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Idol Gossip

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An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame. Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame. Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave a dank, basement-level stairwell full of graffiti, and slip into a noreabang. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, she pours herself into karaoke, vamping it up in their booth to Lady Gaga while loyal Olivia applauds and howls with laughter. Alice lives for Fridays, but when an older woman stops her on their way out one day, handing Alice a business card with a bow, singing turns serious. Could the chance encounter really be her ticket to elite status at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy? With a little sisterly support, backed by one of the world’s top talent agencies, can Alice lead her group on stage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans — and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way. Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in a debut about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true — for avid K-pop fans and those just discovering the worldwide cultural phenomenon.


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An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame. Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave An inside look at the K-pop phenomenon, in a wry, punchy young-adult debut that probes cultural differences, sisterhood, and the minefield of fame. Every Friday after school, dressed in their new South Korean prep-school uniforms — sweater vests, knee-highs, pleated skirts, and blazers — seventeen-year old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong, brave a dank, basement-level stairwell full of graffiti, and slip into a noreabang. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, she pours herself into karaoke, vamping it up in their booth to Lady Gaga while loyal Olivia applauds and howls with laughter. Alice lives for Fridays, but when an older woman stops her on their way out one day, handing Alice a business card with a bow, singing turns serious. Could the chance encounter really be her ticket to elite status at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy? With a little sisterly support, backed by one of the world’s top talent agencies, can Alice lead her group on stage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans — and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way. Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in a debut about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true — for avid K-pop fans and those just discovering the worldwide cultural phenomenon.

30 review for Idol Gossip

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    What a wonderful and exciting debut! In times where there has been very little live music, I really enjoy books that make you feel like you're part of the excitement of having access to bands on stage and behind the scenes like Daisy Jones and the Six and On the Come Up. There were aspects in the book that to me were underdeveloped, like Joon's story, especially with regards to his sexuality and his relationship to Alice, and I thought he drifted into the background to make way for another equal What a wonderful and exciting debut! In times where there has been very little live music, I really enjoy books that make you feel like you're part of the excitement of having access to bands on stage and behind the scenes like Daisy Jones and the Six and On the Come Up. There were aspects in the book that to me were underdeveloped, like Joon's story, especially with regards to his sexuality and his relationship to Alice, and I thought he drifted into the background to make way for another equally important part of the story which is understandable. The ending also seemed somewhat abrupt, so this would make a perfect sequel in my opinion. Perfect for anyone who's into contemporary YA, not just K-pop fans which was my initial concern when picking it up. Definitely an author to watch!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mar Cisneros

    [4.75/5] Esta reseña está disponible en español en mi blog. Thanks to Raquel Stecher from Walker Books US and Edelweiss+ for kindly giving me the chance to read this as an advanced copy. "I've actually learned that the scariest way is the best way sometimes; you have to be honest and get it all out in the open—otherwise you're just going to get more and more pissed at each other." Alice Choy has always dreamed of stepping on stage in front of thousands of fans to hear her sing, but it's a dream she [4.75/5] Esta reseña está disponible en español en mi blog. Thanks to Raquel Stecher from Walker Books US and Edelweiss+ for kindly giving me the chance to read this as an advanced copy. "I've actually learned that the scariest way is the best way sometimes; you have to be honest and get it all out in the open—otherwise you're just going to get more and more pissed at each other." Alice Choy has always dreamed of stepping on stage in front of thousands of fans to hear her sing, but it's a dream she keeps to herself. When she has to move from San Francisco to Seoul for her mother's job, she gives up singing lessons altogether. But on one adventurous night, she goes out with her younger sister Olivia to a noraebang to sing after months. But what was a fun after-school evening turns into a unique opportunity when a talent scout from Top10, one of Korea's top idol companies, invites her to audition on Saturday. Now Alice could have her dream of singing in front of thousands of people, just not exactly as she imagined. And where to start. The characters are the best option. Alice Choy is our main character and from whom we get the point of view from which the book unfolds. Reason why the story didn't make it to 5 stars. You will see why in due time. Alice is a girl with big dreams in life as well as a great love for her younger sister, but beware of getting between her dreams and her way of achieving them, it gets crazy. After a while, you get tired of her. I don't usually bother with stories because of the characters, but here I can simply say that Alice really was proud and what follows. It is clear that moving, not only continent, but the change of the same culture is not easy for anyone and that learning or at least understanding it is something that takes time, but Alice was simply refused that things were not done to her liking or way. Mind you, when that pride didn't get in her way, she was a very entertaining character to read. Then we have So-hyun, Alice's bestie and idol of a top group in the company. She's a refreshing sight to have when you live in a place with a thousand rules, but even though she was a funny person who cared about Alice, at times I felt like she was a bad influence on her. I know, I sound like a mom, but let's understand that Soh was one of the first to encourage Alice to bond with her new gruopmates, who would be her sisters, but she still always sought her out to do activities together or with Soh's friends. Nicely implemented way to meet people, but it was a double entendre that completely threw me off. And then we have Aria, the beautiful leader of A-List, Alice's new group. From Alice's perspective one might think she's controlling and very demanding, but you have to put yourself in her shoes a bit. The leader of a group to debut already has a lot of weight on their shoulders, so when Alice arrives with nothing but an amazing voice it's a tough blow, because just as Alice thought she would never sing again after she left San Francisco and her dreams would be over, so did Aria feel with Alice's arrival. Yes, she is undoubtedly demanding, but there is an affection she shows and a passion that is noticeable for miles around, and because of Alice's pride it is possible to go unnoticed. I won't talk about the other characters because they each deserve to be introduced to you by the author and story itself, but I must say that Olivia is the little sister I always wanted and Hayan, Yuri and Seol are jewels of human beings next to So Ri. As for the story, my god, if you like kpop don't wait two seconds to get into it and if you don't like it, well you should read it too because we all love music and although from a kpop point of view, it's a neat way to understand parts of what it means to be famous. I loved that we saw dialogues in Korean. Don't worry, my Korean is about as basic as it gets and I can say that you don't miss anything because everything is explained in turn. And not only dialogues explained, but even programs or groups were present in the story and explained if necessary. I certainly fangirled every time something like that happened. And just like the Korean and its setting, an equal plus where the blog entries from V. These are not just tidbits, but help you see a bit of the story before something happens or what triggered a certain event. Let's be blunt, this is not a rom-com. You don't get to see a cute romance or whatever, it's just about how the idols in Korea train and prepare to become the stars that the public loves so much. It's a story where you get right into it, from the pretty stuff, like singing and dancing lessons, photo shoots and lightsticks, to the ugly stuff like gossip, the need for publicity without thinking about the people, diets and sasaeng. And if you think you know everything that's going to happen, I doubt it. It's not a story with plot twists that leave your mouth open, but it's one of those stories that you enter fully, you feel everything and that, when you see the two possible paths, the worst and the least worst, you don't stop biting your nails and thinking what will happen, what path the story will take now and what it will lead to. Even though I said it was not a romantic comedy this story, the laughs were not lacking. No matter how heavy everything may look, there is always a character, mostly So-hyun, who will do or say something that is going to make you laugh. One of the things that fascinated me the most was that, even though it's a story about being an idol, the fans and fandoms were not left on the side, but, thanks to the blogs I mentioned previously, we could see them a little bit. When you are a fan of someone, whether inside or outside of kpop, you hate the idea of them being treated badly. For this is proof that there are always people who are going to be there for the morbid gossip and to make someone less because that's how they think they should care for the one they love. And speaking of lurid gossip, it's not for nothing that this book is called Idol Gossip. V, who publishes The Fix blog, is a very interesting character, even if we only know her/him online. It is a clear example of how fine the line between truth and harassment is. Where is the difference between secrecy and privacy? It's an idea that I enjoyed watching and it really makes you think stuff out. All in all, I have to say that this book completely filled me with a story I didn't know I needed, full of laughter, frustrations, crying and joy. It's clear that Alexandra is just beginning on what seems to be a very prosperous journey as an author and yes, although I read this book before the publication date, I'm just waiting for her to announce her next book. PS. I NEED to get this out of my being before I explode. As a kpop fan, I couldn't help but think of already existing idols to physically represent our A-List girls (with the exception of Alice, who still leaves me wondering). For Aria I have Do Yeon from Weki Meki, for Hayan I have Mayna from Hot Issue, with Yuri there's Si Eun from StayC and finally with Seol it's Ji Yoon from Weeekly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lunabookaddict

    Okay I loved this book and I'm super glad to read another one about K-pop ! Such fun read for the fan and I just hope there are more details. Okay I loved this book and I'm super glad to read another one about K-pop ! Such fun read for the fan and I just hope there are more details.

  4. 4 out of 5

    lexi ☾

    Thank you to Candlewick Press for kindly sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Overall Rating: 3.5 stars Alice Choy loves to sing. After recently moving all the way from San Fransisco to Korea, she and her sister head out one Friday night to sing karaoke together. While at karaoke she is overheard by a talent scout from of the largest K-pop companies, Top10 Entertainment. She’s then offered a spot at Top10s Star Academy where she would train to become a K-po Thank you to Candlewick Press for kindly sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Overall Rating: 3.5 stars Alice Choy loves to sing. After recently moving all the way from San Fransisco to Korea, she and her sister head out one Friday night to sing karaoke together. While at karaoke she is overheard by a talent scout from of the largest K-pop companies, Top10 Entertainment. She’s then offered a spot at Top10s Star Academy where she would train to become a K-pop idol. Alice has to try and make it big in the K-pop industry while dealing with being in the spotlight, anti-fans, and the rigorous training that goes into leading her own girl group. I listen to some K-pop now and then but I certainly didn’t know that much about the industry going into this. It was so eye-opening and interesting to see everything that goes into training to be a K-pop idol. This was definitely a face-paced read, so it kept me interested the whole time. I did feel like the ending was wrapped up too quickly. I wish that it had been a little bit longer so we could’ve seen what happened after the actual ending. I enjoyed the characters in this, especially the side characters Joon and So-hyun. They were both so sweet! I did like Alice, but I found myself getting frustrated with her at certain parts. Her relationship with her sister Olivia was also a sweet addition to the story and her friendship with So-hyun was also another stand-out part for me. I like the added aspect of the blog documenting the K-pop gossip. Social media and the internet are such large parts of fandoms and of anything involving celebrities so I’m glad that that was talked about quite a bit. Overall I loved getting to learn about the K-pop industry throughout this and it was a very entertaining and fun read!

  5. 4 out of 5

    GivernyReads

    I really enjoyed this book. It was witty and original. There were some elements of the book that I felt could have been done better. Things I enjoyed: - The whole story line and flow of the story. It was original and full of surprises. - The relationship between Alice and and her sister in the beginning. - I loved the blog posts between the chapters. It kinda gave you a backstory to some of the characters. It also acted like a narrator giving away all the dirt on the characters. Things I didn't enj I really enjoyed this book. It was witty and original. There were some elements of the book that I felt could have been done better. Things I enjoyed: - The whole story line and flow of the story. It was original and full of surprises. - The relationship between Alice and and her sister in the beginning. - I loved the blog posts between the chapters. It kinda gave you a backstory to some of the characters. It also acted like a narrator giving away all the dirt on the characters. Things I didn't enjoyed: - Alice in the beginning. She was really self-centered and easy to hate. However, Young did a perfect job in developing her character and you could see the development as you read the book. - I didn't really enjoy the last chapter. Alice was all over the place and I only understood the ending when I read the blog post. The plot development was great. I loved the flow and narration going between Alice and the blog posts. It was full of plot twists. However, the ending was rushed and I felt it could have used some work. Character development was spot on. I could see the development of characters as I read the book. Overall this book was incredible. It kept you hooked and wanting to read more. There were some issues with it, but they were minor compared to the enjoyable parts of the book. ARC provided by Walker Books US (Candlewick press) and Alexandra Leigh Young through Edelweiss.

  6. 4 out of 5

    piper

    Thank you to Candlewick Press and Walker Books US for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. First and foremost, this book absolutely delivered on what was promised and I could not be more overjoyed by that. Alexandra Leigh Young brings a fresh perspective to the niche of K-pop YA, with emotional depths and more technical know how. This is probably the first book of this type that I’ve read that doesn’t feature any form of romance, and I don’ Thank you to Candlewick Press and Walker Books US for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. First and foremost, this book absolutely delivered on what was promised and I could not be more overjoyed by that. Alexandra Leigh Young brings a fresh perspective to the niche of K-pop YA, with emotional depths and more technical know how. This is probably the first book of this type that I’ve read that doesn’t feature any form of romance, and I don’t think that’s a detriment. Instead, the story fully focuses on Alice learning and growing both as a teenager and as a budding star. This book is such a joy and I highly recommend it. IDOL GOSSIP by Alexandra Leigh Young is the story of Alice Choy, a Chinese American girl living in South Korea because of her mom’s job. Alice loves singing and wants more than anything to be a singer one day, so when someone from Top10 Entertainment, a premier Korean entertainment with a number of chart topping K-pop groups, approaches Alice and invites her to audition, it’s surreal. What’s even more surreal is that she gets accepted to their trainee program at the Star Academy, and after some pushing by her K-pop stan sister, Olivia, Alice accepts, and starts working toward her debut. But as Alice trains to become an idol, there’s a certain “review” (re: gossip) blog floating around that seems determined to make sure that even if she debuts, she won’t succeed. Will Alice outlast the rumours, or will her K-pop dreams be done before they’ve even started? Where can I even start with all of the things that I love about this book? I love how unabashed the love for K-pop, it’s stars and it’s fans is, while also not shying away from criticising the harms of the industry. One of the unique pulls of this book is a slightly more insider view from Young as a former reporter on the industry within South Korea. Though she doesn’t delve into traditional media coverage of K-pop for the most part, she does get into the more non-traditional points with fan (or really anti-fan)/review blogs on K-pop forums, and how those can have a direct effect on the idol’s lives. We see how these kinds of things affect not only Alice and her group, but also others, and even begin to explore the idea of how a deep love for K-pop, or really anything, can turn into something much more harmful without it even really being noticed. This book is great in part because it not only follows a girl within the K-pop industry but also looks into the deeper parts of that machine. This isn’t about a lack of emotional depth for Alice though, who is a deeply fleshed out character who doesn’t just exist on the page. Throughout the book we see a character motivated by music and a love for those around her, and trying to learn more about herself along the way. One of the most satisfying things in a book to see is a character learning and growing, and though it sometimes takes longer than what the reader might like for Alice to really learn her lesson, she does seem to always get there. She’s far from perfect but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help but root for her along the way. Alongside Alice is a great cast of supporting characters who really just make me wish this book was longer so I could see more of them. Olivia is the perfect little sister (in the character sense) and I genuinely looked forward to every scene with her in it. Joon was such a breath of fresh air always, providing a glimpse into the world of the already established K-pop star and being just one example of a divergence from the shown personality to fans vs what a friend would see. I would venture to say that he was one of my favourite characters and I would go so far as to say I wouldn’t mind seeing a book from his perspective. On the same wavelength is So-hyun, who very obviously represents a difference between an idol personality and real personality, and also provides a friend for Alice when there seems to be no one else. Aria and the rest of A-List were also great, while also being the ones who probably suffered the most from being overshadowed, provide some absolutely fantastic basis for more. We begin to see the depths of Aria near the end of the book, but all it did was leave me hungry for a more in depth look into who these girls that Alice is sharing the stage with are. There were times that I felt that all of these characters deserved more depth, ultimately being limited by the perspective of Alice and the seemingly lack of prove into their inner lives, with Olivia being the most fleshed out seemingly by this measure. Plotwise, I think this book was pretty clear and concise. The story that was pitched and that was even set up by character actions follows through pretty smoothly. There are bumps along the way but they’re all clearly parts of the plot instead of just oversights of the author. Ultimately I think while this book is fairly plot driven, it’s moreso driven by the message that Young is trying to get across. This manifests within plot points (things like V’s blog and the appearance on M!Countdown), and adds to a story that flows from beginning to end. Really I had only two negatives on the book as a whole. One of those is that, especially near the beginning, some of the dialogue and general flow of the book feels a little bit less fluid than it could be. I think there are really just some things that if spoken aloud would flow a little more smoothly but come off as a little more stilted on the page. This ultimately gets a lot better as the book continues and I honestly completely forgot about it once it stopped. Ultimately I think this is a fairly negligible negative in the grand scheme of how good this book is. This might be a cop-out when it comes to flaws that I saw within the book, but probably the biggest one for me is that I needed more. It feels like Alice’s story is just getting started and I’m dying to see how it continues. I also feel like there are parts of her growth arc as a person that could be more fully fleshed out in the long run. I don’t fault Alice for spending a majority of the book acting like a teenager because she is literally a teenager, but some of the turnaround from being largely self-focused in the book to seemingly fully understanding working with others felt just a little bit rushed. Additionally, I want to see more of the other characters within the book, in part because I think any good K-pop book deserves a beautiful cast of supporting characters and this book has so many that could rise to the occasion. Ultimately, I really do think that this book is in the perfect place for a second book, without leaving it all on too much of a cliffhanger. At the end of the day, I just really enjoyed reading this book, and I think it did a fantastic job of balancing the line between a YA book that’s fun to read and that has a message. Alexandra Leigh Young created a compelling storyline and compelling characters to go with it, and I hope that we see her (and maybe the world of Idol Gossip) in the future.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Krys Lenore

    Thank you to Walker Books US and Alexandra Leigh Young for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Idol gossip is the culmination of every K-Pop fans’ dreams. What would you give to debut from the biggest company in the K-Pop world? Alice Choy would give pretty much anything to be a famous singer. She’s wanted to be one since she was a child. Here’s the caveat though. She’s not really that into K-Pop. The K-Pop Stan title belongs to her sister, Olivia. But when she gets personally invited by a Thank you to Walker Books US and Alexandra Leigh Young for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! Idol gossip is the culmination of every K-Pop fans’ dreams. What would you give to debut from the biggest company in the K-Pop world? Alice Choy would give pretty much anything to be a famous singer. She’s wanted to be one since she was a child. Here’s the caveat though. She’s not really that into K-Pop. The K-Pop Stan title belongs to her sister, Olivia. But when she gets personally invited by a famous vocal coache to an open audition for Top10 Entertainment, she thinks it could be too good to be true. In fact, she doesn’t even really want to go. Sure, she’d been taking voice lessons forever, but she couldn’t really dance, and wasn’t sure she would even make the cut. But she does. And it’s probably the most exciting moment of her life. Alice knew things would be hard, but she was sure she’d be fine. At first. She was ready to do anything to improve her skills and hone her talents. But throw in some slightly passive-aggressive groupmates, a cute boy, and the cutthroat K-Pop stan rumor mill? Would she really be up to the challenge? And what about debuting? Was she really up for that challenge? Alexandra Leigh Young does a great job capturing the behind the scenes world of K-Pop. It’s a lot of things that people think don’t really happen in that world. But behind the shiny lights, designer clothes, and catchy songs, there really is an ugly side that not many want to acknowledge. Sure, there are a lot of rules, but do you think your favorite artist is really one to follow all the rules? Would you? I really liked the character development in this book. I also liked all the subtle nods to real-world K-Pop groups in the blog entries! Those were definitely a highlight for me. There were also a lot of situations that I wouldn’t think happen between trainees at the same company. You think, oh yeah they’re close because they work together but they’re probably not really friends. And even if they aren’t, I’m glad this book made it to where they are. It was really nice to see characters from different groups helping each other out when they were feeling down. The friendships felt real and developed naturally. I really loved that about this book. Alexandra’s having lived in Korea definitely also worked in her favor for this book. It was amazing how she was able to put things on the page so visually, without actually using pictures. Another thing was the romanization that is used throughout the book. This will be my sixth year learning Korean, so I always say to never use romanization if you can help it. However, this is probably the best romanization I’ve ever seen. It’s spelled out how it sounds in Korean, which not many people do. I really appreciated that. I’d love to see a sequel if possible, too! There’s some things, like the depth of Aria’s character, and Joon as well, who I would love to see more of. This was such a fun read and I absolutely loved it! I expected to finish it a lot faster but, alas, life got in the way as it tends to. This book was a pretty solid 4.5 stars. It had me going through a rollercoaster of emotions the whole way through. ALY is definitely an author to watch and this is taking up a permanent place on my favorites shelf.

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anna G Idol Gossip focuses mainly on the reality of what k-pop idols go through. The book successfully depicts everything these people face on the lead up to debut and afterwards, from the good parts of singing lessons, dance lessons, photoshoots… to the ugly parts with strict rules about diets and relationships, tight schedules, gossip, scandals, sasaengs, and more. It also shows that even though it’s hard, they persevere because all they want i Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anna G Idol Gossip focuses mainly on the reality of what k-pop idols go through. The book successfully depicts everything these people face on the lead up to debut and afterwards, from the good parts of singing lessons, dance lessons, photoshoots… to the ugly parts with strict rules about diets and relationships, tight schedules, gossip, scandals, sasaengs, and more. It also shows that even though it’s hard, they persevere because all they want is to get better so they can do what they love most. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Many musicians dream of being "discovered"-- and when it happens to seventeen year old Alice Choy, she's launched from a karaoke booth to Star Academy, the school and residence of many elite K-Pop idols. It's true what they say about the rigorous training and pressure it takes to make it in the industry, and Alice experiences the whirlwind of it all in tandem with an anonymous blogger's insider scoops regarding both the beloved and the infamous. Author Alexandria Leigh Young herself is a produce Many musicians dream of being "discovered"-- and when it happens to seventeen year old Alice Choy, she's launched from a karaoke booth to Star Academy, the school and residence of many elite K-Pop idols. It's true what they say about the rigorous training and pressure it takes to make it in the industry, and Alice experiences the whirlwind of it all in tandem with an anonymous blogger's insider scoops regarding both the beloved and the infamous. Author Alexandria Leigh Young herself is a producer and journalist! Idol Gossip is truly a mesh of K-Pop culture and Gossip Girl, an enticing and fast-paced novel of stardom that kept me longing for more after the last page.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Ah, the world of KPop. I admit that I too have been drawn into this world, full of super talented and gorgeous people. A world where music is pumped out on a regular basis, and the average fan has access to their idols pretty much constantly. It’s a much contested place to exist in. On the one hand, the music that comes out of this space is vibrant and spans a vast set of genres. On the other hand, it is really easy to forget that the people inside these shiny, photo perfect groups are real huma Ah, the world of KPop. I admit that I too have been drawn into this world, full of super talented and gorgeous people. A world where music is pumped out on a regular basis, and the average fan has access to their idols pretty much constantly. It’s a much contested place to exist in. On the one hand, the music that comes out of this space is vibrant and spans a vast set of genres. On the other hand, it is really easy to forget that the people inside these shiny, photo perfect groups are real human beings. So when I saw that Alexandra Leigh Young was writing a YA with the focus on the world of KPop idols, I was 100% in. For the most part, I enjoyed this story! Like I mentioned above, the glossy part of this KPop idol world comes with some big issues underneath. I appreciated that Leigh wasn’t afraid to shine a light on this part of things. Alice definitely gets dumped head first into a space that she wasn’t prepared for. As a KPop idol her every move is scrutinized, and often manufactured. Her food intake is watched. Her social media is monitored. Worse still, she has barely any time to keep up with her family because of her insane training schedule. These are all very real things that happen, especially to trainees. It was almost refreshing to see this called out into the open. The biggest issue that I had with Alice though is that Leigh really did just throw Alice straight into the fray with no background. Alice had no idea any of this was coming, and really all she wanted to do was sing. What ensues is a mess of a character arc where Alice refuses to change at all, is a stubborn brat, and starts to drag down the dreams of the other girls in her group who have been training for years. Alice becomes that frustrating entitled character who has done no research and just won’t adapt. Now I would have been more forgiving of this if she had learned any lessons at all, but by the time any real progress is made the story is almost at an end. Alice is not just unlikable, she’s unbelievable. That made it hard for me to make it through this story. It was truly the other characters here that saved the day. So-ri with her famous past, and her eccentric personality. Alice’s band mates, with their sweet personas and their excitement over their new group. Even Joon, who I didn’t expect to like all that much, stole my heart. I loved that the was that famous character who was still humble, and genuinely excited about what he did. In my time spent in the KPop world I can tell you that there are a lot of idols like that. People who are genuinely love making music, and adore their fans. So this was a nice addition for me. Honestly, I really felt like this book could have benefitted from some more length. More time for Alice to learn and grow, more time to really dive into the lives of the idols. It all felt very superficial, and wrapped up too quickly with a neat little bow. I would rate this on the younger side of the YA spectrum though, so maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. This is a quick read, and it does have some very cute moments. So, three stars it is!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Alice Choy and her sister have recently moved to South Korea for their mother's job. Alice has always been a singer at heart, but has not sung since the move. When she and her sister go to karaoke one night Alice is discovered by a scout for Top10Entertainment. From there Alice is swept up into the world of Kpop (the good and the bad) when she begins training at Star Academy and is set to debut with the new girl group A-List. This book was great! I loved living in the world of Kpop while I read. Alice Choy and her sister have recently moved to South Korea for their mother's job. Alice has always been a singer at heart, but has not sung since the move. When she and her sister go to karaoke one night Alice is discovered by a scout for Top10Entertainment. From there Alice is swept up into the world of Kpop (the good and the bad) when she begins training at Star Academy and is set to debut with the new girl group A-List. This book was great! I loved living in the world of Kpop while I read. While I highly doubt anything like what happened to Alice would ever actually happen I didn't care...because this book was fun and had so much heart. It was great to see Alice grow as a person and an artist and become a team player. I also enjoyed all of the side characters and what they brought to the table. The ending left me hanging! I'd love to see a second book about A-List post debut. I was given this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to Walker Books US Candlewick Press and Edelweiss for this ARC.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ev ♡

    a fast-paced and light read for anyone who wants to get back to reading after a slump / break! ofc k-pop fans will appreciate it much more :") the characters were fun however, i wish some parts of the plot were a bit more developed. hence, i'd love to read a sequel! a fast-paced and light read for anyone who wants to get back to reading after a slump / break! ofc k-pop fans will appreciate it much more :") the characters were fun however, i wish some parts of the plot were a bit more developed. hence, i'd love to read a sequel!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    This reminded me of self-insert fanfiction... but in the best way possible. If you were recruited to be a kpop idol, what would you do? Two sisters move from San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea when their parents relocate for work. Alice, who used to take singing lessons in the US, now only gets to practice music once a week with her sister, Olivia, when they visit karaoke bars--until one fateful day, when she's scouted by one of the biggest agents in kpop. In a blur, Alice's life changes as she This reminded me of self-insert fanfiction... but in the best way possible. If you were recruited to be a kpop idol, what would you do? Two sisters move from San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea when their parents relocate for work. Alice, who used to take singing lessons in the US, now only gets to practice music once a week with her sister, Olivia, when they visit karaoke bars--until one fateful day, when she's scouted by one of the biggest agents in kpop. In a blur, Alice's life changes as she explores a world she's only ever dreamed of being a part of. But navigating the kpop industry isn't just finding celebrity-level fame and making music--it's also being hounded by paparazzi and rumours, dealing with jealously, facing scandal, and taking on the challenges of being an idol. Plus, figuring out who she is, too. Idol Gossip is a fun, fast-paced, and dazzling adventure into Alice Choy's rise to fame. I think readers who aren't familiar with kpop might be a bit confused with how the book jumps right in, or the terminology, but it's an entertaining read. ARC provided by Walker Books US (Candlewick press) for the ABA Kids indies introduce panel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy Broderick

    What a journey of following one’s dream and not letting negativity bring down a dream worth fighting for. Thanks again to Edelweiss and Walker Books US (Candlewick Press) for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for feedback. This book had all of the K-pop feels, with drama and influential blogging thrown in. All Alice wants is to sing and to be a part of something bigger - and she gets that chance when she is recruited to train at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy with some of the best tra What a journey of following one’s dream and not letting negativity bring down a dream worth fighting for. Thanks again to Edelweiss and Walker Books US (Candlewick Press) for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for feedback. This book had all of the K-pop feels, with drama and influential blogging thrown in. All Alice wants is to sing and to be a part of something bigger - and she gets that chance when she is recruited to train at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy with some of the best trainees around (and meet some of her idols). However, nothing can go right for Alice when she arrives. Alice learns a lot during this story and what happens at the end surprises not only me (as the reader), but shows that she can trust her group mates and make the right decision for herself and her group to help make dreams come true. The ending was slightly abrupt where I could’ve read more to see what happens to Alice after her performance, but my imagination will have to fill in the rest 🧐👍 Besides the quick ending, the story itself kept me interested and wanting to see how Alice developed during her idol journey.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Idol Gossip in exchange for an honest review. I don't know a lot about the KPOP industry so I can't speak to the accuracy of the way Alexandra Leigh Young portrays it, but I think this could have been a really good plot idea with some really competent narration for the YA contemporary genre. Despite that, I just really, really could never root for Alice. I get that not all books have to have likable protagonists and even books like this one where yo Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Idol Gossip in exchange for an honest review. I don't know a lot about the KPOP industry so I can't speak to the accuracy of the way Alexandra Leigh Young portrays it, but I think this could have been a really good plot idea with some really competent narration for the YA contemporary genre. Despite that, I just really, really could never root for Alice. I get that not all books have to have likable protagonists and even books like this one where you're clearly supposed to root for the protagonist often start off with a flawed character so you can see them grow over time, but Alice's character growth comes so late in the book that I don't think it at all made up for how awful she was beforehand. I think this book tries to do that "this character seems awful but you find out at the end it was for a totally justifiable reason" with one of the side characters, but she didn't even need a justifiable reason. I was accidentally on the wrong side from the getgo because I definitely did not want to be on Alice's.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review. I’m simple: I see k-pop, I’m immediately interested, even if I might end up disappointed (but I usually hope not). Idol Gossip was no exception. Alexandra Leigh Young’s debut novel follows Alice Choy, who has aspirations to be a singer and took regular lessons in San Francisco before she and her family overhau A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review. I’m simple: I see k-pop, I’m immediately interested, even if I might end up disappointed (but I usually hope not). Idol Gossip was no exception. Alexandra Leigh Young’s debut novel follows Alice Choy, who has aspirations to be a singer and took regular lessons in San Francisco before she and her family overhauls their lives to move to Seoul after her mother finds a job there. Now the only person who listens to her sing regularly is her little sister, Olivia, and the two of them sing karaoke weekly. Alice gets the chance to make her singing dreams a reality when a scout from Top10 Entertainment offers her to audition for a spot at their Star Academy, where she’ll train for the rare chance to debut as an idol. If you’re looking for a cute romance featuring K-pop, Idol Gossip is by far the wrong book. The novel goes straight into the rigorous training that Alice is thrown into when she passes her audition with Top10 Entertainment and is the only one (out of plenty of hopefuls) who does so. With her background in singing and years of lessons, she enters their Star Academy as a strong vocal, but she also has a lot of pressure placed on her as she finds out she has only months to prepare for her debut (she’s got a long way to go with dancing) as the newest and final member of Top10 Entertainment’s upcoming girl group: A-List. Young’s descriptions of the industry as Alice undergoes her training is as realistic as those who are familiar with the industry are aware: long training days in various lessons (dance, vocal, language, etc.), restrictive rules like no fraternizing with boys (god forbid, dating), etc. There’s enough information provided that anyone who doesn’t follow or listen to K-pop regularly (but would still like to read a book set in the music industry) won’t be going into the book and left to swim through the waters on their own. I think what really made me dislike Shine by Jessica Jung was there’s too much drama (and cringe fest) and not enough of anything else. Idol Gossip strikes the balance of interesting both K-pop and non K-pop fans with a look into the industry as a trainee while also being entertaining and just enough drama that’ll keep readers invested without falling into cringe mode. While Alice is presented as someone with strong vocals thanks to her years of training, she’s also someone who is self-centered. She’s not the most likable character and is given plenty of chances and opportunities to bond with the other members of A-List (Aria, Yuri, Seol, Hayan), but chooses to shut it down quickly and doesn’t make the effort. But she’s also a teen who has a lot of pressure on her with group’s success or failure (which some of the members have been waiting for years) not too long after she had to give up everything and move to a completely new country. While Alice unfortunately doesn’t have much character development, I personally feel it’s a minor setback compared to the other positives of the book. Her biggest support system is with her little sister Olivia, who encourages and helps her from the very beginning, encouraging her to take the chance and audition. I loved her support for Alice to chase her dreams (even if it’s something she doesn’t expect and maybe there’s a bonus of Olivia meeting her all-time favorite groups) and their relationship with each other. While their bond is strong, it also doesn’t come without any pitfalls. We see this explored a little as A-List gets closer to their debut and pre-debut promotions begin, when Alice’s schedules becomes busier than ever. The path to the idol life isn’t easy, and the book doesn’t shy away from the sacrifices Alice has to make if she wants to make it to debut. I also appreciated the cultural clashes Alice experiences throughout as someone who didn’t grow up in Korea or the culture (she’s biracial Chinese and Irish) rather than her going through flawlessly and magically. Supplementing the story includes blog posts from an influential blogger named V, who is introduced as someone who wants to expose the dark side of the K-pop industry, with regular posts and commentary about news and gossip from groups and idols. The posts also contain comments from netizens ranging from support to hate and everything generally seen in the fandom community, which I thought was a nice complement running parallel with the story, and even more pleasantly surprised that there’s a storyline as well. Idol Gossip was a fun read that spoke to my K-pop soul, and I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Alexandra Leigh Young’s debut novel is perfect for those looking for a novel including music without the romance and goes behind the scenes of the K-pop industry while also staying true to fandom culture. This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    Okay so this is going to be a no from me sis. Idol Gossip is about a girl named Alice who is from California but recently moved to South Korea with her family. Alice loved to sing back home so when her sister manages to drag her to karaoke, she goes off. There she gets invited to try out for an elite academy that churns out kpop idols. But like okay I know I don't like kpop and the stans but I read a book that did exactly that and it was actually good- so it IS possible for me to like a kpop story Okay so this is going to be a no from me sis. Idol Gossip is about a girl named Alice who is from California but recently moved to South Korea with her family. Alice loved to sing back home so when her sister manages to drag her to karaoke, she goes off. There she gets invited to try out for an elite academy that churns out kpop idols. But like okay I know I don't like kpop and the stans but I read a book that did exactly that and it was actually good- so it IS possible for me to like a kpop story!! But absolutely not this one lmao. I know I don't know much about kpop but when I think of kpop I sure don't think amazing Lady Gaga soloist singer like ?? Don't correct me I don't care about whether or not manufactured pop stars actually have singing talent. But it was just bizarre because she said she didn't want to be a kpop star, in a group but then after 5 minutes she's like I've always wanted this and I don't want anything else!! She wanted to sing to be famous and she just walks into all of these opportunities and aces every single one, even when it didn't make any damn sense. She was a terrible dancer and didn't even TRY in the beginning and had such a shit attitude about all the other girls who were trying their best. Like oh sorry not everyone can walk into getting a golden ticket and get instant access to pop star fame. It was so easy for her for what? It was like bad self insert fanfic that never should have left ao3. There was just never any emotional in it. Then the book has random parts from someone's blog where they are being shady and pointing out things wrong with the industry so I thought okay we are going to address the problematic side instead of just being romanticized but it was so pointless because there was no big reveal and it goes no where. Maybe it could have done better with a longer time frame and time for Alice to grow but it goes so fast and it was just so ridiculous.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa S.

    Seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her family have recently relocated from San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea for her mother's work. One night while out singing karaoke with her younger sister, Olivia, Alice is invited to audition with Top10 Entertainment, one of K-pop's biggest companies. Alice is offered a spot at Top10's prestigious Star Academy, where she is then swept up into the world of K-pop and her new girl group, A-List. This is such a good YA debut novel! I really enjoyed the storyline Seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her family have recently relocated from San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea for her mother's work. One night while out singing karaoke with her younger sister, Olivia, Alice is invited to audition with Top10 Entertainment, one of K-pop's biggest companies. Alice is offered a spot at Top10's prestigious Star Academy, where she is then swept up into the world of K-pop and her new girl group, A-List. This is such a good YA debut novel! I really enjoyed the storyline and found it to be unique and intriguing. I love how most of the story is contained within the walls of the Star Academy and how that confinement lends itself to Alice's struggles adjusting to her new life and newfound fame. There is a good deal of character development in the pages of this book, as well as insight into the downsides of fame and what it takes to break into the K-pop industry. I enjoyed the blog posts included at the end of some chapters because they provided a nice view into the gossip surrounding K-pop's biggest (fictional) stars. In terms of what I didn't love, there were just a few things. First, Alice got on my nerves at times because I feel like she was very self-centered and could have avoided some of the drama surrounding her relationship with her group members if she would have just communicated openly with them. Secondly, the ending felt a bit rushed, and I wanted some more closure. Lastly, I would have liked more development of boy bander Joon; he was one of my favorite characters, and I feel like we were given tidbits of personal info about him that I expected to be explored further, but he was just kind of set aside. Overall, this is a great debut and one that I would recommend to YA readers, especially those interested in K-pop. Thank you to Candlewick Press and Walker Books US for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Holtzclaw

    if you're reading this you probably already know just how entrenched in kpop i am, so i went into this with a more critical eye than maybe some other readers will. there were parts of this that i really liked and that i thought were done well! and there were other parts that i thought were pretty cringey! so that's why the rating is in the middle. i really didn't think that the blog posts from that anonymous v person were integral to being included (since it never ended in some sort of reveal). if you're reading this you probably already know just how entrenched in kpop i am, so i went into this with a more critical eye than maybe some other readers will. there were parts of this that i really liked and that i thought were done well! and there were other parts that i thought were pretty cringey! so that's why the rating is in the middle. i really didn't think that the blog posts from that anonymous v person were integral to being included (since it never ended in some sort of reveal). and i didn't feel like it was ended fully? i was reading an arc though so maybe the actual ending is expanded on? hard to say! it was fine for what it was, ultimately!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    ACTUAL: 3.75 stars Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy to review!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine (geraldinereads)

    Boarding school meets K-pop! This was a fun read and at the same time covered some heavy stuff. Review coming soon!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne Pauline

    [this ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review] Back in 2009, I came across Kpop. I was huge fan of SHINee and 2NE1. But I’ve started to left this universe when the years passed. For the past five years, I’ve witnessed the explosion of Kpop in Western countries but I was so scared of coming back to it (because I felt old and illegitimate and the fandoms are SCARY). But that never stopped me from being curious and admirative of this universe. Reading Idol Gossip was an amazi [this ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review] Back in 2009, I came across Kpop. I was huge fan of SHINee and 2NE1. But I’ve started to left this universe when the years passed. For the past five years, I’ve witnessed the explosion of Kpop in Western countries but I was so scared of coming back to it (because I felt old and illegitimate and the fandoms are SCARY). But that never stopped me from being curious and admirative of this universe. Reading Idol Gossip was an amazing experience: it’s not so much about being a fangirl, but more about the reality of what members of Kpop groups are going through. The book never intends to be black or white on that matter, and successfully gives a truthful depiction of those young people trained to be superstars. Even if I’m a bit too old for the "school" trope, I have a confession to make: it’s one of my favorite guilty pleasure. I LOVED that the story takes place in an Academy where you have to dance and sing to pave your way. This is literally the thing I loved the most in books, tv shows and movies when I was a teenager so I’m always glad to go back to that kind of setting. My favorite characters were Aria and Joon and I’m pretty sure that EVERYONE will love them too. I wish I could have had 100 pages more about them because they were so precious. I’ve read it in two days, completely absorbed by it. It was an easy and funny read, and it made me want to have a sequel! rep: asian mc [half chinese], bi sc, diverse ensemble. tw: mention of suicide (kpop celebrity), forced diet, vomiting, alcohol, online harassment.

  23. 4 out of 5

    April

    Idol Gossip By Alexandra Leigh Young 2021 A LibraryThing Early Reviewers book. Becoming a K-Pop Idol is the fantasy of many fans, both in Korea and around the world. But the life of an Idol is not always easy, as Olivia, an American teenager in Korea, finds out when she attends an audition at one of the country's biggest music studios and becomes the newest member of a soon to premier girl group. Especially when you have to learn a new language and culture at the same time you are supposed to be lea Idol Gossip By Alexandra Leigh Young 2021 A LibraryThing Early Reviewers book. Becoming a K-Pop Idol is the fantasy of many fans, both in Korea and around the world. But the life of an Idol is not always easy, as Olivia, an American teenager in Korea, finds out when she attends an audition at one of the country's biggest music studios and becomes the newest member of a soon to premier girl group. Especially when you have to learn a new language and culture at the same time you are supposed to be learning your songs and dance steps. Idol Gossip is a fun and easy read and the characters are interesting and well-written. It could be a good introduction to the K-Pop industry, and I would like to read more, either about Olivia and her group, or other surrounding characters, so I think it has the opportunity to have sequels - and I would read them. If you loved the Princess Diaries series, you will enjoy Idol Gossip. 4 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I absolutely LOVED Idol Gossip. I binge-read the whole book in 2 evenings and I wish I could've kept going after it ended. The story went by smoothly and after the first few chapters I was already attached to Alice's and Olivia's sister bond. What I also really loved is how Alice shared her spotlight with Aria at the end. This truly portrayed her kind-hearted personality and made me love her even more. As a K-pop fan and (learning) Korean speaker, what really appealed to me is the use of romaniz I absolutely LOVED Idol Gossip. I binge-read the whole book in 2 evenings and I wish I could've kept going after it ended. The story went by smoothly and after the first few chapters I was already attached to Alice's and Olivia's sister bond. What I also really loved is how Alice shared her spotlight with Aria at the end. This truly portrayed her kind-hearted personality and made me love her even more. As a K-pop fan and (learning) Korean speaker, what really appealed to me is the use of romanized Korean and K-pop terms. I personally understood all of it, but the context also makes it understandable for non-Korean speakers/K-pop fans too. In conclusion, Idol Gossip is an enjoyable and original novel. The plot- and character developments were surprising and kept me hooked on the story. As a K-pop fan, I would definitely recommend Idol Gossip to fellow K-pop fans, beginning K-pop fans and everyone who just wants to read an exciting and enjoyable book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris G.

    Olivia lures Alice out for Karaoke - they’ve recently moved from the Bay Area to Seoul where mom has taken a job and neither speaks much Korean so they’ve felt a little isolated. At karaoke, a talent scout from Top10 Entertainment gives Alice her business card and invites her to an open audition for Star Academy; Alice initially has no idea that this means training to join a K-pop group. Despite being a terrible dancer, Alice’s voice wins her a spot and she moves into the academy, a highly contro Olivia lures Alice out for Karaoke - they’ve recently moved from the Bay Area to Seoul where mom has taken a job and neither speaks much Korean so they’ve felt a little isolated. At karaoke, a talent scout from Top10 Entertainment gives Alice her business card and invites her to an open audition for Star Academy; Alice initially has no idea that this means training to join a K-pop group. Despite being a terrible dancer, Alice’s voice wins her a spot and she moves into the academy, a highly controlled environment where she is renamed Harmony and added as a fifth member to Top10, a group that will be debuting in six months. K-pop culture and fandoms are entirely foreign to Alice, while the four other girls have been dancing and singing together for years and they are a bit resentful of Alice, who does not help herself by making little effort to befriend the others. Many readers find K-pop intriguing; seeing the discipline required to be a K-pop idol will make this a popular read. EARC from Edelweiss.

  26. 5 out of 5

    devanshi (your resident loud person)

    i think i will make a shelf solely to hold books having kpop content even though i dont listen to it like at all

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jo-Chan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Let's start with the pros about this book: 1. Strong writing that keeps you hooked 2. No romance between FL and ML (instead they become friends which is refreshing after reading so many YA K-pop books) 3. A non Korean American main character (she's half Chinese half white) 4. Aria (who isn't the main character) Now the cons: 1. Alice the main character full stop If you were hoping to root for the main character, then this is not the book for you. If Young was trying to capture how annoying and self-cen Let's start with the pros about this book: 1. Strong writing that keeps you hooked 2. No romance between FL and ML (instead they become friends which is refreshing after reading so many YA K-pop books) 3. A non Korean American main character (she's half Chinese half white) 4. Aria (who isn't the main character) Now the cons: 1. Alice the main character full stop If you were hoping to root for the main character, then this is not the book for you. If Young was trying to capture how annoying and self-centered Americans are, she 100% nailed it with Alice. The main character is so self-centered and oblivious to the fact she constantly hurts EVERYONE around her (especially her group mates) you just can't help but hate her. It gets so bad you start rooting for Aria who literally does everything right as a leader of a group (attempts to bond, expressing concern, willing to help, etc) while Alice unfairly vilifes everything Aria does. Everytime Alice does something wrong she immediately puts the blame on someone else. Not only that, Alice keeps making the opposite of what is clearly the common sense decision. For example, instead of spending any quality time with her group mates, she becomes close friends with a idol who already debuted and has her own group. Even when other characters CLEARLY point out how Alice doesn't think about others or apologize for her mistakes, it just right out of her ears. When Alice finally gets the wake up call that she's been an AWFUL team player, you just don't care anymore, and it's literally right at the end of the book. Personally chapter 8 is the best chapter because Alice gets scolded by Miss Jackie (which it's cruel), and it's so satisfying to finally have someone tell Alice how she doesn't think about how her actions affects those around her. Overall, if this is a commentary on how self-absorbed Americans are, it gets an A+. But I doubt it so it gets 2 stars. Current ranking of YA K-pop books: 1. I'll be the one 2. XOXO 3. K-pop Confidential 4. Idol Gossip 5. Shine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Raji

    Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . Thank you to the publisher, Candlewick Press, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Having recently moved from San Francisco to Seoul for their mom’s job, Alice Choy and her little sister Olivia have had a difficult time settling in. Alice, who took regular voice lessons back home, misses singing and agrees when Olivia convinces her to try karaoke, which becomes a weekly activity Find this review and more on my blog at Worlds Unlike Our Own . Thank you to the publisher, Candlewick Press, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Having recently moved from San Francisco to Seoul for their mom’s job, Alice Choy and her little sister Olivia have had a difficult time settling in. Alice, who took regular voice lessons back home, misses singing and agrees when Olivia convinces her to try karaoke, which becomes a weekly activity that the sisters enjoy. One day, Alice is approached by a talent scout from Top10 Entertainment, a talent agency, and she invites Alice to an open audition for Star Academy, where future K-pop groups train. Despite having no dance skills, Alice is accepted due to her great singing, and she moves into the academy, finding herself in a completely new environment, joining the group that will debut as A-List in just a few short months. But the other four girls have been training together for quite some time and Alice, as the newcomer, struggles to find her place and has to work extremely hard to make it to the same level so that she will be ready to perform with them on time. First things first, I know next to nothing about K-pop, so readers more familiar with this type of music and the industry can comment about how accurately this book portrays it all. Apart from that though, this book was a really interesting insider type of view into the industry, what the idol’s lives are like, and how fans (and anti-fans) can have such a strong influence on them. It’s also set in a boarding school which is one of my favorite tropes, and following Alice on her journey and seeing the inner workings of what training can be like was fascinating. As far as the characters go, I liked Aria, the leader of Alice’s group. While she initially appears to be controlling, it becomes obvious very quickly how much the group means to her and the pressure she, along with the other girls, have about making the upcoming debut work. Alice, from whose perspective the story is narrated, was not a particularly likeable character at the beginning and was quite self centered. However, the author has done a great job with her arc and Alice really grows as a character throughout the book. The ending was a bit abrupt and I would have liked a more comprehensive conclusion since I still have quite a few questions. Of course, if this is intended to have a sequel, it’s an excellent place to end this book, but I didn’t really get the feel of there being one planned. Still, it would be great to see a sequel for Idol Gossip and I would definitely read it! Overall, I really enjoyed this book despite my extremely limited knowledge of the subject matter, and I thought it was a very unique concept for a story. Highly recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    *3.75 stars 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘙𝘊 𝘪𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸! "𝐎𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐧𝐨 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜." Idol Gossip is a YA contemporary novel that follows the story of Alice Choy as she trains to become a K-pop idol. This book was very entertaining! Once I got into it, it was hard for me to put it down. I would read it whenever I could (even at work sometimes when it was slow). I really enjoyed the pacing of this book, it kept me on my toes. As for the plo *3.75 stars 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘙𝘊 𝘪𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸! "𝐎𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞 𝐧𝐨 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜." Idol Gossip is a YA contemporary novel that follows the story of Alice Choy as she trains to become a K-pop idol. This book was very entertaining! Once I got into it, it was hard for me to put it down. I would read it whenever I could (even at work sometimes when it was slow). I really enjoyed the pacing of this book, it kept me on my toes. As for the plot of the book, I loved learning more about how the world of K-pop functions and what a trainee must go through to become an idol! However, I do feel that there were some missed opportunities in terms of the plot. First of all, (view spoiler)[the book features an anonymous blogger who reports on the lives of the K-pop idols and I would have loved for her to have played a bigger role in the plot (hide spoiler)] . Secondly, I felt that the book was cut a bit short and I think that the ending should have been longer, as it was a bit rushed. Regardless, I still did enjoy the plot of the book, I just feel like it had the potential to be more! As for the characters, I liked most of them! The only one who bothered me a bit at times was Alice, as she would recognize the source of her problems/conflict and yet not really make an effort to fix it. I was not really a fan of that quality, but other than that she was a pretty relatable protagonist! I also did really like the relationship between her and her love interest, but I do wish it had blossomed into more. Overall, an engaging book with room to improve! A great read for fans of XOXO by Axie Oh!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Luca

    To keep it short and simple I really love how this book did away with all the cliches and expectations that you would come in with. Firstly, it’s not romance centred which I must say I really appreciate, and think makes the whole book much more realistic! I also really enjoyed the character development of Alice. Her actions are actually held accountable, while still feeling somewhat sympathetic towards her, mostly supported by the fantastic side characters. On that note, all the characters, parti To keep it short and simple I really love how this book did away with all the cliches and expectations that you would come in with. Firstly, it’s not romance centred which I must say I really appreciate, and think makes the whole book much more realistic! I also really enjoyed the character development of Alice. Her actions are actually held accountable, while still feeling somewhat sympathetic towards her, mostly supported by the fantastic side characters. On that note, all the characters, particularly Sohyun and Joon, were so charming and genuine I found myself wishing they were real life idols to stan. The ending was so sweet and perfect I heard myself going “Awwwwwwh” the moment I finished the book. Lastly, as someone who consumes…. a fair bit …. of K-pop, I found that the book does a great job at actually “feeling” like the K-pop world, partially through the blog entries, but also how no stereotype or particular image/perception of K-pop is overplayed, explored both through the good and the bad. It was overall an enjoyable and light-hearted read, if you’re a K-pop fan you will definitely enjoy this.

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