Truly I have not written a review in so long I have fallen into a blogging slump and life has gotten in the way but nothing but this adorable most cute super fun and sweet book could bring me back out of it because I simply must gush! I really am planning on blogging at least a bit more soon! But for now I couldn’t hold in my thoughts on how much I love this book!
Title // XOXO
Author // Axie Oh
Publisher // HarperTeen
Publication Date // July 13th, 2021
Synopsis // Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
I’m really a sucker for a celebrity romance and forbidden romance and boarding school romance so this book has all the tropes combined in the best way I promise! All the romantic scenes between Jenny and Jaewoo just had me smiling and swooning so much, perfectly imagining them play out in my mind, turning the pages and rereading all my favorite conversations over and over.
I’m actually not a big Kpop fan but man if this book isn’t making me want to be one! It was super cool and fun to read about the Kpop world, seeing what the lives of idols are like. Jenny is also a really serious concert cellist which was really cool to read about, and I mostly just loved reading about how much all the characters appreciated music, and really performing arts in general (Kpop dancing is no joke!!). It was cool to see how the characters worlds were so different, their types of music were so different, but they really had so much in common, were so united in their love for music. After all, isn’t music something that brings us all together?
The friendships were so amazing, and honestly Jenny’s group after just being in Korea for a little while is squad goals I’m so jealous?? I loved reading the banter in the group, the characters with different interests and concentrations but all coming together. I especially loved the friendship between Jenny and her roommate, who initially don’t get along at all, develop!
The setting was amazing too! I could completely picture Seoul, and also I really want to go there now haha. I loved how Oh wove in the descriptions of the city, the language, the food, in a way that really plopped me down into the incredible hustle and bustle. This book reads a bit like a love letter to Seoul, and I was here for it!
It was also a quintessentially Korean-American story! Jenny has never been to Korea before the events of this story, and is discovering the city for the first time just as much as the reader is! She can speak Korean (she didn’t quit learning even though she wanted to and damn I wish I hadn’t quit learning my language lmao), but doesn’t know slang and still feels somewhat relieved to hear English after being so surrounded by Korean. It really spoke to me as an Asian American ❤
The book definitely wasn’t perfect. Some of the events felt pretty unrealistic, but really, what do you expect with this synopsis, so don’t take it too seriously and you can love it haha. I also thought it was a bit weird that Jenny’s motivation for coming to Korea is she doesn’t want to be apart from her mom, but then she literally goes to boarding school and rarely sees her mom, which, plot wise, doesn’t make sense? Also I’m impressed everyone remembers everyone’s face after barely seeing them but maybe I’m just worse than them with faces.
Anyways, even though it’s not a perfect book, it’s an absolutely adorable book, one that I ended up unexpectedly loving with my whole heart and I can’t recommend enough!!
Have you read XOXO yet, or are you planning to? Do you like kpop? I’d love to chat in the comments below!