About the Book:
Author: Katie M.Stout
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s)
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: Standalone Contemporary
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review: Finding the “perfect” kind of summertime read is often conjoins the contemporary genre. That seems like everyone’s preference over the summer months.. This book defines that definition with its breezy premise and hidden punches that work on the characters to create friction. The story is about a girl named Grace who is running away from her family, pain and essentially life. She runs to Korea where she attends an elite boarding school to wrap up her senior year in high school. In spite of a friendly – and English speaking roommate, Sophie, Grace is still afraid to open herself up again. Between Sophie and her troubled twin brother, Jason – who is a famous pop star, Grace discovers she cannot always run away from her problems.
The storyline for this was really unique. The sheer amount of “culture shock” alone ensured that this would be an exciting read. Not in the traditional sense, but there was a definite exciting quality that a reader cannot ignore. At the surface, this book is all sunshine and happy thoughts. Its cover is darling and the synopsis sounds like a musical journey that’s good for the heart. But look closer and you’ll actually discover a story about two people who have nothing figured out because of a past that left them with deep scars. Jason is on the cusp of a spiral that leads anywhere but good places, and yet, Katie managed to conjure a hero who is nothing if not likeable. His heart is always in the right place despite some of the typical mistakes he makes. Then there is Grace. Her depth of pain is more internal than Jason’s, only because we see his. Grace’s is kept internally and through her first-person narrative, we slowly peel back the layers of those secrets and devastating losses.
Though the book has heavier themes and important lessons that are fleshed out nicely for a variety of reasons, this book is really the perfect kind of summer read. It’s got a lot of fun things going for it, not the least of which is placing a fair, blond-haired girl in the middle of a culture she is unfamiliar with. The relationship between Grace and Jason has reflections of a Lizzie and Darcy relationship (yes, subtle maybe, but it’s there), and I adored Sophie. If you are looking for a little armchair adventure over the summer, make it Hello, I Love You. Its fresh, quippy voice and entertaining characters makes the book a debut you shouldn’t miss experiencing. Katie winds everything down in a hopeful, “right place to be” kind of ending. There’s a promise of what might come, yet doors are opened that don’t get solid answers. Say “hello” to this charming debut and its band of characters.
Synopsis: A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.
Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.
Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process. – Goodreads
Sincere thanks to the publisher (thanks so much, Michelle!) for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.