Themes: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Korea
Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.
Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.
After falling in love with The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, I couldn’t wait to discover another book by Axie Oh. So, I bent my TBR a little to include XOXO and I just freaking loved it!
In this very cute romance, we are following Jenny, a cello major student, who ends up moving to Seoul to take care of her grandmother. But what a surprise it is when she discovers that the guy she met a few months ago in LA is attending the same school and that he is a Kpop idol!
I think that the things I enjoyed even more than the romance were the settings and the characters. Axie Oh is very talented in writing books that are very easy and quick to read while giving you a completely constructed setting, that is making you learn more about the Korean language and culture. And I appreciate that the author is not only comforting the image readers might have of this country by showing its darker sides too, such as the issue of school bullying and the all idols system.
For the characters, the point is that I really enjoyed Jenny making new friends and interacting with them, even more than her relationship with Jaewoo. Don’t get me wrong, the romance was cute and well constructed but it was the friends that made me smile and even laugh sometimes. Concerning the romance, I appreciate that there is a certain “equality” between our main characters, meaning that Jenny isn’t the poor, lonely and lost girl saved by the star but that we have a relationship between two young people facing difficulties that are logical for their age and situation.
In brief: It was a surprise in the sense that I was expecting something a lot more cheesy with immature characters (this is YA after all) but ended up with a sweet story about love, family and friendship that I read in almost one sitting!
My rating: 5/5
3 thoughts on “XOXO by Axie Oh”
This is an amazing review!! I LOVE this book so much, for all the reasons you listed! The romance was so lovely but it was the Korean language and culture that stood out the most!
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Thanks for your lovely comment 💜 I totally agree with you, it was so interesting from a cultural point of view!
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