Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

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Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Hello, I Love You
Katie M. Stout
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: June 9th 2015
by St. Martin's Griffin

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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.
-A copy was provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for review-

A sweet, feel-good kind of read, Hello, I Love You transported me to Korea with its highly descriptive and atmospheric writing.

I had a good time reading this novel, the romance is cute and full of chemistry, buuuut (you knew it was coming) the hot and cold nature of their relationship for a good 90% of the book does get frustrating. Even though Grace ends up having a reason behind her inability to trust and open up her heart, I couldn’t help but find myself annoyed at her sudden bursts of coldness. She was so blind by what transpired in her past – which we only find out about at the very end – that she becomes this cold-hearted bitch every time they actually start to get close. She should have given him credit just to stick around after these mood-swings, but no, he drank once or twice so he’s bound to become just like her brother… So yeah, the romance and I had a love-hate relationship. When they were happy and finally getting along I loved it – their chemistry is undeniable and he is simply adorable, if a bit broken – but then she would turn around in the blink of an eye and ruin it all!

While I didn’t dislike Grace per se, I absolutely loved the secondary characters. Her roommate Sophie is a blast – energetic, funny, and a wonderful friend. Jason’s bandmates are also full of charisma and personality. I even loved her sister, Jane, even though she barely makes an appearance in the book. It’s obvious the author knows how to build a cast full of memorable characters who all add a little something extra to the novel. There’s also an emotional layer that surfaces towards the end. It’s something I did not expect and comes with quite the tear-jerker of a baggage. It also explains Grace’s state of mind (better late than never, but still late enough that annoyance towards her is to be expected).

Now, Korea; I have never been, nor am I a listener of KPOP, so I can’t vouch for how accurately it may or may not depict it all, but I found myself charmed by the boarding school, the cities, the streets, the culture, the crowds – I became enchanted by it all. Especially when you add in the dazzle of music and fame. I love when an author is able to transport me to a new country and make me feel as if I was the one walking the streets, experiencing the culture. Accurate or not, the setting is believable and well-utilized throughout.

A foreign country, a slow-burning romance, a plot that includes friendship, family, and a dash of secrecy – Hello, I Love You is an easily enjoyable story. I would recommend it to fans of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Anna and the French Kiss.

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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14 Responses to “Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout”

  1. Preethi @ Time Turning Reads

    This book is one of the few that isn’t on my TBR haha, but I didn’t know it took place in Korea so now I’m kind of interested. I’m not so sure about the main character blowing hot and cold though – I guess I’ll just have to read it to see how I feel about her. Funny though, I have yet to read Anna and the French Kiss or Statistical Probability. Great review, Giselle!

  2. MIchelle @ Book Briefs

    I have this one waiting on my TBR for me. Now that I know you enjoyed it well enough, I’m even more excited to read it 🙂 Maybe that will encourage me to get to it faster. haha Im really excited to meet these secondary characters

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  3. Jeanna

    I just returned from studying abroad in Korea and when I heard this book was coming out, I was beyond ecstatic. However, I have been seeing a lot of negative reviews and am still hesitant to start it. I’m glad you liked it, but that kind of romance may get too annoying for me. Fantastic review! Happy reading!

  4. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    So glad you ended up liking this more than I did! I agree that Grace was incredibly hot-and-cold and it was really getting on my nerves. I felt like Jason was inconsistent in the same way, too.

    I haven’t been to Korea yet, but I honestly felt like the descriptions were lacking. 🙁 If it wasn’t explicitly stated that the book was set in Korea, I would’ve assumed that it took place elsewhere, like perhaps Japan…

    Awesome review either way, Giselle!

  5. JennRenee

    Sounds like a fun raed. i know nothing about kpop either, but I am willing to learn a bit in this book. I like slow burn romances but for sure the hot and cold can get frustrating. sometimes I just want to slap these characters and yell “make up your mind!!!” it still sounds like a really cute read though. I love the cover too, its really cute.

  6. Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    I’m so excited for this one! I don’t really know anything about Korea & Kpop too, but I find the concept really unique & interesting. Too bad the romance was mostly a hot & cold relationship. I was looking forward to seeing how it’d turn out. It still sounds like a cute read and I can’t wait to meet all the characters. Great review!