Hi all my bookworms!
My name is Chiara and I am a Bookworm.
How are you all?
I’m happy to be sharing this book review with you today, and this is my first ARC review in a long time. The first of many to come soon hopefully. I have a lot of catching up to do on NetGalley. I think it is pretty important to point out that I received this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.
I’m not sure where I first saw Hart and Seoul, I think it was on another blog and for whoever put me onto this book, I’m sorry that I’ve forgotten who you are. That one view of the book on the blog prompted me to check NetGalley, especially with my love of Korean culture, on the off chance that I could request it and guess what, I could and now well, I think you can deduce how we got here.
Title: Hart and Seoul
Author: Kristen Burnham
Publisher: Mascot Books
Date published: 4th June 2019
Format: e-book ARC
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
Blurb: Girl meets boy. Boy falls for girl. Girl discovers boy is a runaway K-pop idol in hiding.
Merilee Hart has been doing her best to keep things together since her mother left, her art a welcome escape from her depressing new reality. But things seem to go even more awry the moment her next door neighbour’s enigmatic and mysterious nephew arrives from South Korea. Lee is moody, cocky, and utterly infuriating.
But when Merri’s closest friends betray her and her father crushes her dream of going to art school, Merri finds herself drawn to Lee, who seems to live within even greater shadows than her own. And just when she thought things couldn’t get crazier, Merri’s world is upended when she discovers Lee’s big and bizarre secret…he is none other than a runaway member of the K-pop mega-group Thunder.
It’s not long before Thunder’s fans, the Storm Chasers, begin to close in on Lee, ready to do whatever it takes to return their favorite idol to his rightful place in the band. Faced with the prospect of even more heartbreak and caught up in an international whirlwind that has a life of its own, Merri realizes that she must find a way to mend herself, gain control of her life, and pursue her dreams—her heart and soul depend on it.
Upfront I must say that I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. I read through this in two sittings and I couldn’t stop.
But I have a couple of things I didn’t love with this book.
First of all the book, especially in terms of plot and intrigue, was predictable. The enemies to lovers trope was well done, but you knew exactly where this was going. Boy meets girl. Girl doesn’t like boy, boy doesn’t like girl. Eventually, with a little bit of pushing, they become friends and then a little bit more. The pair are torn apart in traumatic circumstances and then he wins her back in a grand, dramatic gesture.
Isn’t that how all romance books go? There was nothing new. Nothing unusual in the telling of the story.
Until you got to the ending. The ending was a cliff hanger, and I LOVE myself a good cliff hanger. I don’t like unresolved stories. I want to know what happens right now! Please, Kristen, when will the next book be out?
(And can I just say why don’t big romantic gestures happen like that in real life? Why couldn’t that be me?)
But coming away from that, my other problem with the book was the use of Korean language in the book. I have no problem with Korean wordage being used, even in speech but I would have preferred to have the word spelt in their correct romanisation rather than how Meri was hearing them, unless it was when her misunderstanding the pronunciation. I’ve read Kristen’s blog and she wrote something about how she went back and to between using the romanisation and phonetic pronunciation. Here is the original post. I think in the end, for me at least, she made the wrong decision on that one.
The characters were great. Deep, well-rounded and human, and not just the two main characters, Lee Hyung Kim and Meri. You meet a lot of other characters along the way and Burnham has obviously given a lot of thought to those characters and then never come across as 2-D. Even down to the simple thing as when Lee never uses contractions and Ms. Parks stilted English.
In an ideal world I would have given this book three and a half stars but I would rather round down than up, especially with this, despite how close it was to four stars.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone and I hope that you enjoy it as much, if not more than I did.