Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into...

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Title:Somewhere Only We Know
Author:Maurene Goo
Rating:

Somewhere Only We Know Reviews

  • chloe ♡

    WAIT WHAT??? IT'S SET IN HONG KONG? OMG I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO READ A YA BOOK SET IN HONG KONG I'M CRYING HAPPY TEARS I WANT THIS ADSFVAKBVVGB CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS TO COME OUT!

    update (12 may 2019): i'm finally done reading this, and oh my god i loved it so much. review to come!

  • Monica

    I just love Maurene Goo books so much! They’re like what i love about my favorite korean dramas, but in book form. This one was no exception. I adored the characters and the whole exploration of going after your dreams vs just going after achievement (honestly, needed that rn in my own life). I also loved the Hong Kong setting, the korean american characters talking about what it’s like to be korean american, and all the kpop! Also, Roman Holliday is one of my all time favorite films, so reading

    I just love Maurene Goo books so much! They’re like what i love about my favorite korean dramas, but in book form. This one was no exception. I adored the characters and the whole exploration of going after your dreams vs just going after achievement (honestly, needed that rn in my own life). I also loved the Hong Kong setting, the korean american characters talking about what it’s like to be korean american, and all the kpop! Also, Roman Holliday is one of my all time favorite films, so reading a modernized take on that was just so fun.

  • Emma

    oh my this was SUCH a pleasure to read!!

  • Sara (sarawithoutanH)

    • This book feels sooo much like a kdrama and I was LIVING for it! I need Netflix to make an adaptation ASAP.

    • The characters! Maurene Goo has always had strong female leads, but I’ve always felt her love interests were severely lacking. This was dual perspective and I think this made both characters so much more dynamic and interesting.

    • It was just so goddamn cute! I don’t read YA contemporary too often and I almost never rate it more than 4 stars but this book was an exception!

    • This book feels sooo much like a kdrama and I was LIVING for it! I need Netflix to make an adaptation ASAP.

    • The characters! Maurene Goo has always had strong female leads, but I’ve always felt her love interests were severely lacking. This was dual perspective and I think this made both characters so much more dynamic and interesting.

    • It was just so goddamn cute! I don’t read YA contemporary too often and I almost never rate it more than 4 stars but this book was an exception!

    • The ending. Most of this book was absolutely fantastic, but the last quarter or so lost its luster. The ending felt rushed and a little far-fetched.

    Overall, this was a great contemporary. If you like kpop or kdramas, I definitely think you should pick this up!

  • Tatiana

    3.5 stars

    I guess I should stop rolling my eyes at these one-day romances. I now have liked both

    and

    . Both times I had started the books with skepticism and then slowly surrendered to the almost-insta-love. Not sure if what happens in these romances is love, but the attraction can happen in one day, and I am clearly capable of falling for this scenario.

    It took me awhile to get into this story. Lucky, a K-pop star, is getting ready for bed and takes so

    3.5 stars

    I guess I should stop rolling my eyes at these one-day romances. I now have liked both

    and

    . Both times I had started the books with skepticism and then slowly surrendered to the almost-insta-love. Not sure if what happens in these romances is love, but the attraction can happen in one day, and I am clearly capable of falling for this scenario.

    It took me awhile to get into this story. Lucky, a K-pop star, is getting ready for bed and takes some sleeping and anti-anxiety meds and suddenly decides to sneak out for a few minutes to get herself a burger. (A salad provided and approved by her handlers just isn't enough.) On the way, she gets lost and stumbles into Jack, a Korean American aspiring paparazzo. At first, Jack doesn't recognize Lucky and genuinely tries to help her, because she seems to be under the influence of

    But soon, he realizes who exactly she is and thinks that spending some time with this star and photographing her in the process could be his professional golden ticket.

    Like I said, I wasn't immediately into this setup. The whole sleeping meds thing just rubbed me the wrong way. Mercifully, that evening didn't last long, and the next day of frolicking around Hong Kong, eating delicious foods and seeing the sites was what turned things around for me. This is when the story becomes cute, and occasionally deep. This is when you get exactly what the synopsis promised you.

    Maurene Goo has used her love for Korean pop culture before in

    (K-drama primer, basically), and in

    she puts the realities of K-pop stardom to a good use too. Lucky's personal story is great stuff.

    When I read

    , I gave it 3.5 stars, but rounded it up to 4. This time, I am compelled to round it down, because Goo is not as strong a writer as Yoon is. For one, Lucky and Jack's voices are indistinguishable. Secondly, Goo, I feel, could have leaned into kdrama tropes even more; those tropes are so delicious for a reason. If she wanted to take the fluffy route, she should have dived into the tropes all the way.

    What Goo delivers on, though, is a cute romance,

    in Hong Kong. This is a not exactly original, but fun beach read.

  • Alexa

    3 stars, and I’d specifically recommend this one to read if you enjoy fluffy (and maybe a little over the top) Korean dramas. There’s a particular aspect that bothered me at the start of this story, but otherwise, very cute, very sweet contemporary story.

  • Kristen

    I want an ARC of this more than I want to be Kim Taehyung's headband.

    DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE Y'ALL! I GOT AN ARC!!!!

    STRONG POWER THANK YOU, EDELWEISS+!

    Nochu came through!

    So I'm thinking there is (j)hope for me yet for becoming Tae Tae's headband one day.

    Quick, somebody tell Yoongi to wish for it to be true so it really happens!

    *windshield wiper laughs*

    I want an ARC of this more than I want to be Kim Taehyung's headband.

    DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE Y'ALL! I GOT AN ARC!!!!

    STRONG POWER THANK YOU, EDELWEISS+!

    Nochu came through!

    So I'm thinking there is (j)hope for me yet for becoming Tae Tae's headband one day.

    Quick, somebody tell Yoongi to wish for it to be true so it really happens!

    *windshield wiper laughs*

    Okay, now time to get down to the nitty gritty - my thoughts on the book:

    Overall, I think this book was very sweet, very cute, but ultimately very forgettable. I'll explain further.

    - I found the jokes and the overall humor in this book to be very relatable and right up my alley. There were several times where I physically had to stop reading to laugh out loud and soak in the funniness of the moment. This is the cutesy kind of contemporary stuff that makes me UWU (I'm sorry lol) big time.

    - Not going to lie, the main character and her situation SEVERELY reminded me of Hannah Montana. The whole 'nobody is gonna recognize me without my wig prolly' thing just gave me major throwback vibes for old Miley Stewart but I liked it. Of course, I was super interested in the subject matter of this book as a HUGE fan of both contemporary YA and K-Pop. There was just a few things that I wished would have been done differently.

    - So yeah, I don't really feel like the word "Love" belongs anywhere near a romance that takes place over the course of a mere 24-hour period. That 'I love you' shit almost made me drop my croissant. I gagged a little and did my best to stop myself from swallowing my tongue before it rolled down the back of my throat.

    - I don't even know how to word this without offending anyone so, screw it, try not to get offended cuz here I go! The main characters are Korean-American. And that is fine. Obviously. It's great! However, I was really wanting to soak up a little more culture outside of my own while reading this book. I would have been really interested in seeing the differences between my own culture and Korean culture since I'm whiter than the screen I'm currently typing this review into. Anyway, there were

    bits of Korean and even Chinese culture thrown in, but still, most of the characters were more American at than anything. Take away a few minor things and it could have felt as if the book itself was set in the good old US of A.

    - I saw a few other people mention this in their reviews and I have to say that I agree with them. Several times I could not decipher the differences between the voices of Lucky and Jack. If it weren't for the 'he' or 'she' cues, I would not have been able to tell whose POV I was reading. The two characters were slightly different, but they really needed more work to be separate beings with separate personalities.

    - I mean, obviously when you're reading a book about a celebrity, there are going to be things that are a little far-fetched and hard to believe. And that being said, I do think the author did her best to really try to show a deeper side to the perspective of a K-Pop idol. However, the events that transpired at the end (without spoiling anything) were just a little too out there, considering how strict the K-Pop world really is, for me to take seriously. There would have been MAJOR repercussions to her actions and I'm talking *motions slitting my own throat* career done. Ended. Over. Kaput!

    To sum it all up, did I enjoy this book?

    YES!

    Am I glad I got to read it?

    HECK YEAH!

    Should you read it?

    YEAH, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO!

    Will I ever think of this book ever again?

    No... probably not.

  • Joshee Kun (조수아)

    .

    .

    I'm pretty torn about Maurene Goo's third novel. As a fan of K-pop (I have around 15 favorite artists), I expected that I would have a nearly perfect reading experience. Sadly, it seems that my love for the genre isn't strong enough to negate my disl

    .

    .

    I'm pretty torn about Maurene Goo's third novel. As a fan of K-pop (I have around 15 favorite artists), I expected that I would have a nearly perfect reading experience. Sadly, it seems that my love for the genre isn't strong enough to negate my dislike for unrealistic romance. Although instalove is practically a given in YA contemporary, I can't lower my standards and just highlight the book's strong points.

    follows Lucky, the best K-pop artist in the world. (Indeed, she even trumped BTS! LOL) After performing for the ecstatic Hong Kong audience, she realizes that her passion (turned job) no longer makes her happy. Starving because of her low-calorie diet, Lucky escapes the confines of her hotel and goes on a food trip with Jack, a fellow Korean-American who secretly works as a tabloid photographer. Unbeknownst to Lucky, Jack is actually using her to advance his career. However, as the day progresses, he falls in love with her, and his resolve begins to falter. Awesome, right? Hahaha. I don't have to tell you how their story ends.

    I loved how Maureen Goo explored certain issues surrounding the K-pop industry, like plastic surgery, racial discrimination, contractual celibacy, and personal alienation. The latter was emphasized through Lucky's character arc, and I somehow sympathized with her dilemma. She barely spent time with her family because of her hectic schedule, so she was always homesick. Plus, she couldn't go wherever she wanted nor eat her favorite unhealthy dishes. Lucky's management label obliged her to be a perfect "girl next door" who inspired everyone, making it hard for her to stay true to herself. In real life, many K-pop artists probably feel the same way. However, Lucky had it worse because she was a solo artist; girl and boy groups definitely feel less lonely since they live in the same apartment or dormitory and do lots of things together. With all that said, this book can be very enlightening to readers who are new to K-pop.

    As for Jack, he was hecka annoying. He lied to his parents about the nature of his internship, and he basically planned to ruin Lucky's musical career. If the public discovered that she was traversing Hong Kong with a boy, her innocent reputation could be tarnished permanently. I also didn't understand why Jack saw college as a waste of time. Indeed, you can get a job without a degree, but the knowledge that you gain during those four+ years is invaluable. Fortunately, things became better for Jack in the end. He saw the error of his ways and did his best to reconcile with his loved ones. Although the author made Jack's personality unlikable for the sake of character development, I couldn't muster any fondness for him. He was just a contributor to the novel's cultural diversity.

    I haven't read

    , but it's probably similar to this book. After all, both of them feature protagonists who fall in love in a single day. Is that phenomenon really possible? That we-just met-but-I-feel-like-I've-known-you-forever cliche? Ugh. It's ironic how contemporary fiction can seem so fantastical. Hmm...the romance might have been less stressful if it hadn't resulted in cringy dialogue. Hopefully, the final manuscript will be less corny.

    In the end,

    has an excellent depiction of K-pop. I'm glad that Maurene did lots of research to ensure the accuracy and relevance of her work. However, if you're also not a fan of unrealistic relationships, I wish you all the best. xD

  • Emily May

    3 stars. I have some mixed feelings about this one. I might yet bump up my rating because I did enjoy it quite a bit.

    is a sweet, fun one-day romance with short zippy chapters and a few ser

    3½ stars. I have some mixed feelings about this one. I might yet bump up my rating because I did enjoy it quite a bit.

    is a sweet, fun one-day romance with short zippy chapters and a few serious issues lurking beneath the surface.

    Lucky is the hottest new thing in K-pop and she's about to make her American debut. But one eventful night in Hong Kong leads her to Korean American Jack, an aspiring journalist who doesn't recognize her. Lucky uses this opportunity to take a break from all the stress and dieting of her music career. She keeps her true identity a secret and the two go adventuring around Hong Kong and eat a lot of delicious food along the way.

    Jack, on the other hand, sees a different kind of opportunity in his fateful meeting with Lucky. Though he pretends not to know who Lucky is, he is actually planning how he can use this encounter to further his career. He knows a personal story about such a big K-pop star could change everything for him.

    It's a

    . Lots of food, sightseeing, and fun dialogue. Over the course of the day, they open up to each other and come to care for one another. They challenge each other's perceptions and gain strength from one another. One day romances don't always work for me--

    is one example --but this one mostly did. I agree with

    that Yoon is a stronger writer than Goo, but I actually enjoyed this one more, I think, because it didn't seem to take itself quite as seriously. It was lighter and sillier, and didn't try so hard to force the instalove on me.

    As I mentioned, there are some more serious issues brought up over the course of the novel. It is a light book, but with some surprising depth. It looks at body image and anxiety, and the stigma surrounding the latter in Korean culture, with Lucky having to take anti-anxiety meds in secret. Even the way the author examines having your passion be distorted and ruined by expectations and pressures was surprisingly deeper than I expected.

    The only thing I didn't like - and I'm still deciding how big of a deal I think this is - is the messed-up power dynamic that exists for the majority of the story. The first night they meet, Lucky has taken a combination of sleeping pills and anxiety meds, making her seem drunk. Then when she falls unconscious, Jack takes her back to his apartment and tucks her into his bed. He then proceeds to spend most of the book manipulating and lying to her. Rather than adding tension, I honestly felt quite humiliated on Lucky’s behalf when she is oblivious to Jack’s digging and believes his questions to be innocent. It made it hard to ship them when their relationship was built on lies.

    Still, it was a fun quick read, and the issues above don't go entirely unaddressed. I would happily read

    again.

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  • Djezelle

    K-Pop Idol?

    YES!

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