Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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.
The minute I read the synopsis of this book I knew I wanted to read it. I love a book that has a secret romance and one that involves a celebrity, so of course this book was right up my street. XOXO really lived up to the hype for me and I would highly recommend it.
XOXO has so many elements in it that I absolutely adore in YA contemporary books. It has a secret forbidden romances, an international boarding school and a world famous K-Pop band. I’ve always been interested in the culture of Korea and this book discusses it in such an in-depth and beautiful way. It has made me want to look into the culture even more and read even more books set in Korea and written by Korean authors. If you are at all interested in K-Pop, K-Dramas or Korea then I would highly recommend this one.
I adored all the fun and unique characters that we get to see throughout this book. Jenny is adorable and I loved watching her grow throughout the book. Jenny is Korean-American but hasn’t been to Korea until now. It was fun to watch her learn more about her culture and watch her fall in love with Korea. Jaewoo is the typical boyband star that so many people have love for. He is sweet, caring and I wanted to see even more of him than we did. All the secondary characters are wonderful and I in particular loved Jenny’s friends and her Halmoni. The relationship between Jenny and her Halmoni was so heart-warming to read about and I would have loved to see more of it.
XOXO shows found family off so well. This is an element that I would love to see more of in books and this shows it perfectly. It really brought a smile to my face seeing Jenny find her own family in Korea. Watching a group of because become a family and share their love for one another is wonderful and I’d love to see more of it in YA books.
This is the first book I have read by Axie Oh but it certainly won’t be my last. It has a very quick pace and it hooked me right from the beginning. A lot happens in the space of 300 pages and I would have loved for this book to be just a little bit longer. If you are looking for a fast-paced, adorable and fun YA book which K-Pop, secret romances and a boarding school then this is one for you.
Overall, I loved this book and flew through it in a matter of sittings. I will be recommending this one to anyone looking for a sweet YA contemporary. Axie Oh is an author to watch for sure and I would highly recommend giving XOXO a read.