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.
Honestly, as in all honesty the love interest can’t be of any Asian descent (or any nationality for that matter) and the story will remain intact. It doesn’t matter if Jason is Japanese, and instead of Hangul, Kanji is plastered everywhere: that’s how little the Korean culture affected the story. So if you’re one of those interested because it has some k-pop written in the summary and thinking perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of their music industry there then Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout isn’t all that. You better of watching Korean drama instead.
Grace has flown half around the world to escape her life full pressure from being the daughter of well-known music producer and the guilt her mother putting on her because of her brother’s death. Her destination (without a solid reason why) is South Korea. Little did she know she’ll thrust into the world of music again, now via her roommate’s famous k-pop artist brother, Jason. She has studies, adapting to new culture, maybe some language barrier and problems at home on her plate; so romantic relationship to some k-pop idol wasn’t on her plan as well.
Like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be Korea which made me a bit disappointed. I’m not the biggest k-pop fan—ok, so I have been on one of their concert. Sure, I did watch Korean dramas (and yes, it’s not like a soap opera!). And yes, I’m sorta obsessed with this one Idol group. But I don’t think I know enough to nit-pick the parts but the lack of Korean variety in this novel is very apparent. It mentioned of this and that but it did not make me feel like she’s in Korea that much. It could be actually anywhere as I said. Also, I watched few behind the camera footages/shows to see how strict their labels are to their talents. Yep, relationships are pretty much hush-hush in their business.
At the latter half, I gave up. It doesn’t matter anymore; I’ll just enjoy it sans Korean vibe. Grace was bit of moody but granted her life back home wasn’t appeasing—that I kinda understand. But those withstanding, she wasn’t charming or relatable at all. Jason, well, I found him quite generic. But I did like his goal to have music of his own. Something he does want for himself and not manufactured by his label. But seeing how the industry is there, that’s quite a struggle.
The summary is promising but story failed to deliver what I hoped. Romance wasn’t all too saccharine for my taste which is good as it somehow pacified my broken expectations. Needless to say, I managed enjoyed the little things out of my grand pre-reading beliefs. So yeah, it was just really ok.
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote: “I feel a sliver of freedom. I’m done hiding who I am, where I come. I’m ready to start again. To be me. ”