Book Review

Book Review: XOXO by Axie Oh

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 13th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

ABSOLUTELY ADORED.

This book was so dang cute!! I loved it. It also made me very hungry and all of the Korean dishes sounded delicious. I loved the cultural aspects too and being in Seoul and getting an idea for what being a K-pop star entails. Learning about training, the schools, how groups are formed. It was great getting a better understanding of a world I didn’t know much about.

The romance was precious. I thought Jenny and Jaewoo had a fun and interesting meet-cute. There were many unique aspects to a young adult contemporary romance and it was a breath of fresh air. A quick meeting led to a bit of slow burn as they tackled feelings for one another. I love the Jenny was a cellist and both had their complete own lives and passions they enjoyed. Choosing to be together was something they both wanted and I love a good, mushy ending scene. If you’re looking for a celebrity / forbidden romance in YA form, this is one to read!!

Full of tight friendships, those mean girls you expect, and running away from paparazzi, I definitely felt like I was watching a drama. Though it never went over board. I love how natural the movement of the story went and how easy it was to read. I was enamored from chapter one and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs

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Book Review

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 22nd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking.

LOVED THIS.

Axie Oh is becoming an auto-read author for me. I loved her contemporary romance XOXO, and now a young adult fantasy just as amazing?! YES.

I looooved this story so much. It was whimsical and I love the retelling aspects. Mina was an awesome heroine. She was creative and full of passion for saving her people. I loved how she approached different things before her and the way she showed love to others.

And y’all. This romance was the sweetest. I never know how well a standalone fantasy will accomplish a romance and this was perfect. It was a slow build with a bit of resentment, turned friendship, turned love. And then the ending?! Oh goodness, absolutely fabulous. This is the kind of YA books I love and why I always come back to this genre.

The story itself is filled with action and intrigue. A bit of politics and dreams. I just loved the way everything moved and how fast the pages flew by. I felt transported under the sea with the entire cast and can’t say enough good things about TGWFBTS.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: light blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, memory loss, child death

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