Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Publication: July 13, 2021 by HarperTeen
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.
XOXO was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, and it did not disappoint. When I first discovered the book, I honestly was just in love with the cover, so when I read the synopsis and found out it was about K-pop, I was a bit nervous. I have very limited knowledge about Korea, so I was a bit concerned that it would make reading it a bit difficult. I actually learned a lot by reading it!
The writing style of this book was phenomenal. The author had me hooked from the first page, and this is probably the fastest I’ve ever come out of a slight reading slump. She described everything in a way that brought everything and everyone to life. I did have to look up a few things (mostly the foods and some other words mentioned), but otherwise, nearly everything was explained.
I really loved all of the characters as well. The connections they all had were well-written, as well as just the characters themselves. Everyone in the main group was focused on at some point, though I would still love to see a sequel focusing on some of them – Sori and Nathaniel especially!
I went into this with super high expectations, and while that usually leaves me disappointed, every single one of them was met. It was such a cute, fun book that’s perfect for summer reading. Again, I had very little knowledge, so even if you know absolutely nothing, I’m sure you’ll still enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I received a gifted copy of this book via JeanBookNerd Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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Meet the Author
Axie Oh is a first generation Korean American, born in NYC and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California – San Diego and holds an MFA from Lesley University in Writing for Young People. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her puppy, Toro.