Book Review: Shine by Jessica Jung

This book was one that I was lucky enough to win in one of the giveaways hosted during UKYA at Home and though it’s not maybe something you’d expect to me to read. I wanted it. Because if you’re going to read about k-pop why not read something written by one of the stars herself?

Shine follows Rachel Kim, an American-Korean girl who when she was younger moved to Seoul for the opportunity to start a career as a k-pop star. She’s nearly aging out of her chance to debut when she meets Jason Lee, a k-pop heart throb who she winds up developing feelings for.

I’ve seen this book described as Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians and though I’ve never read or watched Crazy Rich Asians – an ill I need to remedy, I know – it definitely has the feel of YA novels like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and those sorts of very dramatic but very easy to read short novels. Now, this isn’t a bad thing by far. if anything, it actually fits the nature of what this story is about very well.

The k-pop industry is tough. Ridiculously so and in a lot of ways there are so many issues and things that when I think about the stars I get very worried. I know they’re making improvements in some areas. I have friends majorly into k-pop so I’ve been explained some of this stuff. But, there’s still a lot of problems and to read about them through the mouth of someone who’s experienced them? That’s how I prefer it.

There was a lot of cattiness and a lot of negative situations going on. Rachel is bullied by her fellow trainees, the public don’t exactly take a liking to her and there’s a lot of sexism as well as general harshness. But fortunately, Rachel has some great friends at school, her little sister is wonderful and there was some seriously fun scenes in here. Was it the best written novel in the world? No. But it was easy to read and I absolutely devoured it. It was exactly what I was hoping for with this book and it was great.

4/5 Stars

Amazon UK | Waterstones

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