Cover Image: Seoulmates

Seoulmates

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Member Reviews

THIS IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT *IT* BOOK. Ya'll are going to love this! I'm not huge into K-pop or K-drama's and I adored this story. Hannah Cho knows exactly how she wants her summer to be. She wants to spend time with her friends and boyfriend but then Nate dumps her. Her whole summer is ruined but it gets worse her former best friend Jacob is coming to stay for the summer. He's a K-drama star and their relationship is not great but Jacob is ready for a chance from his acting life. Hannah and Jacob are the freaking cutest thing. Their friendship feels so real and honest that you fall in love with them. This story is totally swoon worthy and full of heart. I loved it!!
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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

Seoulmates is a super-cute YA, K-Drama and K-Pop-inspired romance. I was initially drawn to the punny title and the promise of the blurb, but found a lot to relate to going into the book itself. 

Like Susan Lee discusses in her author’s note and Hannah expresses early on in the book, I have a complex relationship with my own Asian identity. I’m part Korean, and it’s odd to see so many people becoming obsessed with KPop, although I will say that some of the main people I know are my family, so it’s not so much a cultural divide for me, as me just not fully getting it. Although some of that knowledge also allowed me to keep up, at least tangentially, with the hefty amount of references being made to the K-Pop and K-Drama lingo within the text. Even so, Lee does her part to make it accessible, so you don’t have to be a superfan to keep up. 

Hannah herself is quite likable in addition to the cultural context, and I can understand her complex feelings about her childhood friend. She’s been deeply hurt, and she’s defensive, so she comes off as prickly at times, but she’s a big softie who still cares deeply for her best friend…who may be something more to her. 

Jacob is also great, and I really liked seeing things from his side, especially the toll fame has had on him. We all know being a child or teen star is rough to begin with, and with the industry in South  Korea being even more toxic than the US, it’s understandable that he’s dealing with a lot, and wants to make the most of being away from it, even if only for a short time. 

The romance is super cute, especially once Hannah lets her guard down and they explore their feelings for each other. There are some moments where I feel things between them could have been handled a little better, but I can also understand why they acted the way they did at the time. 

I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys multicultural contemporary romances, especially if you’re also a KPop/K-Drama fan.
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The way Susan made me feel so SEEN as a Korean American, that's damn good writing. I literally couldn't put this down that I said who needs sleep when you have HanJin.
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How to spice up a childhood friends to lovers narrative? Make them have a falling out and become Enemies in-between! This is an overall cute and fun story about two former best friends who meet again after spending years apart, but still finds room to touch on more serious topics like idol lifestyle and what it means to be Korean-American in a time when there is a hype surrounding all things Korean. Good balance of rom-com and drama and I genuinely liked both main characters. I wished for a bit more closure with some things at the end of the book, but still would recommend.
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**3.5 STARS**

I love reading K-Pop romances and though the character in here, Jacob is Kdrama star through his acting and not singing, I still love that we get an inside look at the life of a Kdrama star. Here’s what did and didn’t work for me:

+ It’s great that we get Hannah’s perspective as a Korean-American who isn’t quite into or informed about her culture even though right now Korean culture is popular because the K-pop bands dominating the music charts. I found Hannah relatable. Also she’s going through some things about her dad working overseas and I thought it was nice to see her talk to her mom to work through her emotions.

+ Jacob’s character is really interesting because he used to live in America, then moved to Korea and tried his hand at acting and is now blowing up big. I like that he is still that vulnerable kid who used to be bullied and who still wasn’t confident about some things about himself even though his star is rising. Jacob has so many insecurities and pressures to deal with. He has to make decisions regarding his family, his goals, the people he works for and Hannah.

+ It’s a childhood friends to lovers romance so it’s really cute because they have history. Of course when Jacob leaves, Hannah feels abandoned again, but Jacob also feels like she ghosted him when he was going through all his acting training. Then trying to heal the past and go forward together was really cute.

+ ~ I was super surprised that this sweet love story had some emotional drama and…a spicy scene! It caught me off guard because I thought for the most part it was going with the sweet childhood friends theme but then boom – it got kinda spicy in one scene and a little descriptive.

~ Speaking of spicy if you aren’t into F-bombs in a story, you may not like this one.

Tropes: childhood friends to lovers, kdrama star falls for regular girl

Why you should read it:
*I liked both Jacob and Hannah’s perspectives – they are both Korean but grew up in different places and experienced different things.
*cute love story
*getting an inside look of the Kdrama life

Why you might not want to read it:
*some F bombs and a spicy scene that is a bit descriptive

My Thoughts:

This one is a cute read and though it’s not a Kpop kind of romance it still is a cute love story. It has the childhood friends to lovers trope, the boy is a Kdrama star who is only getting more popular and he falls in love with Hannah who is a Korean-American girl just being a normal teenager. I liked that we get both their perspectives and they deal with some emotional issues too. I look forward to reading more books from this author!
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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC! This was a very cute dual POV YA romance. I really loved all the K-Pop references and the Korean culture imbedded in the story. It's an easy read that would be better suited for a high schooler rather than myself, but it was cute nonetheless. I could definitely see this being a Netflix series, and the celebrity regular person storyline is always the best trope.
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This was SUCH a good book! 

It's the start to the summer before her senior year in high school and Hannah has just been broken up with. To try to win her ex back, she decides to continue their summer plan of doing lifeguard training together. Something her mother doesn't want her to do. She'd prefer her to teach bible study and forbid her to go.

Jacob is a Korean K-Drama star who injures himself while doing press for the show and is forced to take a vacation. His mom and Hannah's mom are best friends and Hannah's mom invites them to stay with them in the states.

Hannah and Jacob had been childhood best friends and were spit up when Jacob's dad passed away and he and his family had to move to Korea. They haven't spoken in three years and left on bad terms, but now they're forced to be in the same household and Hannah is determined to ignore Jacob.

When Jacob catches Hannah sneaking out, he blackmails her into taking him on a bucket list trip of San Diego, before he has to go back to Korea. These outings help Hannah and Jacob reconnect and deal with how their friendship ended. They slowly get closer and closer, but with Jacob going back to Korea at the end of the summer, how will their new relationship work when three years prior, it destroyed them?

This was a very sweet best friends to enemies to lovers romance. It almost didn't feel YA. I was really impressed by the author. It doesn't feel like a debut book. The writing flows really well and I will definitely read more from her. I did not put the book down once I started reading it. I also loved that the book takes place in my back yard, so it was fun being able to visualize the places they go to and feel like I was with them.

This is a pretty mature YA, so if you're buying for a younger YA, maybe wait until they're older. They don't have sex, but get pretty close and there's a lot of mature language.

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press. I voluntarily reviewed an early copy of this book.
4.5 Stars
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This book has everything I love. K-pop mentions, and it’s about a Kdrama actor but it also has things I don’t love, the f bomb throughout and teenage sex. They don’t have sex but a lot of sexual details were mentioned so I skipped parts. I met this author by chance at a concert a couple weeks ago  and she is a doll, and I was so excited to read this book. But I can’t give it five stars or even 4 stars for the language and sexual content. I did enjoy the story and there were some funny, enjoyable moments. If it was clean, it would have more stars from me.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Susan Lee for providing me with a complimentary digital ARC for Seoulmates coming out September 20, 2022.  The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

I will upload my review to Goodreads once I’ve finished the book. I’ll also add my review to Amazon when the book is released on September 20th.

Hannah Cho is experiencing summer before her senior year in San Diego. She’s planning the perfect summer with her boyfriend Nate, but then he leaves because he thinks they don’t have anything in common. He and her friends are obsessed with all things Korean. Hannah does not enjoy K-dramas or Kpop. 

To further complicate things, Jacob Kim returns home from Korea. He’s Hannah’s former best friend who she hasn’t seen in years and who she doesn’t want to forgive for hurting her. He’s ready to take a break from starring in K-dramas. However, fame follows him to San Diego. Can Hannah and Jacob figure out what went wrong in their relationship? 

I’m one of those crazy K-drama fans, haha! I’ve been watching them since 2012, so I’m loving that more books are coming out from Korean authors about Korean stories. 

For some reason, Jacob and Hannah feel like people in their 20s, so it was a little challenging to remember they’re only 18.

Overall, I loved this book! It was such a sweet story. I enjoyed the chapters were told from Jacob and Hannah’s point-of-views. Hannah had struggles with her Korean identity vs her Americanized Korean identity. Jacob had struggles with supporting his family after his dad passed away. The book was heartbreaking yet fun and dramatic. I loved the message and outcome. I also loved the moms supporting their children. I will definitely read anything else written by Susan Lee. 

I would recommend this to anyone who loves learning more about Korean culture and also love romcoms! 

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This was an adorable YA romance and a lover of all things kpop, kdrama, and especially Bangtan, I really enjoyed a lot of the references here (Susan and I even share the same bias!). And when I found out Jacob was modeled after Mingyu from SVT, that was really fun too. Overall, this book isn't super groundbreaking and I found it suffered from a little too much telling rather than showing but I still had an enjoyable time reading it and would recommend it to any kpop or kdrama fan.
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This is a charming and insightful story.  Hannah is on the verge of a perfect summer, right before the start of her senior year.  But then her boyfriend dumps her, saying that they have little in common including his newfound interest in K-pop and K-dramas.  And then Hannah learns the Kims, longtime family friends who moved to Korea several years before, are coming to San Diego for the summer and will be staying with Hannah and her mother.  This means that Hannah will be living in the same house as Jacob Kim, her childhood best friend who she has not spoken to since a fight they had shortly after he left for Korea.  For his part, Jacob is looking forward to taking a break from his career as a television star.  Back together after several years apart, Jacob hopes they can get past what happened all those years ago -- especially given what seems to be their growing feelings for each other -- and have a normal summer.  But the drama, from their past and from the studio that produces Jacob show, his manager, and his co-star, may get in the way.

This is a well written and creative story, complete with strong main characters and a perceptive examination of family life, fame, and connection.  

Highly recommended!
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Seoulmates was delightful and honest. I enjoyed the playful banter and humanity of the characters. Hannah and Jacob's interactions never felt forced. Their struggles with people-pleasing and overcoming abandonment issues were poignant, not only to teens or the intended audience, but to any reader. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who reads YA or loves romcom Kdramas!
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This was very Seoul-ful, bad puns aside it was a lot deeper than the summary suggested. I was really surprised that I was hooked from chapter 2. I related a lot to Hannah’s struggles. I loved Jacob. He was so shy and sweet while Hannah was loud and fierce. Jacob was like the 2nd lead in a K-drama rather than the main lead, so it was so endearing to see that personality type shine for once.

This was the absolute perfect execution of childhood best friends to lovers. Hannah and Jacob were so cute. I love that the miscommunication trope wasn’t exaggerated. You could see their previous friendship shine through quickly rather than being told they were best friends. I was obsessed with how well they understood they each other through expressions. I just wanted to keep reading more of them.

Sometimes there were important conversations that felt inorganic. I appreciate those issues being discussed by the realistic aspects and fictional drama weren’t balanced well together at times. I also disliked the shift from first person to third person for one of the POVs but thankfully it was very short. I’ve read first to third person shifts 4 times this year, I’m not sure why it’s not uncommon anymore but I really dislike it in most cases.

This was a wonderful debut book and I can’t wait to read more of what Susan Lee writes. Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for the ARC.
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This was a super cute YA read.

A second chance at friendship and something more for Hannah and Jacob if they can get past the hurt they caused each other three years ago. 

Best friends since before birth these two were each other’s person. Then life shattering events caused one to end up on the other side of the globe and fallen into the K-Drama scene. Jacob feels he has to carry on with this life in the spotlight doing exactly what the execs want in order to provide for his family. A hurt ankle and some bad press however lead him back to his hometown and the best friend each thought betrayed the other. Forced back into the same house for an entire summer these two navigate trying to avoid each other and live their own lives. But will they be able to stay away from each other? And stay as mad and hurt as they felt three years ago? As well as face all the new challenges in their lives?

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review.
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This one was so cute! I'm not normally a fan of the friends to lovers trope, but this one did it so well. I loved the extra depth it added to Jacob and Hannah's relationship, it added the perfect amount of angst. I also really enjoyed the journey in this one. Watching Jacob and Hannah explore San Diego was so fun, and it had me wanting to do the same. While developing them as characters, it also developed a beautiful setting. Falling in love against the backdrop of San Diego sounded so picturesque.

I'll be the first to admit, I don't watch K-dramas. Not sure why, I've just never been a fan. But their portrayal in this was so fun. It was stereotypical, sure, and Jacob was likely a caricature, but it was fun. I wouldn't recommend this as a work of literary excellence, but I'd definitely recommend it for a fun read. It was addictive, and I know I'll definitely be rereading it.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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I am not usually a fan of childhood friends-to-lovers but this was great and gives me hope that I will enjoy this trope in the future!

The book is told from multiple point-of-views, mostly coming from Hannah and Jacob. I liked the dual perspective for their relationship because each one is going through something on the side, whether it be a break-up or dealing with an entertainment agency. It brings a wedge between them, but it was nice to see Hannah and Jacob try to make it all work even if they felt like it was all hopeless at times.

Hannah is also dealing with the craze of K-Pop and K-dramas. It has affected her relationship and even her friend group. She talks about always trying to hide away her Korean identity and wanting to just be American. She wanted to just fit in with everyone else. I feel like that can hit home for a lot of people. Hannah also feels like everyone she cares about eventually moves on and away from her. It’s a sting that is hard to let go of.

Jacob is pushed around by his agency and even his co-star. He has no time alone but feels like he must do what he does to help his family out after his dad died suddenly. That’s a lot for a kid to have on his shoulders. It’s all so often that a child becomes the head of the household and never gets out of the mentality, never having a childhood.

It was tough to read about both of their experiences, but it was also nice to seem them work through it and decide for themselves what they needed going forward. I think it helped to have each other back in their lives. It gave them a push!

Their mothers were hilarious and I also enjoyed Jacob’s sister! They meddle a lot and I was never disappointed when they graced the page.

The plot is filled with a lot of drama and so if you like K-dramas then this would be perfect for you! If you aren’t one for drama, I think that it is milder compared to others. I am not one for excessive mindless drama and this plot didn’t feel like that at all. It had me hooked and I finished it within a day!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I loved the childhood romance and can’t wait to see what else this author writes in the future.
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Seoulmates by  Susan Lee ARC Review

TLDR: it's a DNF for me but I do recommend it to others

Ok, guys so this is going to be a DNF for me but not for the reason you might think. I first picked up this book several months ago back in April. And I was really enjoying it until I wasn’t. I don't know what happened. Maybe end-of-year school stuff may have gotten to me but I don’t know. Looking back the following month I read almost only manga so maybe it was that. I have tried a couple of times since then to pick the book back up and I just can’t. I think I may have burnt myself out on this particular genre. I did also try reading Flip the Script and I got like 2 chapters into that. Again not the book's fault. Also for most of this month, I have only been able to process picture books so I am not even going to attempt this right now. 

Prior to me stopping my reading I was genuinely enjoying the story. I am a big fan of these K-pop/K-drama storylines. I just love them, and maybe I’ve read a few too many lately. I really liked our female MC. I thought she was very cool and relatable. The way she and the male MC had a falling out was very interesting and added some nice depth to the plot. It is all around a good time. The male MC’s storyline is also very interesting. I prefer idol characters to actors personally but the way he was portrayed was pretty good. 

Please do go check this book out. While it may not have been for me I bet so many of you will like it.
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"You'll always find your way back home" - Hannah Montana

This story follows Hannah and Jacob, childhood friends who had a falling out 3 years ago. Now Hannah resides in San Diego while Jacob is a famous k-drama actor. They reunite all these years later, trying to coexist. Hannah wants her ex, Nate, back and Jacob wants his best friend, Hannah, back.

We get to follow these characters through the hot San Diego summer, we get to see them reconnect and come together to have an amazing summer. But everything comes with a price when you are a star of one of the most famous k-dramas on Netflix. 

What I really like about this book is the insights it has on relationships, how long distance might affect them, how some people might think others leaving is their fault when it's nothing but ... life getting in the way. This helped me to get some things in order in my own head. 

I am not a k-drama fan (which I need to improve on) but I loved the insights into the acting world. How fame is so important you create fake relationships and make sure fans are happy.

I did think Hannah is a little too childish at time however she is a teenager, and I don't think it's inherently bad to be a little selfish. I did love that identity was one of the main issues for her. That she felt not Korean enough to be Korean but felt too Korean to be American-Korean. It's interesting how the world continues to change and adapt to a new different trend and we never think how people may feel. 

Overall, this is a fun and adorable YA contemporary which gives you an insight into the Korean culture and the world of k-dramas. 

4/5

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for approving me for the free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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I really enjoyed getting to know Hannah and Jacob and their families. Both Hannah and Jacob had personal issues to deal with and failed to acknowledge their lives were being so negatively impacted by ignoring them. Then, when life throws them together again for the summer, they begin to open their eyes and hearts to what they have been missing. Ultimately, it takes each other to recognize the past hurt and move beyond it.

Hannah and Jacob have a heartwarming history together as best friends and now three years later have added a romantic chemistry to their relationship. The banter between them made me both swoon and laugh. I enjoyed the road trip and the creative side of both characters and how they realized following their own dreams was important for personal happiness.

The Korean culture is a big focus of this book and now I want to watch K-Dramas! I enjoyed the foods referenced throughout the book and it definitely made me hungry while reading.
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First I would like to thank Netgalley and Inkyard Press for sending me this E-arc, in return for an honest review.

I was so excited to receive an arc for Seoulmates, as I was so excited to read it. I fell in love with Hannah, as she struggles with her identity as a Korean American. She avoids anything Korean, whether it be speaking Korean, kpop, kdramas, and even food to an extent. She does everything to fit with the crowd, and then gets upset when the craze of kpop and kdramas swept through the west, causes it to be the popular thing to love anything Korean. We see as she struggles with those that now want her to be friends because she is Korean, until they find out her personality and they think she is less Korean, which is struggle for Hannah. This is a reality for so many Korean Americans, and as well any Asian American group, as they struggle to identify themselves, as they are considered never good enough for either group. I remember being bullied for liking kpop, kdramas, and anime, and now those who bullied me for it all love it, and treat my half Korean friend who massively bullied all good now because they think it is cool she is half korean. This story is the voice for so many Korean Americans that wanted to find where they belonged.

I also love the relationship between Hannah and Jacob, and I couldn't help but swoon over Jacob as he did all he could to get Hannah's friendship back. I loved watching them grow together and learn to fight for what they have together. I also have to admit I was surprised by the spice that got sprinkled in 😉. I can't wait to receive my personalised copy from Susan Lee, and see what else she will write.
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