweaked me the wrong way, but at the same time this is such a realistic problem. You'd be surprised how many Americans actually act this way!! I've personally seen some incredibly offensive and rude behavior from cultural misunderstanding or simply from not being educated... As I said though, Grace learns!
I really liked the characters in this book. Grace blames herself for something that happened to her family and runs away to South Korea to escape her troubles. Jason does something similar and thus a hesitant friendship forms. And something more comes about. I really loved the dynamic between the two. They made each other happy and fixed the broken parts in each other. Jason infuriated me to no end in so many parts though. He's a jerk one minute, and then sweet and kind the next. I'm baffled that Grace put up with him for so long. It really bugged me how the romance was drawn out through fighting and tension and mistrust and dallying back and forth. "Oh I want to be with you, but I'm mad at you. I can't trust you! But I like you. And you like me." Ugh it happened for 100 pages!!
Sophie and the other two band members Tae Hwa and Yoon Jae were also great characters. They were prevalent in the first half of the book and then slowly faded to the background as the romance developed more. I wish they were there more! There's a "shocking" revelation that I guessed from page one. It kind of dulled the effect and impact of the climax for me, but it still allowed the story to be heartwarming and enjoyable.
Although I've shared my nitpicks with this novel, I actually really enjoyed it! It's one of those books where you just want to kick back and listen to some K-pop after reading it. This book is sugar-sweet and loads of fun! I'd recommend you try it out if you're not in a critical mood.