Cover Image: Y/N


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Member Reviews

AUTHOR: Esther Yi
NARRATOR: Greta Jung
PUB DATE: 03.28.2023 Now Available
Listening Length 5h 8m

Surreal, hilarious, and shrewdly poignant—a novel about a Korean American woman living in Berlin whose obsession with a K-pop idol sends her to Seoul on a journey of literary self-destruction.



Greta Jung expertly narrates Esther Yi’s literary novel surrounding Kpop fandom and obsession over an idol. The narration captures our nameless protagonists’ desires, delusions, and compulsions in this delightful read that was so well executed and brilliantly captured the absurdity of this parasocial relationship.
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🎧Audiobook Review🎧

Y/N by Esther Yi
Rating: 4/5 ⭐️ 

“Surreal, hilarious, and shrewdly poignant—a novel about a Korean American woman living in Berlin whose obsession with a K-pop idol sends her to Seoul on a journey of literary self- destruction.”

Strange, dizzying and unhinged. There were many parts I could not tell if we were in reality or the narrator’s own world - which I think was the point.  This book touches on how easy it is to attach yourself to something/someone you don’t know when there is a lack of connection. Esther Yi’s writing was beautiful - dreamlike, stream of consciousness. 

I  listened to this as part of @tlcbooktours @tlcdiversity. The audiobook by @orangeskyaudio read by Greta Yung was the perfect narration for this wild story. 

This book is ✨out now!✨
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The novel is an interesting exploration of a number of things: fandom, the adoration and obsession of fans, as well as a discussion on what literature is. The story encourages the listener to reflect on these issues and make connections to their own experience. Y/N is a book that you need to spend some time with in order to appreciate the content.
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REVIEW: Y/N by Esther Yi // available now ✿


“My aloneness in this world has extended my heart into strange places.”

Bored with the mundanity of her life - her lackluster career, a boyfriend who she can take or leave, a place where she feels anchorless - the unnamed lead of Y/N finds herself at a KPop concert and experiences a revelation that shakes her to her core when she sets eyes on boy band member Moon, who becomes the sole object of her laser-focused obsession. Even before she puts her pen to paper, the narrator starts writing self-insert fanfiction - where “Y/N” can be substituted by the reader’s name. Then, suddenly, Moon retires from the band and disappears from the public eye completely, setting the narrator on a chase to

With introspective and sharp prose, Y/N cleverly and intimately explores what happens when obsession and loneliness collide in a self-destructive loop. It’s a study of entitlement in fandom, the power of stories, the commodification of human connection, what happens when the futility of parasocial relationships is flipped and a fan comes face-to-face with the object of their obsession.

“Women making questionable choices” is a go-to genre of mine, and boy, were our narrator’s decisions questionable, so this was an easy favorite for me. I loved experiencing this through an audiobook - Greta Jung’s clinical, matter-of-fact narration underscored the earnestness with which the main character experienced her obsession.

Thank you to @tlcbooktours and @orangeskyaudio for the gifted audiobook!
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CAVEAT: Please know, the low rating is ONLY because I am tasked with reviewing the AUDIOBOOK. I did ask if I could get a copy of the e-book so that I could add a review for that and was told that it is no longer available. The e-book would be at least 3.5-4 stars

It took me a while to compose this review because I was so torn. After about 20 minutes of the audio, I wanted to throw my phone out the window because the narration is so bad. At first, I thought the dull monotonous voice was part of some sort of character building. But, when the same noise continued regardless of character, I realized it was just a terrible narrator. The only reason that Y/N wasn’t a DNF for me is the sublimely unique prose. The story was very, very different for me: not my usual genres, not my usual style, not my usual subject matter… nothing. But I was intrigued by the description of the story and was about to embark on a long ride, so needed something to help pass the time. When I got to the line, “My spiritual sphincter stayed clenched to keep out the cheap and stupid,” I knew I would finish the book, no matter how torturous the voice reading it was. 

“[His] beauty wasn’t located in a specific feature. Instead, there was a tremulous metaphysical orchestration between the various parts of his face. I lacked any such orchestration. If his beauty radiated upon the world, my beauty was local, covering about as much distance as bad breath.” As a teacher, I stopped the audio and rewound it multiple times to copy down sentences such as this to use as an exemplar in my classroom. The exquisite description and sensory details astounded me. 

“Dusk was bruising the sky.” “The full moon was spilling its radioactive milk everywhere.” “[This painter] lives in pursuit of visual noise filling her canvas with anything but white. She was virtuosic technique.” THESE. These sentences are what an author should strive for when attempting to write descriptively. 

All that said… the story was ok. Not great, but unique for me. I didn’t love the main character, and some of the “plot twists” towards the end cheapened the book a bit for me, but overall, it would have been a pleasant enough escape…. If not for THAT VOICE. Ugh.

Thank you to NetGalley and Orange Sky Audio for the ALC in exchange for my honest opinions.
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The best way I think I could describe Y/N is a beautifully written satirical magical realism tale of a woman who is obsessed with a K-Pop star and despite having a contemplative nature, she is completely oblivious to the outrageousness of her own behavior. I never would've thought I would ever write "beautifully written" and "K-Pop" in the same sentence, but there it is. This book was like a fun, weird thought experiment. I am a fan of the Strunk and White economy of words school of writing, and Yi is a master at packing a lot of thought and imagery into small word combinations.
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The story revolves around a girl who becomes obsessed with Moon, an idol from a Kpop boy band. Told from the perspective of the girl, the reader is shown the level of delusion that she reaches in regards to her love for Moon. The way characters speak and the way the protagonist thinks are surreal and add to the unsettling atmosphere of the book. Fans of the You series, Ingrid Goes West, and Swarm may appreciate the book for this aspect. The narrator did a fantastic job bringing the story to life, and I found her voice very suitable for the main character. I did start to lose interest a bit during the second half of the story, but the narration and the short length of the book got me to finish the book. Despite this, I really enjoyed the author's unique writing style and the premise of the book, so I would definitely read another book by this author if they were to release one.
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Lyrical, existentialist and tender - I love exporations of fandom, all-consuming obsession and escapism, and I thought this was such an original and distinct exploration of them, more so since it's so rare to see fanfiction (especially something so specific!!) used like this at the core of a text. I appreciated the grace Yi offerred her characters while still being critical of the themes she was exploring. This made my heart ache in so many ways. 
While I loved the writing for the most part, I will say that the dialogue felt a bit ... artificial (?) and stilted to me rather than lifelike, but I still very much enjoyed this overall.
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Ehhh…maybe I just don’t care enough about K-pop? Or about fanfic? 

This was blessedly short and Yi is a lovely writer. And I like weird stuff, but not if I doesn’t ever coalesce into something coherent. And while I see what Yi was attempting to do here, it didn’t quite happen.

I do like the concept of fans going too far because it’s an interesting meditation on popular culture and obsession, so the concept behind this was potentially intriguing. 

But I’m not crazy about fever dream style narration, or protagonists whose perspective doesn’t differentiate coherently between fantasy and reality. It’s also hard to like a character like this, who isn’t interesting enough to balance out the pathetic nature of how she spends her life.

The story works well for the audiobook format, and the narrator does a lovely job, though the format doesn’t really mitigate any of the problems with the bones of the book. 

A bit more balance and less nonsense fantasy world stuff would have gone a long way here. Yi’s skill as a writer is evident, but the plot and its execution here are a tough hang.
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What a wild, delightful story. I loved the concept, it was so timely and relevant. Brilliant character work as well. I liked the audiobook production and I'll be recommending that and the regular book to everyone.
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She, a Korean-American, has been in love with Moon from the Kpop group “Pack of Boys” since saw them in concert in Berlin, there is something about his neck that is fascinating.  She starts writing fanfic and then her world shifts when Moon announces his retirement.  Masterson, her boyfriend, thinks she has a problem with reality regarding Moon and suggests a therapist.  The therapist tells her that she is not a true fan since she is not on the streets of Korea looking for Moon.  Off to Korea she goes and meets many different people in her search for Moon. 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book but I love this book.  I’m going to have to get a paper copy so that I can delve deeper into the book. There is a lot going on and the philosophical part of my brain wasn’t activated when I started listening so  I missed some connections at the beginning. The scene with the therapist/doctor where they discuss her not being a true fan is a great discussion on the boundaries of fan/stans vs. stalker. When the group talked to their fans and called them liver I had to laugh because that is what my husband calls me, in Farsi “jigar” means liver and is also a term of endearment. 

Some of this book may be lost for those who don’t know or understand fanfic (your/name ), Kpop stans, or fandom in general. A quick Google search will give the reader a little background.  I would recommend this book to Literature clasess and book clubs, there is so much to talk about.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read this ahead of publication.
Y/N is such a weird book in really the best way possible and a definite new favorite. It's unexpectadly philosophical with lots of cynicism thrown in. A truly great and unique look into para social relationships and the ever ceasing obsession with famous people. The writing style sucked me right in and so did Greta Jung's amazing narration. The story gets more and more surreal as it progresses, almost like a fever dream. Not a book to miss out on in my opinion.
Esther Yi is definitely an author to watch out for and our library will for sure purchase both physical and audio version of the book.
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