XOXO – Book Review

Title:- XOXO

Author:- Axie Oh

Date published:- July 13th 2021

Publisher:- Harper Collins

No. of pages:- 352 pages

Genre:- YA/ Romance


Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.

Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.

With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.

Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.

When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love. XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh. 

OK if you love a story of a normal ordinary girl falling in love with one of the popular K pop band members then this book is definitely one for you! Oh, and if you love watching K dramas (which I do) with sugar coated love stories, then this book will be perfect one for you.

Jenny is a cellist and her only ambition is to enter into one of the elite music schools in the country, the Manhattan Music School. She works part time at her uncle’s karaoke bar and meets a boy name Jaewoo. That night she and Jaewoo hang out and become friends and exchange numbers. Jenny tries contacting Jaewoo but he never replied to any of her messages.

Then Jenny’s grandmother who lives in South Korea becomes sick and she and her mother move to South Korea temporarily. She enrolls into an art academy in Seoul and then meets…Jaewoo. But she soon realizes that Jaewoo is a popula K pop idol and belongs to a popular band called XOXO. Then begins the love story of a forbidden relationship.

OK, as a fan of Korean dramas, this actually did remind me of Boys Over Flowers a little bit and You’re Beautiful, if you have watched those two Korean dramas. I was listening to the audio book so the narrator did a great job with the book. Nearly all the characters in the story are likable–I do like how Jenny made friends at the academy and even became best friends with her roommate Sol Hee who also had a romantic relationship with one of the members of the band Nathaniel. The story itself is engaging and I found the love story between Jenny and Jaewoo really cute and adorable! Though I felt like I was watching a cheesy romantic Korean drama, I actually enjoyed reading this book. The author did a good job of drawing the reader into the story and getting to experience what the life of a student is really like in Korea.

For ones who love a good YA romance with a Korean drama setting, then this book is one for you–worth five stars!

Axie Oh is a first-generation Korean American, born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California San Diego and holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea, and she currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her dog, Toro (named after Totoro). Axie is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, XOXO, and the Rebel Seoul series.

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