Shine, by Jessica Jung

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I picked up an advanced readers’ copy of Shine because it was likened to Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl and even though there were a few narrative snags, I absolutely devoured this book.

Seventeen-year-old Korean American Rachel Kim wants more than anything to be a K-Pop star. Six years ago, she was recruited by DB entertainment, one of the biggest K-Pop labels in Seoul. All she has to to is work 24/7, look flawless and don’t date. She’s talented and works hard, despite the fact that her mother disapproves of her dreams. When she catches feelings for DB star Jason Lee, things get even more complicated. Will Jessica have what it takes to SHINE?

A Wild Roller Coaster

I love a good book with lots of ups and downs. Call me crazy, but if a character isn’t suffering just a little bit, what’s the point? Luckily, every time Rachel manages to claw her way to some success on her quest to become DB’s next K-Pop sensation, some other obstacle appears. One of my favourite parts comes early on in the book, when Rachel finally gets to show all of the judges just how great a singer she is. And she gets to sing with Jason Lee! Just when we think that things might turn around…she barfs all over DB’s biggest K-Pop star.

Although the ending was a tad confusing (is Jason Lee a nice guy or not?), I still loved reading through all of the twists and turns, because I never quite knew where Rachel would end up next.

An Eye-Opening World

It was fascinating to read about the K-Pop world and all of its dirty little secrets. Reading about the daily weigh-ins, fierce competition and controlling producers was thrilling and totally satisfying. I can’t quite believe that I’d never discovered K-Pop before, because it is more than a little addictive!

I like to read books that reveal a part of the world I’d never considered before and it’s also super fun to follow Rachel along for the ride as she rises to stardom and gets to fly around on private jets and wear designer clothes. In a voyeuristic sort of way that does evoke Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl, taking a peek at the K-Pop world was a fun trip.

Shine is a fun, quick read if you’re looking to escape into a glitzy, exciting world for a little while.

What’s your favourite escapist read?

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