Cover Image: Once Upon a K-Prom

Once Upon a K-Prom

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Member Reviews

As a fan of Kpop, of course, this book was on my radar and I preordered it as soon as possible. This was a super cute and quick read that followed Elena, a “regular girl” and k-pop star Robbie, who just so happened to be her previous best friend and neighbour.
	I found the overall pace went pretty well, but Elena’s character seemed a bit all over for me. At one point she would be yelling at others and the other would be falling for them. Also, much of the book centred on lies and vast changes in characters, at some points I had to re-read what was being said or going on. 
	Overall, it was an enjoyable read with the references to the k-industry and the strict rules that must be followed, but the big “build-up” was kinda lost over time.
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I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. I have to say the cover is cool. I love K-dramas and this felt just like one of those shows. Elena is feeling unsure of herself and wants to find where she belongs. When it is time for prom she is doing her best to avoid it all together that is until the boy she knew as her goofy friend who is not an international K-pop star returns to keep the promise of them going to the prom together. I think it is a sweet story and I enjoyed it.
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Once Upon a K-Prom was so adorable! I really enjoyed everything about this it. The K-pop aspect was so much fun and all the characters were really well written. I will definitely be purchasing a copy for my library. .
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Once Upon a K-Prom was such a cute read! Kat Cho's books continue to dazzle and capture the reader's hearts. Plus, who doesn't love superstar romance books? 

Elena and Robbie used to be best friends. Now, Robbie is part of one of the biggest bands in the world, and Elena is your regular high school student counting down the days till school is over. With prom on the horizon, Elena is helping her friends spread awareness about an alternate prom to encourage students to attend.

With prom nearing close, Robbie shows up to take Elena to prom as he promised. With his fans watching his every step, Elena trying to live a normal life, and a potential romance on the horizon, Once Upon a K-Prom, is a story for everyone. 

I would secretly like to read more stories following about the other members of WDB. I think it would be cool to read their stories and see how they grow. 

Thank you to Disney Publishing Worldwide and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Elena Soo feels like an outsider. As the youngest daughter of a large Korean American family, Elena is overshadowed by her twin brother Ethan, who, as the only male, is given high praise and significant leeway in anything and everything he does. Often mistaken for her older sisters (Allie, Sarah and Esther), Elena is left with intense feelings of inadequacy, made worse by the pressures of her accomplish-focused family – and the local Korean community – to find a passion, do well, and succeed. 

Always an outcast – and prone to running away from confrontation – Elena struggles to maintain friendships and considers herself a burden in her community in all ways but one. In an effort to maximize her college application efforts, the seventeen-year-old volunteered at the West Pinebrook Community Center and fell in love. It may not be a passion per se, but the community center represents belonging and allows Elena to find a tight-knit community that accepts and understands her for who she is: an organized, nerdy teen that loves D&D, planning, and helping others. To Elena, the community center is a second home, so she’ll do anything to support it when local funding runs out, even if it means estranging herself further from her peers in the “alterna-prom initiative”: a fundraising project that aims to encourage peers to consider their environmental footprint and cut down on extravagant prom costs.

Despite the good intentions behind the initiative, which is run by Elena and her two activist-minded friends, her peers claim that she’s decidedly “anti-prom” – and they’re not entirely wrong. Elena has no intention of intending the dance, eco-friendly or not. She may not be against prom, but without her childhood best friend, what’s the point? Which brings us to international K-pop idol Robbie Choi, a boy with a goofy smile and adventurous spirit; a boy who promised to take Elena to prom seven years ago, before he returned to Korea and reached international fame; a boy who made her feel whole, but suddenly dropped contact, breaking every single promise he made on their last night together when they were ten years old.

The very same boy, who hasn’t talked to Elena in four years, knocks on the door of her childhood home when she least expects it, cameras in tow, to fulfill that long-ago promise to attend prom together. Naturally, Elena declines the invitation, flustered and confused and unsure if she still knows the stylishly cool, pink-haired boy standing in front of her. What follows after is a romantic coming-of-age tale, told in an occasionally split POV with Elena front and center as she navigates the unexpected implications of fame and expectation that come with learning who her best friend has become in his attempts to fulfill the promise lingering between them.

Beginning with an extravagant promposal in front of her entire high school, complete with balloon arch, flower petals, and a heart-felt performance of their favorite childhood song, Cho pulls readers into a wholesome love story, one that is full of nostalgia and hope, in Robbie’s repeated attempts to get back into Elena’s heart, ending with a handful of granted wishes. Repeated rejection proves to be a catalyst for growth, giving Robbie and Elena more time to interact with one another, a process that we follow intimately through first-person chapters deftly written from Elena’s POV. 

Although Robbie frequently falls back into his idol persona as the maknae of the group – “quiet and chic, not pushy or demanding” – his efforts to win Elena’s heart reveal that he’s the same person, deep down: slightly aloof and nerdy, with a penchant for puns, laughter, and teasing. His secret, dimpled smiles and endless patience reveal themselves as he volunteers alongside Elena at the center in place of showy dates, giving the reader – and Elena – time to connect with his compassionate and emotional core. Depth is added to his character when small moments of miscommunication set the duo back, triggered by heated emotions and new feelings of attraction, intense and electric, revealing an unexpected trope that leaves him guilty while simultaneously opening the door for a discussion of idol culture and expectation in a foil to Elena’s own struggles.

From pop-up charity concerts to an unexpected, impromptu prom location change, Once Upon a K-Prom is full of humor, heart and charm as Robbie and Elena navigate not just their growing attraction toward one another, but the obligations placed upon them. Miscommunication leads not just to heartbreak, but awkward and adorable encounters in a delightful coming-of-age tale that feels real. Genuine in execution, though perhaps a little short-handed when it comes to Robbie’s POV and Elena’s tumultuous relationship with her family, Kat Cho pens a love letter to music and belonging.
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This was an easy read to me which is exactly what I needed at the time. Sadly, I just wish it didn't feel quite so generic. It felt like most young adult romances with all the same tropes. That didn't stop me from enjoying the book though! Just not enough for me to give it a higher score.
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Tropey and soapey, with the usual set of miscommunications and misundertandings between Elena Soo and her crush, Robbie. All this is heightened because he's a member of a K-Pop band, who's in Chicago for a performance. Elena and Robbie had been best friends when they were ten years old, before Robbie's family had moved back to Seoul. The two friends had made a promise before the move that they would go to the prom together, and when Robbie shows up to ask Elena, it’s both honest and a publicity stunt. That he keeps trying to get her approval, and they are thrown together repeatedly, including filming part of a video and a the band performing at a pop-up concert to raise funds for the community centre Elena volunteers at, only increases her discomfort with all the attention (she's shy) and burgeoning, returning feelings for him.

This was ok, but didn't make me care about whether or not Elena and Robbie would get together. I liked that Elena became more aware of her flaws over the course of the book, and gained in confidence, too. I didn't much like Robbie, despite being told repeatedly that he was a great guy (when he was ten years old). So, overall, just ok.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Disney Publishing Worldwide for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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Thank you so much @NetGalley and @disneybooks for gifting me a copy of One Upon a K-Prom in exchange for an honest review. 

🧑🏼‍🎤 Mini Review 🎤
I love reading books that have anything to do with Korean culture. So when I saw Once Upon a K-Prom I knew I had to read it! I’ve read a few books that was full of the K-Pop culture and I always had so much fun reading them. This one didn’t disappoint. I had so much fun reading it and it had just enough cheese to keep me happy 🥰

Elena and Robbie were best friends until they were 10. At 10 Robbie moved to Korea with his family but promised to keep in touch. They also promised each other that they would go to prom together. 7 year later, Robbie is a huge K-pop star in one of the most successful K-pop groups. Although he didn’t keep his promise to Elena about keeping in touch he is insistent on keeping his prom promise. 

Elena isn’t thrilled to see Robbie. She’s still hurt because he didn’t keep in touch with her like he promised, and she doesn’t want to go to prom, so when he asks her she turns him down, in front of everyone, and it’s recorded for all to see. After the shock wears off and she realizes that even though Robbie seems totally different there is still some of the Robbie she used to know in there, she decides to spend time with her old friend before he leaves again. But it is nothing like it was when they were kids. Constantly worrying about someone spotting them, being super self conscious around other idols, and knowing she could never fit into Robbie’s world makes her start to pull away. And the fact that she’s starting to fall for him doesn’t help. 😳

I hope to read @katchowrites other books this year!

If you are a fan of K-pop I totally recommend this book to you. It was such a fun read and I really enjoyed the K-pop aspect of the story. I gave this book ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️.
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The HFN YA I needed at this time. Light, funny with a pinch of teenaged angst. The leads are well rounded. I loved all the K-Pop settings. Not complacent and everything is great settings. I liked it a lot. Would love to read more from this author.
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Kat Cho knows how to delight readers. This book has everything a K-drama and/or K-pop fan could want. Elena and her childhood friend have been out of touch for quite some time and don’t quite know how to read each other anymore. It’s a pleasure to see their story unfold. Of course there are many glitches as they dance around each other literally and figuratively.

With Robbie stepping back into her life, she is certainly getting attention from many people, but it’s not always the kind of attention Elena wants. Through it all, Elena just wants to be seen for herself. She isn’t entirely sure who she is becoming, but she wants people to see her and not her siblings or see her only in relation to who she knows. Even if readers have no interest in K-pop or K-dramas, that is something most people can relate to on some level.

The romance is a sweet one with childhood memories and getting to know each other again. The storyline has moments of tension as one would expect, but it always feels like a safe romcom. It’s not entirely predictable, but it’s comfortable like a cozy blanket. Elena has just enough to worry about to keep her on her toes, but nothing is incredibly overwhelming. It was a treat to read.

Recommendation: Get it as soon as you can especially if you are yearning for a romance with plenty of laughter and smiles.
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Childhood loves are magical but short lived. Usually they dont grow up to be huge K-Pop stars and if they do they would never keep secrets made as a child. Elena Soo is always over looked but when a childhood friend comes back maybe she can shine. Once Upon A K-prom is a K-pop love story that every fan fantasies about. Elena is a grounded  and headstrong protagonist who just wants to receive a little shine and recognition for her talents. The glimpses into K-Pop culture will give fans a realistic look at what it is to be a star.
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K-pop rom-com. Fun addition to my romance section. Recommend to fans of When Dimple Met Rishi and any k-pop fans. I did not have a working knowledge of the music prior to reading (other than knowing it exists). The book did get me researching.
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced review copy of “Once Upon a K-Prom” by Kat Cho. Thoughts and opinions are my own,

This was an incredibly cute story about Elena Soo, a teen trying to raise awareness and funding for her beloved community center by encouraging her fellow students to find ways to spend less on prom to donate and better their community. But things get complicated when her estranged childhood bestie turned K-pop idol ambushes her with a promposal. 

I thought the author did a great job of showing how much the community center meant to the people who used it. I was really rooting for Elena to raise the funds to help the people she cared about. I liked how the author explored how Elena felt forgotten among her family and at school but then got more attention than she wanted due to the promposal. I don’t follow K-pop, but I really loved the boys in the group.

I wish there had been more closure with Elena confronting how her family treats her. I wasn’t a fan of how there were so many “K drama” moments which pulled me out of the story. I think this would have been more fun if this ever got adapted for a movie and those moments could be shown visually rather than being told repeatedly that it was a “K drama” moment. Also I’m a millennial so I am well out of high school and not the target audience for this book but while I still enjoyed this book I was surprised at how dated a lot of the references were when it came to movies. Those probably could have been updated to references present day teenagers could better relate to. 

All in all a cute book I would recommend. Readers who enjoyed this book should definitely check out ‘XOXO’ by Axie Oh too!

4/5 stars
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I finished this awhile ago and thought I’d already reviewed it, but turns out I did not!

This was a fine YA. I think my expectations were too high. My biggest takeaway was that I wanted more overall from this book. More drama, more depth, more time of the MCs actually together. The plot overall got a bit repetitive. While it wasn’t my favorite, I think most 13-17 year olds will enjoy it!
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Once Upon a K-Prom tells the story of an ordinary girl who falls in love with an international celebrity. This was a very light and fluffy read! I love the romance between Robbie and Elena! I also love how it talked about Korean popular culture and lightened my eyes on K-pop! I recommend this for fans of The Noh Family, K-pop Revolution, and Shine!
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This book book is outstanding! Definitely recommend! 

Recently, I've been on a Kpop book binge! There are so many great authors with great stories out there!

And this book is no exception! These main characters are delightful! I l9ved all the ups and downs, and the sweet love story! My students are going to adore this book!

And Kat Cho has done a great job making this story stand out from the crowd. More than just fan fiction, this is a perfect read whether you know Kpop or not. (But you really should. So msny excellent groups out there!)
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Thanks NetGalley and Disney Publishing for providing me with an eARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. 

This caught me by surprise because I thought it was going to be a very light and fluffy book where a famous boy comes back to romance the girl who feels overlooked, but it's so much more. 

There's a lot of commentary on idol culture and how in some countries it's so restrictive and not to mention taxing on their emotional and mental health and on the flip side how rabid some fans can be and how it can break down certain human actions like being in love when everything is scrutinized. 

I really liked Elena and how her character was flawed in a way that in the beginning of the book we felt like she was just the underdog and all these things happened to her and she was very unlucky, but as the story went on we found out how she had pretty much brought a lot of these things on herself by almost a self fulfilling prophecy and it causes you to really think about how you perceive things vs how others are seeing and reacting to your words and actions. 

I also really liked how Robbie had to almost unlearn the things that his idol training had taught him so that he could relate to Elena outside of the idol bubble like a human. 

I'm not a fan of k-pop so this isn't really something that I related to but I can see so many similarities from the boy band phases that seem to pop up every 10 years or so. So there's that. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a very meaningful piece of YA fiction that causes you to shift your perspective a little.
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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel.   This was a sweet contemporary ya romance.   This novel was definitely for the YA audience.   I didn't get some of the kpop references.   Cute and quick overall.
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I will begin this review by saying that I am biased toward this type of story.  I'm too soft on a really cute high school romance.  It's my weakness.  I say this because this story, on paper, should be an average 3-star story.  It's doing nothing new, in fact, it revels in doing all the tropes of high school romance.  The mean girl is here, and the miscommunication, the unfounded jealousy and the "You Lied to Me" moment as well as some extremely cheesy dialogue. All here.  All played exactly as you would expect. Somehow, I just found comfort in the expected.  I enjoyed this for what it was.  Was it super flawed? Yes. Did I enjoy my time? Also, Yes.  I do wish there had been more time and care/attention given to the twin brother subplot as I thought that could have been a real emotional core to the story but alas, it is a teenage romance and it didn't really want to be too serious emotional about anything that wasn't the protagonist angst. It was a compulsive read for me though.  I read it in one sitting.  Overall, would recommend it, but only if you know what you are signing for.
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A fun and dreamy read, Kat Cho nails so many things in Once Upon a K-Prom. Existential dread, fear of the future, insecurity, the way it feels when everything changes, the safety a blast from the past can give you–especially if said blast from the past is your childhood bestie who is now a k-pop idol. The characters and the story itself are sweet and full of heart. And such a gorgeous cover!
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