June 9, 2015

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

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Publication date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from Fuse Literary (Thanks!)
Summary: Grace Wilde is running—from her record producer father, 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 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, with his celebrity status & oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance.  As Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, she can't deny the sparks between her and Jason. Grace realizes her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself to behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason & her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? (greads.com)

The good
A teen goes to a boarding school in a foreign country she knows nothing about and falls for a cute guy while she’s there? I know you’re thinking this sounds awfully familiar but trust me, that’s where the similarities ends. Hello, I Love You stands on its own two feet and I, for one, enjoyed it immensely.

Grace Wilde is country music royalty by association. Her father is a renowned record producer and her older brother is a famous country singer who’s topped the charts for years. But then Grace’s brother has a breakdown, the full details of which remain a bit of a mystery, and Grace finds herself running away to Korea in the wake of her mother’s blame and her own guilt. Korea is supposed to be a fresh start but one she’s ill-prepared for and the culture shock hits her hard. I felt for Grace right away! It’s clear she’s got a heavy heart and mind weighing her down and we all know that ignoring your pain is never a good idea. I thought trying to adjust to a Korean lifestyle — the food, people, surroundings, everything — did provide her with a distraction though. I’ve seen some rumblings about how how she reacts to the change but I didn’t judge. She was born and raised in Nashville and suddenly she’s in Korea? Who wouldn’t feel shocked. I’m Asian and I’ve never been to a single Asian country. But if I were ever to visit one, I’m sure all sorts of thoughts would run through my head, good and bad. The point is, once Grace pulls her head out of the sand, she learns to appreciate life there while still miss her home.

She and her roommate Sophie become fast friends and Sophie eagerly helps her get settled in. She introduces Grace to her twin brother Jason, who just happens to be a Korean pop music star. It understandably stirs up residual feelings from her own family drama and I thought her reaction made sense. She’s torn between her immediate attraction to Jason and seeing her brother’s downfall potentially in him as well. But her attraction doesn’t even matter at first because these two butt heads. They each have their reasons, which don’t become clear until much later, but let’s just say they both have baggage and feelings they try to deny. Then we get to watch their relationship evolve over the course of the school year. They bond over music, their families and so much more. They eventually become friends and inevitably something romantic. And the romantic parts? So freaking cute! It’s a really sweet first love. It’s definitely not an easy one but the road to their happy ending was very enjoyable.

(Super minor) Reservations
A lot of the reasons why Grace and Jason stay apart are self-inflicted and it got slightly angsty and repetitive. I understood it but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t eager for them to get over it already and make out. (Just saying!) I also wouldn’t have minded seeing more of the secondary characters (like Grace’s family since her younger sister Jane is hilarious or more bonding with Sophie) but at the same time, I was in the mood for a romance and this delivered that.

Do I recommend?
I do! If you like romance, music and have dreamed about running off to a foreign country, I’d recommend checking this out. Just keep an mind and have fun reading it!

4 comments:

  1. This book looks like so much fun! I'm glad you enjoyed it... thanks for the review!

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  2. Hello I Love You does sound pretty cute! The concept of the story is something right out of the fan fiction I used to write, albeit more well-fleshed out ;) Glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. I just started this!! I like it so far. One of my book club girls is staying in South Korea for a while, so I thought this was fitting for me to think about her. Not that she's falling in love with a K-Pop star or anything... but maybe she is!!!

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  4. This was definitely a fun book and I loved the Korean setting. I'll admit I didn't care for the angst and "hot and cold" stuff between Jason and Grace, but overall, I really liked this one.

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