Author: Axie Oh
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: July 13, 2021
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.
Jenny, a cello prodigy, has dreams to attend a prestigious music conservatory after high school. One night at her uncle’s karaoke bar in Los Angeles, she meets a boy named Jaewoo, who she allows to pull out of her comfort zone for the night. Then, he disappears without a trace. Three months later, Jenny and her mom have to travel to South Korea to stay with her sick grandmother. Jenny signs up to attend an arts academy that also trains K-pop artists. Jaewoo is a student there, and he’s a member of one of the biggest up-and-coming K-pop bands called XOXO. Jenny has finally achieved her dream of attending a music school that can propel her career, but she’s never liked someone as much as she likes Jaewoo. A relationship could derail his K-pop career too. They have to decide if they’re willing to risk everything for love.
I’m not a huge fan of K-pop music, but I love novels about K-pop singers. The K-pop industry is so rigid and strict that it makes a tense setting for a romance novel. There are many rules that the singers have to follow, both while training to be a singer and when they finally become stars. This one showed more of the fun side, though there were some serious moments. The students weren’t allowed to be in a romantic relationship with each other, because that would ruin their clean image. Some rules like that can be life changing, but the stakes weren’t quite that high in this novel.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book and I loved it. I appreciated hearing the Korean names and words, rather than reading them. When I’ve read novels with words of other languages, I never know how to pronounce them. It was helpful to hear these words. I also appreciated that the narrator did different voices for the different characters so I could differentiate them. This was a very well done audiobook!
XOXO is a fun K-pop novel!
What to read next:
Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Have you read XOXO? What did you think of it?