HarperAudio. Jul. 2021. 913p. $26.99. ISBN 9780063025028.
Gr 8 Up–Jenny dreams of becoming a professional cellist and after receiving comments from her latest competition that she plays technically perfect but lacks heart, she does something she would never usually do. She spends an evening exploring Los Angeles with Jaewoo, a boy from Seoul she meets in a karaoke bar. She’s sad when he stops responding to her texts, and soon after, her life changes. Her grandmother becomes ill, and Jenny travels to Seoul for the first time with her mother, enrolling in an elite boarding school with a well-known music program. She is surprised to find out Jaewoo is also a student and is even more surprised when she learns that he and many of her fellow classmates are current or aspiring K-pop idols. As the story unfolds, Jenny learns more about her culture and who she wants to be as a person and musician. Her relationship with Jaewoo is complicated, but they can’t stay away from each other, even though it may cause problems with his career. The romantic tension between them is a slow burn that gives readers a satisfying ending, with side characters lending additional drama as well as comic relief. Fans of K-pop will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be an idol-in-training. Narrator Greta Jung creates a world of voices that easily draws readers in and makes them feel each character’s uniqueness; hearing Korean words and accents spoken breathes authenticity into the Seoul setting, as well as the relationships among the characters.
VERDICT A must-buy on audio to recommend to K-pop fans and also to readers who enjoy a bit of drama in their love stories.

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