Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for XOXO! I’m so excited because today I have a guest post by Axie Oh to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
XOXO by Axie Oh
Published on July 13, 2021 by HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Romance
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Author Links: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram
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.
If You Like This K-Drama, Read this YA Novel!
True Beauty follows a heroine who, because of the pressures of Korean societal beauty standards, wears makeup in order to turn herself “beautiful.” Based off a webtoon, this delightful drama is full of humor, romance, family moments, empowering character arcs, and of course, beauty products! Which brings me to…MADE IN KOREA, a story that follows two Korean diaspora entrepreneurs who have competing K-beauty businesses. Like True Beauty, MADE IN KOREA is a delightful romp with sparkling character moments—between the leads, but also between their friends and families. Both stories give you that warm, happy feeling, while also showcasing the best of K-Beauty.
A Korean Odyssey, or Hwayugi, is a hilarious, action-packed K-drama filled with the Hong sisters (Hotel Del Luna)’s usual fun and flair. Playing on Korean mythology and legends with the main source material being the Chinese classic Journey to the West, this drama is a shining example of a modern fantasy K-drama! Which brings me to… THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO. Like Hwayugi, this YA novel is a modern retelling of Journey to the West, and focuses on the wily Monkey King as the hero. Both drama and book are action-packed with zany characters and a hero and heroine worth rooting for.
This might seem like an odd pairing, but not really when you think about it! Age Of Youth focuses on the day-to-day lives of several young women who live in the same boarding house, following each of the heroines’ trials and tribulations, as well as their triumphs. It doesn’t shy away from the darker moments in the characters’ lives, but also takes care to show the enduring friendships between women. All of the above accurately describes THE WILD ONES, which, though more fantastical in nature, also follows the lives of a group of women. Like Age Of Youth, THE WILD ONES has big plot moments, but where it really shines are the character interactions and the small moments that bring individuals closer together. Both are outstanding examples of storytelling.
This is another pairing where the drama and the book aren’t in the same genre, and yet they’re very similar, and *do* overlap in the Thriller/Mystery category. Save Me is an eerie and suspenseful drama about a group of teenage boys who gets involved with a classmate trapped in a religious cult. An intense show with incredible performances by the lead actors, especially Seo Ye Ji as the trapped heroine, and Woo Do Hwan in one of his first major roles. Like Save Me, THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS follows a heroine who’s trying to unravel the mystery of several missing girls on the island of Jeju, Korea during the 1400’s. It’s eerie and atmospheric with a lot of heart-pounding moments. In general, all of June Hur’s historical mysteries have that thrilling aspect, including her 2022 release, THE RED PALACE, which, as a fun tidbit, features a love interest who has a striking resemblance to Woo Do Hwan.
This recommendation speaks for itself! Goong is a classic K-drama about an ordinary high school girl who, due to a promise her grandfather made a long time ago, becomes betrothed to the crown prince of Korea! (In this alternate universe, the monarchy in Korea still exists). Fun palace hijinks ensue. In a similar fashion, TOKYO EVER AFTER follows a high school teen living in the U.S. who discovers her father is actually the crown prince of Japan, making her a princess!
It seems the obvious drama comp for WICKED FOX would be My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, but I actually think the vibes are more aligned with Goblin. In Goblin, a high school teen falls for a dokkaebi, a mythological creature from Korean myth. While At times funny, at times dramatic and moody, Goblin is an epic feast for the senses, similar to WICKED FOX! Except for in WICKED FOX, we’re following a high school boy who falls in love with a gumiho (in Korean mythology, gumiho are beautiful women who turn into foxes). Like Goblin, WICKED FOX is atmospheric and moody, with lots of heart-pounding K-drama scenes, but also sweeter, more personal moments.
Honestly I couldn’t decide between Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, True Beauty, and You’re Beautiful. If you like any of these dramas, then definitely check out XOXO! Like Weightlifting Fairy, XOXO takes place on a campus with dorms and features lots of lively and fun moments between friends. And like True Beauty and You’re Beautiful, XOXO has humor, music, and a swoony K-drama romance!
Thank you for tuning into my K-dramas and YA book recommendations chat! If you want to see what K-dramas I’m currently watching, you can check out my mydramalist profile!
What do you think about XOXO? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!