Once Upon a K-Prom is the story of Elena Soo, an under-the-radar 17-year-old girl who is launched into the public eye when her childhood best friend–now an international K-pop star–asks her to prom.
I thought this book was fun, it’s a frothy friends-to-lovers romance and K-pop fans who fantasize about becoming enmeshed with their favorite K-pop group will find a lot to love. Cho does an excellent job fleshing out the dynamics of, WDB, the fictional group Elena finds herself mixed up with. As someone who only has tangential knowledge about how K-pop works I was able to keep up–though I did have to Google some terms.
The narration is done by Jackie Chung, who plays the mom in The Summer I Turned Pretty. I’ve heard her in an adult romance and wasn’t sure if I would be able to un-hear her as an adult–but she has a wide swath of authentic teen voices.
I’ve read quite a YA rom coms this year and they are quickly outpacing adult rom coms for me. YA authors excel at taking rom-com concepts in unique and compelling directions.
Elena Soo is used to being an afterthought but that doesn’t stop her from trying to save the community center she loves–even if that means boycotting prom. Boycotting prom becomes a nearly impossible task when Robbie Choi, her childhood best friend turned mega K-pop star, ambushes her with a viral promposal.
Everyone in this story is a complete cinnamon roll just trying to do the right thing. Elena decides to use Robbie’s fame to help save a local community center while Robbie tries (and fails) to balance his fame and reconnect with the best friend he never forgot.
Cho really had a handle on the plot and told a tidy, well-paced satisfying story. It’s a buoyant fun teen rom-com.
I’ve read a handful of K-Pop star books and I liked that this one focused on how hard it is to keep up the idol persona when you want to be a normal teen.
There are some great things happening with YA and I’m so jealous of the kids!