This book review is spoiler free!
Author: Stephan Lee
Series: K-pop Confidential
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Candace Park knows a lot about playing a role. For most of her life, she’s been playing the role of the quiet Korean girl who takes all AP classes and plays a classical instrument, keeping her dreams of stardom-and her obsession with SLK, K-pop’s top boyband-to herself. She doesn’t see how a regular girl like her could possibly become one of those K-pop goddesses she sees on YouTube. Even though she can sing. Like, really sing.
So when Candace secretly enters a global audition held by SLK’s music label, the last thing she expects is to actually get a coveted spot in their trainee program. And convincing her strict parents to let her to go is all but impossible … although it’s nothing compared to what comes next.
Under the strict supervision of her instructors at the label’s headquarters in Seoul, Candace must perfect her performance skills to within an inch of her life, learn to speak Korean fluently, and navigate the complex hierarchies of her fellow trainees, all while following the strict rules of the industry. Rule number one? NO DATING, which becomes impossible to follow when she meets a dreamy boy trainee. And in the all-out battle to debut, Candace is in danger of planting herself in the middle of a scandal lighting up the K-pop fandom around the world.
If she doesn’t have what it takes to become a perfect, hair-flipping K-pop idol, what will that mean for her family, who have sacrificed everything to give her the chance? And is a spot in the most hyped K-pop girl group of all time really worth risking her friendships, her future, and everything she believes in?
Plot / Storyline
When we meet Candace we see a part of her normal life. When she sees an advertise, she decides to audition for the girl group of S.A.Y. Entertainment. She becomes a trainee and moves to South Korea for her training, which is anything but easy. If you want to make your debut, you have to work really hard…
We follow this story through Candace’s eyes. I noticed that Candace doesn’t know all K-pop terms. I think this is smart of the author because someone who isn’t very familiar with this genre and the things around it can follow it a bit more easily as this is all explained to Candace. Some words are bold, which means you can find them in the K-pop dictionary in the back. Super handy!
Candace is a Korean-American girl who loves k-pop but prefers to keep it to herself as she thinks it’s a bit corny that a Korean girl thinks k-pop is amazing. She dreams of becoming a singer.
Imani is a good friend of Candace who loves K-pop and kimchi. She tries to convince Candace to audition.
YoungBae is Korean-American just like Candance. He is also a trainee and is in Candace’s language class.
One.J is a team member of the popular group SLK and the face of S.A.Y. He is Candace’s bias.
There is certainly some romance in this book! It is a bit tucked away, but a trainee shouldn’t be close to a boy …
What I liked the most
I liked that the author mentioned groups in the book such as Blackpink, Twice, and Red Velvet. These are groups that actually exist and are quite popular. I listen to Blackpink the most. I also liked that Candace used a presentation to convince her parents to let her go to South Korea. There were certainly more fun moments in the book, but I don’t want to reveal everything!
Warning: This book covers intense topics such as dieting and body shaming.
Publisher De Fontein was kind enough to send me a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
K-pop crush is about the journey from a normal Korean-American girl to possibly debuting idol and that journey is difficult. Your training starts at 4 AM and continues until midnight. Dancing with sandbags and a strict diet is something that trainees are used to. If you want to make your debut, you have to work very hard and give it your all. I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. I already knew a few things about K-pop but I had no idea that being a trainee is SO tough. This book is not all about hard work. There are also feel good moments and some humor. If you’re a K-pop fan or want to learn a bit more about this, this is a good book to pick up! I really hope that there will be a sequel because I would like to read more about Candace’s adventure.
Also nice to know: Korean are used in the book but in the back is Imani’s K-pop dictionary where you can find most of the words. Some words are already explained in the story itself.