Review – Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

HILYHello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (9th Jun 2015)
Genre: Contemporary YA

Blurb:
Grace Wilde is running-from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write?

I used to be a fan of K-Pop. Now, the only remainder of my liking towards Korean culture is the food. I love Korean food. Period. I thought it’d give Hello, I Love You a go since the story sounds like a really romantic, cutesy version of a K-drama. Boy, I wasn’t wrong.

Hello, I Love You follows the story of American senior, Grace Wilde, who decides to finish her senior year of high school in an international boarding school. In South Korea. Her father is a famous label producer in country music and Grace is trying to run away from all the fuzz and troubles back home in Tennessee. What Grace doesn’t expect is that her new roommate’s hot twin brother is a rising K-Pop star. Did I mention that he’s hot? Yep? Yep.

So here is how the story goes. Grace can’t stand Jason because he’s an arrogant shit (sorry) but she can’t do anything but grace him with her presence because he’s her roommate’s hot twin brother! (See what I did there?) I liked reading about the romance between Grace and Jason but at times, it got really frustrating. It’s your typical push-and-pull kind of relationship and after a while, it tends to get boring and overly-dramatic. I admit, I did roll my eyes at the whole drama a few times. There was a tiny chance for a love triangle but I wish Katie M. Stout would have given it a bit more oomph? But overall, the romance is sweet in the end, so go ahead and indulge yourselves, you hopeless romantics. Oh, that’s me.

One of the reasons why I decided to read Hello, I Love You because the story is reminiscent of one of my favourite YA love stories. Did you guess it? Yep. 10 points for whichever house you’re in! Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I loved reading about Korea in the eyes of Grace and I enjoyed learning the Korean cultures as well as the food. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough of Korea for me? I was expecting a novel that would highlight and introduce the readers to Korea, but it focused a bit too much on Grace’s past. Alas, it was a good effort by Katie M. Stout to bring the reader to a foreign country and explore it in the eyes of the heroine.

Hand on heart, I really didn’t like Jason in the beginning. I hated him. He is your run-of-the-mill jerk who is quite a peacock. Eventually, I warmed up to him (Thank you, jaysus). I wasn’t that much of a fan of Grace. I understand that she has a feisty nature, but I couldn’t relate to why she would be so snippy and volatile in a heartbeat. Talk about being mercurial, Mrs Grey. However, I adored Grace’s sister, Jane. If she were a cookie, she’d be a chocolate chip cookie with bits of pop candy sprinkled on top.

Throughout the book, you’ll be wondering and guessing why Grace would up and leave Tennessee and fly all the way to Korea to finish school. Well, I won’t spoil it for you, but being a seasoned reader, I could more or less guess what happened that forced Grace to make the call to run as far as she possibly can.

Hello, I Love You is a sweet, tender teenage love story that also focuses on facing the demons in our past, accepting what has happened and moving on. It’s about carrying on after you’ve picked yourself up. It’s also an infuriatingly adorable love story. If you’re a fan of K-dramas, then this is for you. It’s definitely quite dramatic for a YA love story.

I’d like to thank Pansing for sending me a copy for review. Hello, I Love You is available now.

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