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.
First off, before I proceed with my review, let me just state that I am a big KPop fan and anything pertaining to Korean culture would definitely catch my attention. When I saw this book, I thought of G Dragon of Big Bang when the blurb mentioned of a KPop music superstar. I was so excited to read this that I screamed and squeeeed when I finally had it.
Long before I got married, I was really into anything Korean. The moment I knew of DBSK (Dong Bang ShinKi), I fell for these Kpop artists and never looked back. I became a fangirl, I joined fan clubs, I stalked the stars online, I worshipped them, read fanfics, watched their concerts – you name it, I did it. But no, I haven’t stepped on South Korea’s soil ever. But what I know about them, I got them all online.
So when I read this book, I thought I was in heaven. Korean heaven. But as the story progressed, I found myself cringing, albeit disappointed with Grace, the girl from Tennessee USA who traveled half the world to study in Korea, to escape the clutches of her famous family, to find freedom, to start anew. Grace didn’t have the grace of a foreign exchange student. She was a little disrespectful to the culture that welcomed her, she was every bit wary of the awesomeness Korea had offered. True, her disposition changed on the latter part of the book, but for the first part, my impression of her was bruised. First impression lasts, remember?
Storywise, this book indeed reminded me of Anna and the French Kiss, where Anna from America met the boy who made her weak in the knees. The French man, Etienne St.Clair. But I think the comparison ends there. Because on that book, Etienne already had a girlfriend when he met Anna. Here in Hello, I Love You, Jason wasn’t involved with anyone else, except for his band. Their tandem, Grace and Jason, I can easily see them cast in a Koreanovela.
The premise was quite intriguing, with Grace sending an email to Big Brother and all. Then she had to enumerate those periodic symbol of elements because she was nervous. That piqued my interest. But when she landed in South Korea, everything changed. My thoughts of her took a nose dive when she criticized the people, the events, the culture, the food, the TV shows. Ugh.
The author also reminded me of one of my favorite authors, Colleen Hoover. Her writing style was quite similar to Hoover’s Ugly Love. And that, I could say, is a plus.
KATIE M. STOUT
Hello, lovelies! I’m Katie, and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.
I wrote this book called HELLO, I LOVE YOU, which is my YA debut and will be released in 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s. It’s about cute boys, sassy girls, and K-pop, and it was described by one reader as “the country, Asian, YA pop version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE,” which sounds about right to me. I’m excited to get to share it with readers!