XOXO by Axie Oh - Book Review

And so I return to my blog to compose a book review! It's been a while since I've actually read anything. My brain has been very foggy what with loosing my job and trying to keep my mental health above water. It wasn't until I went on my very first camping trip that I decided to try reading again but I didn't want to just read anything I had laying around the house.

I found XOXO by Axie Oh as a recommendation from the lovely @literary_nerd (I've linked her Instagram - she had such a comforting book aesthetic) and what drew me to it was that it was about K-Pop. I started following K-Pop back in 2016 and have been in love with it ever since. Never would I have I imagined that there was a genre of books dedicated to just K-Pop. The concept fascinated me as I've read a lot of fanfictions on the subject but never an ACTUAL book. So from just the cover art, I bought it on Amazon, stored it in my camping bag and BLITZED through it as soon as I put my tent up. I was hooked instantly.

So the synopsis goes as follow:

The story follows an award wining classically trained cellist, Jenny, who would choose practice over pleasure until she meets the mysterious, troubled and handsome stranger, Jaewoo, hogging one of her uncles karaoke bar booths. Spending an unforgettable night wondering a festival in Los Angeles with him, Jenny takes the time to enjoy herself for once but as all things must come to an end, he has to fly back to South Korea that very same night.

What would only be a night to remember and a distant memory, Jenny puts it aside that is until Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her unwell grandmother. After persuading her mother to transfer to the elite arts academy to continue her music scholarship, who does she happen to stumble across at school? Jaewoo.

Shocked by the coincidence of finding the stranger that swept her off her feet in Los Angeles attending the same school as her, Jenny is even more baffled to find that he is part of the biggest K-pop band in the world. As it follows with most K-Pop idols, dating is forbidden.

Understanding that a relationship with Jaewoo could not only jeopardise his career and all his hard work but also cost her the chance of earning her place in her dream music school back in the States, Jenny is faced with a choice and must decided how much she will risk for love.

I skimmed the details of the synopsis the first time as I didn't want to have any indication of what I was getting into and from cover to cover, it felt like I fell into a K-Drama. It was perfectly written and with each scene Axie described, I could picture it detail for detail. Understandably there would be some culture references that would be a little confusing or unfamiliar to those who aren't K-Pop fans/know much about Korean culture but the beauty of the story is that the romance is structured in such a 'typical' romance format, it doesn't matter - it gives love, excitement, nail biting moments and toe curling, butterflies in the stomach feels. Every element a romance fanatic could ask for.

The main element I loved from this book was the detail of scenery when Jenny explored Seoul for the first time, giving us a fly on the wall look into what anyone could expect when exploring the city. My life long dream is visit Korea and without a doubt, as soon as I finished the last page, all I could think about was buying a ticket and flying out.

I've still yet to do it (Yay being poor) but after painting such aesthetic with her words, Axie has written something so magical and perhaps helped give a stranger something new to invest some time learning about; K-Pop.

Overall, I'd give this book a loving 4.5/5! Like any romance nut, I personally just needed a little more kissy kissy (no spoilers, I'm just a greedy love monster) This is most likely going to become one of my comfort books, something I could read over and over again when I'm craving some mental imagery K-drama.

If you've read XOXO before, comment down below what you loved about the book?

If you haven't ready XOXO before, do you think you would? Let me know in the comments below

Until the next review!

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