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av Jessica Jung

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493415,376 (3.7)Ingen/inga

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Visar 3 av 3
audiobook (~10 hrs), teen fiction. Korean-American goes to competitive school for aspiring k-pop stars in Korea, gets involved with k-pop boy band star.

This was not bad, but was just ok. I appreciated the Korean-American rep (and also had not previously thought about the exploitative restrictions that must exist within the k-pop industry), but the story was harder to connect with and by the time I got to the end I didn't care that much. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 19, 2021 |
The word K-Pop already awakens expectations of sparkle, wealth, and excitement, and this novel definitely delivers all of that with a rollercoaster of drama to make it complete.

Rachel is an American, but her family does come from Korea. While she never felt completely at home in the US, the family's move to Korea didn't settle things in that direction, either. Still, she now follows her dreams and has trained for more than several years to become a K-Pop star. She's a favorite among the trainees, but her age makes her slowly a tight fit. Still, she's determined. Despite her hard work, life throws several hurdles her way, not only in the competition among the other trainees but in her family as well. When Jason Lee, one of the biggest K-Pop stars, steps into her life, though, things really get interesting. And not necessarily in a good way.

I do love my Asian shows, dramas and such, and was excited to get my hands on this one. Normally, I'm a bit wary of celebrity authors, but Jung does a wonderful job at taking her own life and letting it weave into a grabbing novel. It packs drama....tons of drama....the life of the rich and famous, struggles of those who wish to become rich and famous, girl fights, boy dreams, the usual push-and-shove of parents and teens, and sibling relationships. So, this book definitely holds subplots and a certain amount of depth.

The characters are sweet and very easy to sink into. While this one is sold as a young adult novel, I see it as a solid tween read. It holds all of those insecurities of fitting in, sweet romance, and still, needing the family. Plus, it plays along lightly with the teen drama in a way this age group tends to eat up. The story definitely flies by and is hard not to read in one sitting...but then, it's an easy read, too.

Many of the characters are rich...and Rachel's family isn't poor, either...and while there are mentions of upcoming financial issues, this one isn't a problem in the book. There are also moments where Rachel mentions her problems of really fitting in, but even this is more slid over than deeply explored. The real problems in this book rotate around Rachel and her family...which I appreciate and found nicely done...and the expectations of being 'owned' by the businesses, which fuel K-Pop. It's not a nice business, and this does come across pretty well with several harsh themes (weight watching being one of them), but it also gets mixed in with the competition between the girls (nasty). This is one reason I see this better set for tweens. The true harshness is only glimpsed at but not really ever closely scrutinized. This is simply not a book about dealing with serious problems but rather it's more about a girl fighting for her dream and the drama involved.

The romance is sweet and builds as the book goes along. I did appreciate that it wasn't an instant love. Plus, it takes a unique twist at the end. If anything stumbled for me, it was these last chapters, though. Things got pushed through relatively suddenly, and while it worked, it worked too well and without much depth or emotion (compared to the rest of the book).

Still, this was an enjoyable read and I believe K-Pop tweens will devour it. Since this is the first in a series, it will be interesting to see what drama Rachel will face next.

I received a complimentary copy and found the K-Pop world entertaining. ( )
  tdrecker | Feb 16, 2021 |
Love or K-pop
Jessica Jung writes a heartfelt story about the importance of family, Korean identity, and growing up surrounded by extremely high expectations. Rachel Kim’s one dream is to be a K-pop star, and she is willing to work hard and to train endlessly to be the best. With grueling lessons, harsh critique, mean girls, and not enough time for family, Rachel is struggling to keep up with everything. When chaotic and handsome K-pop star Jason Lee helps her get the chance she needs to shine. Shine combines the drama of fame with the sincerity of a teenage girl wanting to follow her dreams. Rachel is an easy character to like, as she works through a lot of relatable issues. Her reflections about friends, family, and mentors are wonderful snapshot of Korean life and Korean American identity. Shine is also a snapshot of social media, and the popular culture of today. There are a lot of pop culture references, name dropping, and popular Korean terms. This doesn’t mean there is not a rough critique of the K-pop industry in-between. Notably the double standard between male and female K-pop stars. So, a warning for those who have trouble reading about drugging, vomiting, and weight shaming. Jessica Jung has the right mix of YA contemporary fiction, and K-pop. A great classic modern-day teen book, with a refreshing perspective. ( )
  VictoriaGD | Sep 13, 2020 |
Visar 3 av 3
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