Friday, June 26, 2015

Novel Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

Rating (Out of 5): ~1.5-2
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance; Korean
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Spoilers?: Some.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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

The Cover:

I really like this cover. I don't know if it really fits the book, given that I didn't feel all the happy feelings the cover shows. But the color is so pretty, and I love the pose of the couple. Plus, the couple actually looks like the characters!


I knew, going into this book, that it was going to either be amazing or horrible. I was hoping it would go the way of an extremely enjoyable contemporary romance, fun and cute, instead of being badly written, one dimensional, or annoying. And I’m surprised to say that it wasn’t really either?
Grace, running away from a tragedy in her family, decides to go to boarding school in Korea, leaving her famous and rich family in southern America.
My first problem is the Korean part. Now, this appeals hugely to all Kpop and Kdrama fans, of which I am one. And I was thinking, I don’t know, that Grace would be a fan? Instead, Grace doesn’t even like listening to the Koreans talk. Watching Korean television and listening to their music sounds dreadful to her. She grumbles and groans and is very superior American, about all of it, and even refuses to learn Korean. Which, after living there for a full school year, surrounded by the language, watching and listening to it, and even taking classes to learn it, she barely learns a word? How does she not absorb even a little, and still pass her classes?
It also seemed to take some of the fun, diverse effects out, when the two people that Grace gets to know, go by American names, and speak perfect English. That seemed like cheating.
Grace is a very judgmental person. It takes her forever to finally come around to watching Kdramas, and even though she finally starts to enjoy them, she does it for everything, every time--the music, the food, the people. Which makes it hard to believe that, with less than half way through, she’s all the sudden not judgemental about something that Jason does? Suddenly she’s Miss Understanding.
If the main character was anyone else, this would have been a better book. I just hated Grace, I think. She’s shallow, judgmental, runs from anything that scares her, is extremely biased. I didn’t even like the romance, the attraction between her and Jason. I felt like I barely got to know Jason at all, because she was always judging him, and that his actual feelings and emotions were never shown to the reader.
I liked the side characters enough, but I don’t feel like I saw enough of them, or got to know them well enough. Sophie seemed nice enough, and I liked seeing her relationship grow, but there wasn’t really any conclusion there. Yoon Jae was a sweetheart, but then he kind of just left. Jason seemed nice.
I will say that the surprise with Grace’s family was well done, and revealed with good timing. I understood some of her feelings and thoughts, then. That didn’t make me like her any more, though. 
I was disappointed with this book. I wanted it to be amazing, with all the Kdrama fun and feel. And it was pretty much the opposite of that.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press. Thank you!

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