Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham
And just when she thought things couldn’t get crazier, Merri’s world is upended when she discovers Lee’s big and bizarre secret…he is none other than a runaway member of the K-pop mega-group Thunder.
It’s not long before Thunder’s fans, the Storm Chasers, begin to close in on Lee, ready to do whatever it takes to return their favorite idol to his rightful place in the band. Faced with the prospect of even more heartbreak and caught up in an international whirlwind that has a life of its own, Merri realizes that she must find a way to mend herself, gain control of her life, and pursue her dreams—her heart and soul depend on it.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you Mascot Books and Net Galley for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
I don't know a lot about K-pop personally, but I hear a ton about it from my students on a regular basis, so of course this book grabbed my attention. The classic love story of a celebrity going undercover and meeting someone is always fun, and I loved that this would be adding in some culture shock and clashes.
Very Topical Love Story
K-Pop is everywhere! With groups like BTS blowing up in North America, this romance is so on trend and I loved taking part in it. Merri and Lee are really cute together and their conversations are hilarious. Language barriers are a real thing and it's great that it becomes a source of flirting for them, instead of something awkward or uncomfortable. I also think it's great that this is such a lovely reimagining of classic stories like Notting Hill, love stories that made us root for these couples to make it despite their differences.
Lots of Great References
I really liked that Merri and Lee are both challenged to adapt to each other's cultures. It would have been really easy for Lee to only experience American things, but instead, he introduces Merri to new foods and words and becomes a bonding moment between them. I honestly loved this because it's so beautiful to see relationships like this bridge countries and languages and still be true. Merri and Lee (aka Christmas and Kimchi) learn a lot from each other, and are adorable the entire time.
Coasts Over the Heavy Things
This is not a book that's going to spend a lot of time on the heavy themes that are mentioned, and that felt like a shame. Merri and Lee are both dealing with a lot of trauma, and it would have been nice to see them really working on these aspects of their lives. It's really just glossed over and that was a missed opportunity to turn this light romance into a really beautiful story about love, trust, and support. It was a cute story, but it won't go any deeper than that.
This was a really cute story and a perfect summer read. I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of K-Pop (I feel like you'll get more of the references than I did), enjoys light romances, or just wants a cute read. This is not an intense romance, but there's nothing wrong with a light love story! Hart & Seoul came out recently; have you read it yet?
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5
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Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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2020 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 20 books toward her goal of 85 books.
2019 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 5 books toward her goal of 90 books.
2018 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has completed her goal of reading 80 books in 2018!
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