Idol Gossip

Walker Books. Sept. 2021. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536213645.
Gr 7-10–Young’s YA debut is an entertaining romp through the world of K-pop. Seventeen-year-old Chinese American Alice Choy is adapting to life in Seoul after her mom’s diplomat job moved the family to South Korea from San Francisco. An afternoon karaoke session with her sister Olivia turns into a life-changing event when a K-pop talent agent hears Alice sing and offers her a coveted audition. Soon Alice is ensconced in Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy, living in a dorm with the rest of her assigned girl group, trying to learn Korean, dance moves, and all of the intricacies of the K-pop lifestyle at once. Alice struggles to adjust to her grueling schedule and bond with her group members as the date of their debut looms. K-pop and YA fans alike will find much to enjoy in this deep dive into fan culture and the music industry. Young takes a nuanced, thoughtful look at Alice’s relationships with her fellow musicians, from supportive to jealous. Alice and Olivia’s sibling bond is also well done. Though the ending is a bit abrupt, there is much to enjoy in this inside look at the world of K-pop.
VERDICT A fun glimpse into what happens when your dreams of fame come true, great for fans of Maurene Goo, Anna Carey, and Jessica Jung.

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