Cover Image: Fireworks


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Member Reviews

3.5 stars for Fireworks by Alice Lin 

This was a great teen fiction book. It had the perfectly built romance story and great plot details too. I really enjoyed Lulu's character. She has an amazing mom, great friends and an awesome personality. It's refreshing to have such an MC. Kite really didn't have much of a personality, which is the only downside I saw. I would have loved to have him POV mixed in so that he could feel more "real." Other than that, pretty solid read.
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Lulu and Kai were next-door neighbors. Until one day, Kai was whisked away to South Korea to become a K-pop singer. Lulu hasn’t heard from Kai, whose stage name is Kite, in years. When his band Karnival announces he will be taking a break for health reasons, the last thing Lulu expects is to see him back in her neighborhood. With the help of an adorable kitten and meddling best friends, will Lulu and Kite find their way back to friendship and maybe more? 

Fireworks is an extremely cute and lighthearted romance. Alice Lin does an amazing job of incorporating LGBTQ+ representation into the novel. Lulu is bi, with additional LGBTQ+ representation casually worked in throughout the story. I enjoyed how Lulu’s identity is still vitally important, but not necessarily the focus of the romance. Instead, Kite and her friends accept her unconditionally and instead focus on the perils of dating a K-pop star. 

Fireworks does not shy away from how invasive fandom can become, creating many obstacles for Lulu and Kite to work through. The ending felt a bit rushed, I wanted to have Kite and Lulu work through more of the challenges between them. Fireworks is a charming and endearing romance! Fans of K-pop, YA contemporary, and lighthearted summer romances will enjoy Fireworks. This is the perfect book for younger YA readers who have wondered what it might be like to date a K-pop star. Fireworks releases June 7, 2022. Thank you to Alice Lin, Underlined, Random House Children’s, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

For publisher: My review will be posted on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Storygraph, Wordpress blog, and Barnes & Noble etc
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The Quick Cut: Summer plans before college get complicated when a girl's childhood friend and current member of a K-pop group returns home. Emotions and drama collide. 

A Real Review:
 Thank you to Underlined for providing the ARC for an honest review. 

Music has a way of connecting us across countries and cultures, but rarely do we get to see the personal side behind our favorite bands. For Lulu, that is an opportunity she gets again when Kite comes back to town. 

 Karnival is a popular K-pop band that Lulu happens to have a connection to. Band member Kite is her next door neighbor and childhood best friend, who she hasn't seen since he moved to South Korea and achieved his dreams. However, a sudden medical leave brings him back next door and into her everyday life. Will they pick back up where they left off? Or will his famed status make things complicated? 

 While I do not listen to K-pop music, I do enjoy the books inspired by the genre. They're so filled with passion and happiness that they always put a smile on my face. With this story centered on two friends together again, that was definitely what happened in this debut novel. 

 Lulu finished high school in fine form and is going to Rutgers in the fall. For the summer, this is her chance to make final plans and enjoy time with her best friends. It all is a setup for a great summer until Kite comes back in her life and drama ensues. They're teenagers now with problems and feelings and seeing them work through those together make you smile as a reader. They're so cute together and you want to see a happy ending for them. 

 Kite seemingly has the dream life and in this story, you see the pitfalls to what many consider a perfect lifestyle. He goes through so much and comes back home a shell of who he used to be. It makes you realize that the people we idolize are just human and having a reminder of that is important. 

 A K-pop story that will touch your heart. 

My rating: 5 out of 5
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Thank you to #NetGalley, Alice Lin, and the publisher for the eARC copy of "Fireworks" in exchange for an honest opinion. 
Lulu has nothing but high hopes for her last summer at home before she heads off to college but when her former best friend and now famous k-pop star, Kite, comes home for a medical leave her plans don't go as planned.
As Lulu and Kite start to reconnect and become closer again, Kite's sister Connie warns Lulu to not get close to her brother but as Lulu's growing feelings for Kite grow stronger will she be able to stay away?
This was a cute YA read that I enjoyed. I do not know much about K-Pop bands but I am really enjoying all the books that are coming out about them. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a cute YA read or anyone that loves K-Pop groups!
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This has some drama--especially in the second half--but the aspect I appreciate most about this book is how grounded it is. Lulu's relationships with her friends and family are heartwarming in their depth and in their stability. I was also glad to see that Lin described Lulu's regular teenage activities (going to parties, hanging out at amusement parks, having sleepovers with her friends); it feels like not many authors of YA novels know how teenagers really act. And, of course, Lulu's relationship with Kite is swoony and sweet. (I wish we had gotten to explore more of Lulu's sexual identity, but I'm glad there's some LGBTQ+ representation from her and her friends.)
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This was such a cute YA book. I do think that this is perfect for younger readers of YA books. However, for me there was a lot of drama in the second half of the book. And I did not enjoy that part. I did feel like the ending was lacking. Also, the main character is bisexual but I just felt like that aspect wasn't really flushed out enough for me. But I did really enjoy this book. And I think younger readers would really like it.
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I loved how sweet this book is, this is the type of YA romance novels I used to read when I was younger. I am not a fan of K-POP so this book was a touch of different for me. I didn’t know that this book would have LGBTQ+ references, and when it did come about it was brief. Other than that this book was just adorable. 

Thanks Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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Eep! What a delightful book. I am so glad I got the chance to read this in advance of its release and even more thrilled to place it on our summer reading guide. 

I know basically nothing about the world of KPop other than that groups tend to have a rabid fan base. Nevertheless, I loved the ups and downs of the KPop fandom as the backdrop for this book.

Some of my favorite romances are those that don't simply center the main love story, and Fireworks fits the bill. Lulu has loving relationships with her friends, her mom, and her aunt. She has a full life that doesn't depend on the success of her summer romance, but it's only enhanced by it.

Much in the same way love comes in many forms in this book, so does conflict. I appreciated the way Lulu's relationship with her father played out, and the eventual resolution - proof that not every story needs a tidy bow on it.
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this book drew me in! I have been on such a kpop kick and this was so cute! i love childhood friends to lovers and this did a great job. this was a quick read, and didn't feel too rushed. I thought it was super cute and fun to read!
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Fireworks is a cute, Kpop YA romance. The story is sweet and the old friends to separated by his fame and fortune to he returns home to romance is easy and enjoyable.
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 
Fireworks is a generally cute YA romance with a fun premise of reconnecting and falling in love with your best friend, who happens to be a KPop idol. Given what a phenomenon Kpop is becoming, I’m not surprised we’re seeing more books where one of the leads is involved in the industry. But having heard a little about the dark side of it, from the intense expectations imposed by management to the intensity of the fanbases for certain groups, I appreciate how Alice Lin unpacks and critiques it through her story with the assumptions around Kite (real name: Kai) and his break from his group and the spotlight. 
Lulu and Kai’s relationship is complicated because of everything that’s changed. Obviously, he’s now a famous pop star, dealing with a lot of scrutiny. And Lulu’s parents split up, and her dad barely seems to get to make an effort with her. And they also have to figure out if they even have a future beyond the summer, since Kai will eventually have to go back to his career. 
I kind of wish there had been more effort made into setting Lulu apart from the fangirls, given their shared history. However, I can understand that she could feel a bit susceptible to the allure of KPop fame, while also recognizing him as more, because of that history. 
This book is cute and fun, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys KPop and the fantasy of dating an idol.
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This was quick, cute, and fun (YA) summer read!

Childhood friends reunite for summer when one needs to take a break from his famous life. While the ending felt a little rushed/unresolved, you can’t help but root for Lulu and Kite!

Thank you NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Underlined for this early release!
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One of the many things I love about reading YA is that you never know what you’re going to get! YA has a huge spectrum of books. You have your more romance heavy novels but then you have books like this that build on the lighter side. Books that remind you of the sweet first love, the books that remind you of your first crush and the dreams we had of them reciprocating! 

Kite and LuLu have been friends for years but after his rise to K-POP fame they lose tough! All it took was one summer, one kiss and now LuLu and Kite have a lot to figure out before their time reunited is up! 

While this books was a light romantic read topics like divorce, bisexuality, and family are brought up but the author did an amazing job on these topics! It was a very well written book. 

This book really had me nostalgic and I loved the characters and it’s heavily one of the main reasons I am rating this a 5!
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This was such a sweet read. It was so easy to relate to the loss of a childhood friendship thanks to miscommunication and just growing into different people in general. This was a quick and easy read that I would recommend to anyone looking for a nice clean YA read. 
I loved how it addressed the stress people who are in the spot light feel., the gentle look into how mental health can be subtle but still feel so overwhelming.
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Very cute YA contemporary about when the boy next door becomes a K-pop star in another country and then comes home for the summer. Childhood best friends and neighbors, Lulu and Kite have not seen each other since the end of eighth grade. Kite is now firmly established as a member of a K-pop group and Lulu and her friends just graduated from high school. I enjoyed watching as they caught up on all the things they missed over their years apart, and how their friendship turns into something more, slowly and sweetly.
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I don't know if it's just the time of year but I struggled to get into this book.  I loved the write up but couldn't get invested.  Again, it might just be the time of year for me.
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“Fireworks” is the debut novel by Alice Lin that follows seventeen year old Lulu Li as she graduates high school and prepares to have an amazing summer with her friends before they all go to college. Lulu’s plans are put on hold when her neighbor and childhood best friend comes home to visit for the first time in four years. The reason he has been gone? He is an international K-pop star in the boy group, Karnival. Now Lulu is star-struck and trying to fight feelings for her famous best friend. 

This was so cute and fun. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary anymore but I do still enjoy the light hearted romances. I really like the trope of one of the characters in the couple being a celebrity. I read Axie Oh’s book “XOXO” last month and it was a similar situation so if you enjoyed that book, I think you would like this one. I liked how it kind of subverted the trope a bit by the celebrity being a childhood best friend. It helps to build the relationship with the characters because they have a past. 

This book had a lot of representation in it that I really liked. I picked this book up for AAPI Heritage month as I am trying to make an effort to read a bit more diversely and this month is the perfect time to do that. I really loved how while the main cast was completely made up of Asian characters, the author made a point to say that they were all from different countries with unique cultures. I feel like in a lot of books, a character being “Asian” doesn’t have a lot of meaning behind it whereas in this book, they were very nuanced. 

I could talk for hours about the different kinds of food mentioned in this book. Like I don’t even know what yellow pickles are but I was craving them while I read this book. Like seriously, don’t read this book on an empty stomach. You will get hungry. 

There was also some subtle bisexual representation in this book which I really loved. It was very organic in the way character’s brought up their sexuality, as it should be. Not every book with LGBT+ representation needs to make it a huge conversation. I enjoy the quiet acceptance of people just loving who they want to love without it being a big deal. 

This book was really great and fun but it’s a four star for me because though I really enjoyed the romance, I wasn’t obsessed with it. I wish there would have been a bit more pining. Kite as a love interest was so precious but I just wanted a little more. 

All in all, I would recommend this to anyone who wants a cute, summery romance with a bit of hijinks, K-pop stans, and a lot of food references. The fact that I don’t love anywhere close to a traditional Korean restaurant is tragic.
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Book received for free through NetGalley 

An adorably cute young adult romance. I fell in love with the characters and end the book cheering them on. Would love to continue the story but it was also a good place to end it.
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I've been wanting to read a book that gave me a more modern day Sarah Dessen vibe for a while and this one did! (Sorry Sarah, but you've been replaced). This was so lovely and had the right amount of, well, everything. A wonderful summer read.
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Lulu is the girl next store to K-Pop idol Kai, whose stage name is Kite. She hasn't seen him in four years, since Kai left their New Jersey town in middle school to pursue his dream in South Korea. Both families are Chinese, and all of the characters are East Asian, though I think only the offstage idols are Korean. No judgment there, just observing what a worldwide phenomenon K-Pop is, and with a fierce fandom. The book is named for Kite's band, Karnival's fan community, the Fireworks, who flip out when it's announced that Kite is taking a break for health reasons. While the Fireworks assume Kite is still in Korea, he's actually hiding out in his childhood bedroom, spending time with his childhood best friend. 

Of course neither Lulu nor Kai is exactly a child anymore, and the plot is a will-they-or-won't-they story. All of the characters are likable. Kai, or Kite, as Lulu calls him, suffers a bit of the perfect-YA-boyfriend syndrome, but that's the convention, so whatever. I think K-Pop YA is especially appealing because some of the world building is already done, in that it has such an established culture. 

PS Author Lin is a librarian, and one of the characters attends college at MPOW.
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