Axie Oh. HarperTeen, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-302499-1
When her estranged grandmother requires surgery, Korean American cellist Jenny Go, 16, briefly relocates from L.A. to Seoul with her widowed mother. After a critique calls her performance technically proficient but lacking “spark,” Jenny jumps at the opportunity to enliven her playing through a semester of study at Seoul Arts Academy. A number of K-pop trainees and idols also attend SAA, including boy band XOXO, whose lead vocalist, Bae Jaewoo, turns out to be the mysterious Korean boy with whom Jenny had a spark-inducing encounter one L.A. night. As Jenny tries to balance commitment to her own musical aspirations with burgeoning romance under the gaze of ever-present paparazzi, Jaewoo grapples with the pressures of fame and the expectations of his other band members—especially after a previous dating scandal threatened the group’s chance at success. Despite early uneven pacing and information-heavy dialogue, Oh’s (Rebel Seoul) narrative reaches an enjoyable clip that is both accessible to readers unfamiliar with K-pop and pleasing for fans of K-dramas as well as anyone who enjoys a breezy contemporary romance. Ages 13–up. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/27/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-302501-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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