Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Genre: YA Contemporary
Format read: hard copy
Content warning: extreme diets
Rep: POC (S. Korean), mental illness (anxiety)
Rating: planchet-4

Lucky is a K-Pop superstar, and she’s 48-hours from her career skyrocketing into entirely new territory: she’s about to debut on an American late-night now, an honor few Korean pop stars see. If all goes well, she’ll go from being one of the most popular solo artists in a tiny country to being an international hit.

But Lucky can’t manage the enthusiasm everyone else has for the show. She’s supposed to be grateful, but as she sits in her hotel room after another exhausting show, it occurs to her that as much as she loves singing and performing, her passion for being “Lucky”, the pink-haired, 5’10” phenomenon known for her thigh-high silver stiletto boots, has waned in the past several years. Everything is routine.

It starts out as a simple quest: a hamburger. Shouldn’t be too hard to find at 11pm in one of the busiest cities in the world, right? Lucky sneaks past her handlers and security and out onto the lively Hong Kong streets. But one thing she doesn’t account for are her anxiety and sleeping pills kicking in at just that moment, leaving her dazed and apparently drunk, sleeping on a bus.

Jack, a Korean-American photographer who has been living in Hong Kong since high school, finds Lucky passed out on said bus. He doesn’t recognize her at first, but can’t seem to leave the poor drunk girl wandering around in her hotel slippers alone. Afraid she’ll run into trouble, he tries to take her back to the hotel but instead ends up following her around the city as her drugged brain leads her from one shiny object to another.

When she finally passes out for good, he takes her back to his apartment so she can sleep off whatever is in her system. It’s then that Jack, who moonlights for a tabloid, realizes “Fern,” the drunk girl he picked up on a city bus, is really Lucky.

Both of them are looking for escape. Once their paths cross, adventure follows as Jack shows sheltered Lucky around the city he calls home.

I loved every single page of this book. It helps that I’m a big fan of K-pop myself, and there was a lot of the culture behind the media in just the first few pages: the expectations to be grateful, to work hard, to always be perfect, both in appearance and behavior.

If you were a fan of the Laura Jean series, this is a good step up, straddling the line between YA and New Adult (the romance is light and doesn’t go very far; I’m referring more to the age group NA is aimed at). If you’ve ever questioned your path in life, then this is a must-read.

 

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