Cover Image: Fireworks


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Member Reviews

Well, I liked K-Pop angsty drama theme with romcom vibes! Pop star meets ordinary girl next door that rekindles their unresolved feelings give us gender versed Notting Hill vibes with well approached representation of bisexuality of MC! 

  The romance between Lulu and Kite adorable. The realistic approach to chaotic side effects of fame, repercussions of trying to be star at demanding and competitive K-Pop industry were perfectly developed.

  I was so close to give five stars after reading the first half but when I started to read the rest, I got so agitated because things started spiraling out of control and extra messy! It seemed like another author sat down in front of the computer to finish the rest of the book or the same author’s dark side took control and threw as much as angst she could to disturb us!

  I don’t know the main reasoning but I didn’t like the sudden turn of events. So I’m giving my three solid stars just because of its promising first half and likable characters! 

  I wish the second could be rewritten! The entire drama could be handled better without too much exaggeration! 

So many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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Any book that mentions K-pop I end up reading, lol. It’s a keyword that really gets my attention. I have thoroughly enjoyed books with the topic and then there have been others that have felt flat for me in certain areas. This particular book was kind of a mixed-bag. The first half was very enjoyable and I liked where the story was going. The second half felt a bit muddled and nothing really progressed very far with the relationship/romance.

The book is told from Lulu’s perspective. She grew up next to a boy who was a friend and eventually tries his luck at joining a K-pop group. Friends-to-lovers isn’t always my thing but I am down for a celebrity relationship any day. I liked that even though he was famous he didn’t let it go to his head. He was still very down-to-earth and took care of this stray cat. Cats are the best and he is a cinnamon roll for doing that.

Their interactions from the beginning were slow and even though they eventually started to hang out more I didn’t feel like their relationship ever picked up. It kind of stayed in neutral and didn’t have me feeling any particular way. The author also tried to put another hurdle in their relationship at the end and by end I mean at around 94% or so. It made the ending feel rushed and incomplete for me even if they resolved in not so many words.

The majority of the book focuses on the pressure that can come with being in a group. It is taxing and can really wear down on someone’s mental health. I did like the talk that surrounded the subject. I feel like most books with a K-pop group miss out on this dialogue because they don’t usually go into the detail this one has, especially with the intense fans. Both Kite and Lulu handled it well and it makes them stronger.

Overall, this was good but it just didn’t a bit more in certain areas.
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Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Random House for the arc and for satisfying my fluffy K-pop-inspired needs.

Reasons to read: well, if you've ever fantasized about your childhood coming back home as a K-pop idol, this is for me...I mean, you. >_>

Lulu has everything figured out for the summer, but her plans go awry when her former friend and international K-pop idol comes home after taking a break from music. Kite (Kai's stage name) has to stay in hiding when he's home since he's afraid of uber-fans swarming his house (again) and tags along with Lulu and her friends while in disguise (super funny btw) Lulu doesn't want to get too deep into her friendship with Kite, but we all know how things go when you're friends with a hot Korean idol, right? 


The story is similar to another arc I recently read except this one is an idol and not a K-drama star, but it also had a depth I did not expect. We don't know what happened for Kite to come back to the States and that mystery is what kept me HOOKED to the story. There are so many layers to the characters and their chaotic lives. 

The ending did leave a lot to be desired. IMO there wasn't any real closure to Lulu or Kite's problems BUT it succeeded in me stalking the internet looking for the sequel within the next year or two. There is a lot of content to be played with. I'm excited to see how Kite deals with the aftermath of his issues, as well as Lulu and college. If there's no sequel, I will riot.
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A childhood friend turned k-pop star has returned home and now seventeen-year old Lulu Li is about to get an unexpected summer. Her childhood friend turned famous Kpop star is returning home. It’s been years since they spoke and drifted apart but now he’s back and her summer is about to get interesting. Lulu and Kite haven’t seen each other since eighth grade and now she’s graduating highschool. Lulu and Kai ( stage named Kite) have to restart their friendship and reconnect, finding who they are now with who they were and if the friendship between them is still there.. and if there is a chance for more. On top of that there is drama with Lulu’s father who cheated on her mother and with Kai’s sudden return being more than just simply a medical leave and the drama and chaos of k-pop fans. This is the second k-pop romance book I’ve read this month and while it was sweet and cute there were some parts I found a bit meh, the first one being that Lulu called her childhood friend whom she’s known by his stage name. making it seem like she still idolizes him as an idol rather than calling him by his regular name... like an actual person and as someone who’s known him, the second was the ending and resolution of this book, it felt lacking and so open ended, it felt like there should have been another epilogue or a bonus chapter with more resolution to their relationship and to what was going to happen in their future. Overall it was a sweet read and the friendship to lovers trope was cute in this. Lulu and Kai made an adorable couple and had sweet and caring moments with each other. 

*Thanks Netgalley and Random House Children's, Underlined for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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Received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest opinion.
Such a fun story! I really like the characters and the things that they go through to finally come out at the end the way that they want to do things. Lots of decisions to be made by the characters, some of them hard. Family relationships, come into play, and that fleshes out the story as a whole. I work in a junior high school library, and I think I will tell our librarian that this is one she'll want to get for our collection.
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This book has one of the cutest covers so I was desperate to read it. The first couple of chapters were cool and the voice definitely was funny at times but after a while it sort of felt like the Kai (Kite) character became all their was to the story. Where he was and what he was doing and how his life impacted everyone else’s. I didn’t really feel like there was all that much of a connection between LuLu and Kai. The craziness of the fandom seemed like the only thing really going on. Besides Lulu’s relationship with her father all the other side characters were completely flat. They do all these amazing things for her but we never see it reciprocated. And that ending just left me lost. So, even with the cute cover and cuter premise I just wasn’t sold on this one. 2.5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC.
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I want to start off by thanking NetGalley for letting me read an ARC of this book. 
I enjoyed reading the book for what it’s worth. I liked the text excerpts from different characters within the story, but felt like the ending didn’t resolve anything.
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In this dramatic, friends to lovers teen romance, Kai went from the boy next door and Lulu’s best friend to Kite, a K-pop superstar in the band Karnival. When Kite moves back from Korea on medical leave, Lulu tentatively resumes their friendship, trying to hide her massive crush that goes beyond typical fangirl due to their deep history. Lulu has a close family and tight circle of friends–they make a LOT of cupcakes.

The story moves back and forth in time, both plot wise with inserts of current news clips and blog posts and fan comments, and past emails. The dates usually appear at the end, instead of the beginning of each segment, making the timeline sometimes confusing.

The drama is high, from stories of crazed Fireworks (the name for Karnival’s fanbase) to the real reason Kite left the band to relationship drama. In a side plot, Lulu is mad at her father, who had an affair and started a new family and missed her graduation. Korean culture details (food, music, family values) elevates the story; I was grateful to have a digital copy so I could easily look up unfamiliar terms, like sasaeng (an obsessive, stalkery fan).

As the plot takes place over the summer, there is a requisite Fourth of July scene featuring fireworks. The ending was unsatisfying–unless a sequel is in the works.

I received an advance review copy of #Fireworks via #NetGalley.
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This book was good fun that I would likely recommend to the younger side of YA, not so much the older side. Until about 50% into the book I was prepared to give it 5 stars, and I don't think the second half was bad by any means, but it lacked that "oomf" power that would bring the novel from good to great, and subsequently moved it more into average.

I'm a sucker for a famous x non-famous romance, ESPECIALLY when they're childhood best friends to strangers. I absolutely LOVED that the main character was bi--I didn't expect it and it was such a pleasant surprise. her bisexuality also isn't only talked about once and never brought up again, but is unapologetic from the first chapter. I felt her identity was so well written, not just inserted for quick diversity points, and was one of my favorite aspects of the book.

The buildup of Kite and Lulu's relationship was really fun to read about, however once they got together I feel their relationship got a bit stagnant. Kite, in my opinion, didn't have a good enough reason to be acting the way he was acting towards her for a period in the second half, and I would've liked his mental health regarding the Kpop industry to be further expanded upon. So much opportunity for a character study into an Idol in the Kpop industry which notoriously overworks their Idols, yet I felt that stone was only half turned.

The representation of teenage fandom spaces was at times accurate but at times very over-the-top cringe. As somebody who used to dabble in Kpop fandom spaces, we all know how insane the fans can be, especially given how young they are. Young fans often don't have the critical thinking skills to know how to act towards other people and their idols in fandom spaces, which was very well communicated in this novel, though I did feel the dialogue in the online posts sometimes felt cartoonish and out of touch.

Overall, I thought this was fun. It has a strong lead character, a good depiction of female friendships, and a sweet romance. I think this book would be really good for 10-13 year olds, and it might have upper-YA crossover appeal but judging by the other reviews I would say probably not. As aforementioned, I did wish the book delved further into Kite's character, maybe by adding a dual-POV, because his character had lots of potential to be interesting that was wasted.
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Thank you Netgalley, for letting me read an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review :) 

This book was just so adorable! Its a very cute friends to lovers story. I personally really love Kpop/romance stories, so this book really hit the spot for me! I did kind of wish there was more romance. 
The only thing that kind of disappointed me was the ending. I felt like it could have been better. But I still read the book in like two days!
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This book happens in the summer before senior year.  Lulu and her friends have planned an epic summer: sleepovers , restaurant nights, and theme parks.  Lulu works in her mom and aunt's bakery, but doesn't have a relationship with her father, who had left her mother for his mistress during her freshman year.  He doesn't even show up for her graduation.  This strained relationship was talked about quite a bit in the story and then dropped.  

Lulu's summer plans are spun for a loop though, when her neighbor Kai comes back to town.  Kai had moved to Korea to become a star in a K-Pop band back at the end of the 8th grade, so it's a shock when he shows up 4 years later.  Lulu is a fan of his band and he had been her best friend before he left  Will he still be friendly, when they didn't keep in touch for all this time?  And will he even remember her, now that he's a star?

It was strange that Lulu insists on calling Kai by his stage name, Kite, despite having known him since elementary school.  I thought this showed that she still saw him as a K-Pop star instead of her childhood best friend.  Also, the ending for this book?  It just ended.  There was no satisfying conclusion.  I thought my kindle had died, but then I came to the acknowledgements page.
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This book was just so adorable! If you love friends to lovers then you immediately need to read this!

Rating: 3/5


Seventeen-year-old Lulu Li has her last summer before college all planned out. But her plans go awry when she learns that Kite Xu, her old next-door neighbor and childhood friend, will be returning home from South Korea.
Lulu hasn’t seen Kite since eighth grade, after he left the country to pursue a career in K-pop, eventually debuting in the boy group Karnival. When Karnival announces that Kite will be taking a break from K-pop activities for mysterious reasons, the opportunity to rekindle their friendship arises.
Star-struck and nostalgic, Lulu tries to reconnect with Kite. As they continue to bond and reminisce over the past, Kite’s sister, Connie, warns Lulu not to get too close to her brother. The harder Lulu tries to deny her feelings, the stronger they get. But how could a K-pop star ever fall for a nobody from home? And even if he did, is there any way for their relationship to end but badly?

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it. 

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an eARC!!
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As a die hard friends to lovers fan this book hit the sweet spot. I am obsessed! This book genuinely convinced me to watch a k-drama so I could get a heavier dose of what this book delivered. The writing is sublime and the romance was like a physical hand squeezing my heart. Loved it!!
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It's described as a K-Pop teen rom-com, which already has my heart. It gives me girl-next-door meets "Shine" by Jessica Jung vibes to create an all-around adorable, sweet and wholesome YA romance read. It's super, super cute and sweet, innocent too. The main character is so authentic, real and raw, and together Lulu and Kite make a super-cute and sugary-sweet pair.
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Lulu hasn't seen her neighbor and old best friend Kai for years. He went to South Korea in 8th grade to become the youngest member of Karnival, a K-pop group that is almost as big as BTS. Now she has graduated from high school and Kai is coming home for the summer. As he takes some much needed time off the two rekindle their friendship and maybe something more. But life of a superstar can be hard and the fans can be vicious. 
The fans of Karnival are called Fireworks so that is where the title comes in. I first wanted to read this because of the cover and the description, but while I think it is very reminiscent of Once Upon a Kprom, I think it has its own merits and faults. I think it is a very cute story about childhood friends reconciling and falling in love. However, when I finished the book I was looking for more at the end. It seems like it never really had an ending. Things seemed to wrap up without a real conclusion. And since I read the prepub, I hope something gets done to fix that.
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Lulu is getting ready to have one last amazing summer with her best friends Stephanie and Ester before they all go to college.  Things get complicated when Kite, a member of the very popular K-Pop band Karnival, takes a break and heads back home.  Kite is Lulu's old neighbor and now she has to contend with K-Pop fans and an old crush on Kite that threaten her perfect summer.

This was a light and sweet romance that isn't explicit, which was very nice.  Lulu is a fun character to follow and I kept wanting to hang out with her and her friends in real life.  I liked how this was both a slice of life story but also had some added drama about the nature of fandom.  My one critique is that there was a lot of plot and characters crammed into one book, but overall it was a fun journey that I'm going to recommend to romance fans.
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I really enjoyed Fireworks by Alice Lin. The characters were very likable and the story was a very well-written YA romance. I wish it lasted longer because I wanted to see what happened next. I can't wait to read another book by Alice because this one was GREAT!!!!!
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Lulu and her two best friends are written as typical Asian-American girls with various family dynamics. Stephanie is the well-off rich girl, whereas Esther's family is barely touched upon. Lulu's relationship with her father is strained after divorce, and although part of the book brushes upon the topic of parent-child relations after divorce, the primary focus of this novel is a romance between Lulu and Kai. Although there is mention of bisexuality, it is only touched on as an attempt at intersectionality. Unfortunately, the attempt at bringing a bisexual character to good light doesn't really work very well. I also think it's interesting that Kai's stage name, Kite, is continuously used throughout the book by Lulu even though she knew him as a child. It seems to prove that she still sees him as just a Kpop star rather than the childhood friend who moved away. Although the small romance is cute, after the male love interest is introduced, there is no mention of biromantic interest, thus I was slightly disappointed.
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I enjoyed Fireworks by Alice Lin. 
It was unique and fresh and full of heart.
At first I thought it was going a little slow for my liking, but it quickly picked up and I got into this story really fast. 
Lin's writing is great and flowed very nicely.
The characters were something special and I enjoyed getting to go on this journey with them. 
I love YA Romance and this one had a nice touch to it. 
Overall, A cute, quick, easy read and one I found myself staying glued to my screen. 

Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review closer to pub date.
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I am in pure s h o c k after finishing this. I didn't have any expectations going into this book, and to tell the truth I didn't fully read the synopsis. I was surprised when I found out that this was a childhood friends to lovers book about a girl and a K-pop star. I'm all for enemies to lovers but I am a die hard friends to lovers fan. I wish there was a bit more romance in this book, but nonetheless I enjoyed almost every second of this book. 
(arc from netgalley)
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