This is the first time I’ve read a K-Pop romance and I absolutely loved it? XOXO by Axie Oh is an adorable YA romance with music and dance at the centre – right up my street. I was mostly drawn to the beautiful cover art, which is also printed on the naked hardcover; amazing. But the characters and plot drew me in and had my heart from start to finish. It was cool to be drawn into the world of young K-Pop stars and getting the perspective on it from a Korean American girl in Seoul for the first time.
Star rating: 5 stars
Jenny Go is a young cellist with big music conservatory ambitions. When her grandmother falls ill, Jenny and her Mom move to Seoul for a few months to look after her before and after surgery, with Jenny enrolling in a Seoul performing arts academy, which is also home to the next generation of K-Pop idols. And the twist? Jenny met one of them back in L.A. before she knew she was moving to Seoul, and it’s risky for his career for them to be seen together in a romantic way.
I really enjoyed this book! I liked all of the characters, loved how Jenny really came out of her shell after making new friends at her new school, including her roommate Sori. Jenny and Sori’s friendship is one of my favourite elements of the book, so adorable. The romance is cute, as Jenny and Jaewoo get to know each other better and learn that they can’t stay away from each other despite the risks to Jaewoo and his band XOXO. I really liked how the band members got a long so well despite being put together, they really had each other’s backs and each one had a role to play in the group.
The book focuses on Jenny learning to have more fun and life experiences which her Uncle reckons will give her music a spark. I liked that she made friends even though she was in a new country, and loved with her whole heart. It was good to see her meet her grandmother, and develop her relationship with her mother after gaining some new perspectives.
Overall XOXO is a great, light read that ties together really well. I loved every bit of it, and appreciated the lack of drama. You don’t even have to know anything about K-Pop to enjoy this book – just immerse yourself in the amazing setting and food descriptions and have fun on the journey.