Grace Wilde is about to start her senior year at a boarding school in South Korea. She’ll be far away from her family, the tragedy that happened, and the tabloids that have been chasing them. With a father as a record producer and an older brother topping the country music charts, Grace knew if she wanted to get away, she would have to get out of the country. She can’t escape music though, as it turns out her roommate, Sophie, is the twin sister of Korea’s newest superstar. Grace and Jason can’t stand each other but they try to behave for Sophie’s sake. It gets harder and harder for Grace to deny her attraction to Jason, and to deny that music is a part of her. Becoming part of Jason’s world means being a part of the music world, and Grace needs to decide if she’s ready for that.
I was really excited when I heard about this book. It was compared to Anna and the French Kiss, which I loved, music seemed to be an important plot detail, and it was set in a country that I hadn’t seen as a location before in a YA book. It was a light and easy read but it wasn’t one that left me feeling like I’d fallen in love with the characters, the romance, or had learned a lot about the culture.
There were times when I felt for Grace but most of the time, she just annoyed me. Her reasoning for choosing South Korea was because it was the first result that popped up on Google. She was very judgmental about the whole culture and never really tried to make an effort to appreciate it. She kept saying offensive things then trying to explain why what she liked was better. I could have dealt with it if she was growing as a character, started off a spoiled rich girl and grew up through the book, but she never really did.
I was never really sold on the romance either. I couldn’t see what either Grace or Jason saw in the other. They were both so spoiled and entitled so I guess they did fit together. Neither of them were people I would want to hand around with. They would go back and forth between antagonizing each other and being friendly, probably as a ‘hate you because I love you’ trope but it just didn’t work for me.
I really wanted to love the music plot but it turned out to mostly Grace hating on K-Pop music and listing reasons why western music is so much better. I wasn’t left with the feeling that I needed to go listen to music, any kind of music, after finishing the book. It just fell really flat. The minor characters, Sophie and Jason’s two band mates, tried to save the book and they were characters that I liked, but I couldn’t get past the two lead’s entitlement to fully enjoy them and they were never fully developed.
The concept was really interesting and I wish I had felt more of a connection to the book and the main characters so I could have enjoyed it more.