Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on June 9, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher
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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 received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Line: A very fun cast of characters and I love the setting.
In My Opinion: Add to cart!
Hello, I Love You is a very cute and quick read that I really enjoyed the whole time I was reading it. As far as YA contemporary books go, this was one of the better ones for me. I’ll admit the most appealing aspect to me was that it was set in Korea and it featured diverse characters. I think Stout did a great job of showcasing Korea and KPOP. I’m not a particular expert, obviously, but I do know a good amount, so it was nice to see what I did know and learn some of what I didn’t. Aside from that, the story itself was good. Things flowed smoothly and despite there being a “hot and cold” relationship, I still enjoyed it, which was surprising because you all know how I hate those. I think it was the other characters as well as Grace herself that made me overlook and not fault the book for that abysmal main relationship.
After some troubling things happen within Grace’s family, she flees to the farthest place she can think of, Korea. I give her credit for going out on her own, traveling to an unknown place, and starting over. I liked watching her adapt to this new environment, seeing everything through her eyes, which I’d imagine, is how a lot of Americans would react if they traveled to any Asian country. I liked being in her head and I felt for the girl with all her family issues and the roller coaster ride Jason was putting her through. The storyline focuses on Grace adapting to Korea, hanging out with her new friends, letting go of her family troubles, and discovering that despite her distaste for the music world, she actually has a talent that would develop well in that industry.
The characters were great, although I will say I didn’t care for Jason. That has more to do with his hot and cold nature. Even though it seems like romance is the big theme in this book, I felt like it was more of an aside. I enjoyed the rest of the story so much more than the romance and I felt like I could’ve even done without it considering its nature. Anyways, yes, the characters were great. Sophie charmed me right from the beginning. I’m always a sucker for the “bubbly best friend” and Sophie is all that and more. Her fledgling relationship with Tae Hwa was cute. I also really liked Yoon Jae. He was a sweetheart and I wished I had gotten more of him and Grace together. Oh, and Grace’s sister is awesome, too, so more of her would’ve made this book even better.
Hello, I Love You is one of those perfect “summer reads”, if you’re in the market for one of those right now. By the way, after reading this, I totally wanted to start watching some of the latest K-drama. My mom is addicted to all things Korean, and that’s all she watches, so I see it a lot and I know how obsessed people can get about it. Anyways, that ending was just the sweetest thing ever and it totally pushed this book over the edge from “kind of liked it” to “really liked it”.
I had a ton of fun fan-casting my characters! Some of them were casted very early on in my brain while I was writing – I actually had two singers in mind while I was writing the rough draft of the book!
While these are who the characters look like in my head, I love hearing other people’s thoughts. or I’d love to hear who you think Grace, Jason, Sophie, and everyone else looks like, so hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr with your picks!