Cover Image: Once Upon a K-Prom

Once Upon a K-Prom

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Member Reviews

This one was a great all over read. There was excellent character development and discussions throughout. I liked that Robbie and Elena both had something to work on and how it changed their interactions with friends, family, and the community. This one is a fun, fast read that will make you think. It was also really tame romance wise so it can be recommended to any teen no matter how strict their parents are. The audiobook narrator was great and I really enjoyed learning the correct pronunciation for all the names and places.
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One thing that I think this book did well was integrate some education on Korean culture in a way that wasn’t cringey like most books that try. While it may have been more surface aspects, it still taught nonetheless and I hope it inspires some to explore and learn more about their culture wether KPop is the gateway or not.

I wish some of the pages that were utilized for predictable and somewhat unnecessary conflict were used to develop the characters further instead. If you’re looking for an easy to read fluff piece, I would recommend!
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Once Upon a K-Prom is the sweet, palate cleanser of a book you need to finish off prom season and slide right into summer. Elena Soo is on a mission to save the community center where she volunteers. She's even campaigning her classmates to forgo some prom expenses and donate the money instead, but she isn't having much success. And there's the problem that prom keeps reminding her of Robbie Choi, her ex-best friend turned K-pop idol, who asked her to prom when she was 10. When Robbie shows up and asks her to prom, her whole world is turned upside down. Will these former friends make it to the dance floor as just friends? As something more?
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Such a fun and sweet story! I really liked the narrator and how they read. I loved the romance, the banter, and how the story paced. A really enjoyable read that my students will enjoy!
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Once Upon a K-Prom is a fun romp.  The story takes a while to get going, but then it takes off.  The final conflict in the story was filled with more deceit than I like.  Overall, a fun story that I would recommend to a middle grade/YA audience, especially one that likes their K-Pop.
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First Impressions: Imagine if your childhood best friend was a member of BTS + y’all were supposed to go to Prom together before he got famous. 
This was a cute, mostly light hearted read. I listened to the audio book
So I really enjoyed hearing all the correct pronunciations and it helped a lot when I was reading the book without the audio. One of the first times I have read about how difficult and intense it is to be a K pop idol, it's different from being a regular celebrity. K pop companies can tell you what to wear, eat, how to act , they can take away your personal phone & make you sign clauses to not date anyone for ‘X’ amount of years and can drop you from your contract if you disobey any of the rules. I think that part where our MC, Elena understands her perspective on things is not the only perspective and she begins to understand her part in why some of her relationships are estranged is really helpful. Especially for teens navigating confusing/difficult interpersonal relationships at this pivotal point in their lives. I wish some of that inward reflection happened a little sooner for Elena. I Learned a lot of other stuff about K pop too like “my bias” means your favorite member of the band (not sure if this is obvious to other ppl but I had to google it)
Adding Oppa to the end of your bias’ name like Robbie-oppa is a term of endearment to be used for someone you're close with and means like big brother. Seems like the idea is for Kpop idols to want their fans to feel comfortable enough to call them that because it creates a deeper bond. At one point Robbie says his idol training taught him to treat every girl as if she was your girlfriend already. As in make her feel as special as you would a GF. I thought this was interesting and, for me, explained why fans of a group are calling members their big brothers all the time. Lastly, the 3rd act breakup and resolution happened so fast! It was like 3 chapters left like we all know you finna forgive him girl… lol. I will definitely be reading another Kat Cho book. 
This book has great Korean representation, and explains some of the “less glamorous” sides of being a Kpop Idol. I would recommend this book to folks who are K pop fans & teens with a lot of siblings (Elena has 3 older sisters & 1 twin brother who gets more attention than her bc he is the only boy so she often feels like the forgotten sibling & she comes to terms with that a lot in this book)
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The friends-to-lovers, secret billionaire, forbidden love, second chance, and partial-fake relationship tropes in this book meld together so well. The book starts of very interestingly, with the main character seemingly being anti-prom to others but a girl with a heart of gold to the reader. The book ends so sweetly though. There's plenty of K-drama to go around in this one. I loved it.
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Very cute! The beginning was a bit slow and cluttered but overall was just what you expect when picking up this title.
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This was a cute little rom-com about a girl, Elena, whose best friend, Robbie, moved back to Korea when they were 10. Robbie is now a huge K-Pop star and shows up at her house to fulfill a childhood promise to take her to prom. Elena is shy and introverted, so when Robbie shows up, she starts to get a lot of attention that makes her extremely uncomfortable, and many awkward situations ensue. Great narration - the narrator has a youthful voice and does a good job animating the characters.
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This book was all around adorable! The book follows Elena, a high school student more interested in saving the community center than she is about her school prom. Then her childhood best friend returns to take her to prom, and he just happens to be a K-Pop star. The rekindling of their friendship and figuring out what they mean to each other was very sweet. This is a great book for young readers, 13-15 years of age, and those that are fans of K-Pop.
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maybe it's just that I'm not gen z, but I didn't super love this book. it felt more like something that would be nice to read on ao3 or wattpad than something published by disney. recommended for hardcore k-pop and romance fans, pass for others.
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A predictably adorable young adult friends to dating romance harmonized with K-Pop and Korean culture: Once Upon a K-Prom is a wonderful escape back to the glitz and glamour of high school Prom days or a glimpse at it if you haven't experienced prom yet. I think this one would be fun for anyone in middle school up in age to read. I have so many students who LOVE k-pop and Korean culture, so I think I will get 5 copies of this one and use them in literature circles and students will probably fight over who gets to be lucky enough to read it! 

Brief summary: Elena and Robbie were childhood besties that are torn apart when Robbie moves to Korea. A series of events leads Robbie to become a member of a really popular K-pop boy band and leaves Elena feeling left behind. So Elena throws herself into school, causes and the community center. But a 10 year's promise is scared and when prom looms near, Robbie comes back in town to honor his promise to Elena. Read on for all the k-drama level romance in this one! 

What I loved most: the activism angle. I really loved that Elena and Josie started a movement to raise awareness on how much money is spent on Prom and started an alt prom movement to support a local cause. I also love how this novel subtly promotes volunteering through Elena - she volunteers at the community center - and how much good it does and how good it makes Elena feel to help other people.
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This book took me by surprise! Going in I was pretty sure that the teens at my library would like it, but I wasn't sure if I would like it myself. However, Elena and Robbie's story was entertaining and sweet. The characters were well fleshed out with unique motivations and back stories. I thoroughly recommend this book!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC and ARC audiobook.

Description from NetGalley:
What would you do if the world's biggest K-pop star asked you to prom? Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon, this hilarious and heartfelt novel brings the glamour and drama of the K-pop world straight to high school.

Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing - she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that's always made her feel like she belonged.

So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.

Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants - even if she can't stop thinking about Robbie's smile...right?

I don’t often read YA contemporary, but now and again there’s one that just grabs me from the cover to the premise. This is one of those. I feel so much for Elena trying to find her place in the world. I do wish we got more from Robbie. There are a few sections that are from his point of view, but instead of more of his POV, there are profiles for each of the member of hid K-pop group. I don’t know a lot of K-pop, but I got the impression that it is similar to the J-pop scene with idols.

The plot follows the typical romance structure, but I think it could use a few more pages after the break up because everything was wrapped up super quick. The narrator did a great job.

Overall: 3.5/5
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This was such a sweet YA K-pop/K-drama romance between two friends who are reunited after a seven year absence. Robbie had promised Elena he'd take her to prom when they were kids but then moved away to Korea to become a boy band star. Fast forward and Elena is campaigning for an alterna-prom only to be surprised when Robbie turns up asking her to go to prom with him. 

Slowly these two rekindle their friendship, falling in love along the way. I loved getting a glimpse into the pressures and expectations of the K-pop world from Robbie's side of the story and also related to Elena's struggles feeling invisible as the youngest one in her big family. A heartwarming story that was great on audio and perfect for fans of Jenny Han or Axie Oh's XOXO. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance listening copy.
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Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by NetGalley and Disney Audiobooks in exchange for an honest review.

Oh this was a fun YA romance! I loved how much the side characters factor into the main plot, this may be a story about Elena and Robbie, but it's also about the friendships that are important to each of them. I loved the moments with the rest of the guys in Robbie's group. While I really don't love the romance trope of needing a misunderstanding leading to a parting of ways before resolution can happen, I did appreciate Elena's growth (in realizing how and why things played out with her former best friend and why her relationship with her brother is the way it is), I wish Cho gave Robbie more chapters in his POV so readers could see why he was socially inept... and how the pop music industry impacts the mental and emotional growth of young stars.

This is definitely something that I would have been a HUGE fan of as a teen. I can see this being a big hit with my teen patrons that like romance books. And since the romance doesn't go very far, this is a perfect YA to give to younger romance readers as well.

Jackie Chung does a great job with the audiobook narration.
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This book was delightful! I really appreciated both POVs, and the characters were realistic and relatable. Really just a lot of fun.
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All right. First off, the narrator was good. She did a good job of voice inflection and emotion. She read the different characters well. 👍

Ok, so Elena is the invisible twin “spare child” in a Korean family with 4 kids, someone who loves deeply but has been hurt a lot. But Robbie sees her. I love this trope of feeling like a no one, and then someone seems to truly understand you. I also liked Elena’s growth. In the beginning she was very “woe is me”. “I’m not popular” and people genuinely seemed to really be against her. And by the end she repaired a lot of relationships simply by communicating. I love YA books that teach communication. 

Robbie is star and wants to fulfill all of his dreams of song writing. I wish there had been more dual points if view from him. He was a nice perspective to see things from, since he was so stunted in social norms… and i think it would have helped the story get to that end point… having him realize how stunted he was in that area before he says it? I dunno, but I understand why we stayed with Elena the majority of the time,
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I really loved how cute this book was! It was such a quick and fun romcom that was easy to get into from the start. I really enjoyed Elena’s development and I just wanted to give her a hug the whole time. Robbie was a dreamboat, of course. 

I am usually not a fan of books being adapted into movies or tv shows but I would LOVE to see this story play out on screen. 

The audiobook itself was great. I enjoyed the narrator and was glad to hear how a lot of the names are supposed to be pronounced.
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For Elena life has been one big living in the shadow of everyone else from her perfect twin to her successful other siblings. She just feels invisible. Most of all she feels abandoned by her former best friend and now crazy famous K-Pop idol Robbie Choi. She's busy trying to save her beloved community center, the only place she truly feels at home, but everyone else only seems to care about prom. When Robbie invites her to prom to (on a promise they made when they were younger to go together), she find her whole world uprooted.

I have pretty mixed feelings about this book. At first I was really into it and felt for Elena, but her constant "invisible again" mentality started to grate on me. Especially when it made no sense for her to feel this way later in the book. The turn the book took with this toward the end felt like jamming a puzzle piece that didn't quite fit to just get the puzzle over with. Also, the book was in first person from Elena's POV and third from Robbie's. While I've read this style of story before, it's really jarring for me, and I don't like it. Others may not have a problem at all. Robbie felt kind of flat to me too, and I didn't connect with him at all which made me not really care so much for the romance. Also, the world of K-pop wasn't as immersive as other K-pop books I've read. Everything kind of felt told from a fan perspective. I think that kids who feel like Elena does might enjoy this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ALC. Jackie Chung was a great narrator and I felt like Elena's personality really came through in her narrating.
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