Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Shine by Jessica Jung - Review

A Korean American teen is thrust into the competitive, technicolor world of K-pop, from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of Girls Generation.

What would you give for a chance to live your dreams?

For seventeen-year-old Korean American Rachel Kim, the answer is almost everything. Six years ago, she was recruited by DB Entertainment—one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels, known for churning out some of the world’s most popular stars. The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. Easy right?

Not so much. As the dark scandals of an industry bent on controlling and commodifying beautiful girls begin to bubble up, Rachel wonders if she’s strong enough to be a winner, or if she’ll end up crushed… Especially when she begins to develop feelings for K-pop star and DB golden boy Jason Lee. It’s not just that he’s charming, sexy, and ridiculously talented. He’s also the first person who really understands how badly she wants her star to rise.

Review - Book Breakdown

I honestly don't know where to start. First I guess let's just a small little overview of the book. On the surface, it's a book about a girl going through her trainee days trying her hardest to debut in a K-Pop girl group. 

Rachel's whole family moved from NY to Seoul for Rachel to live her dream, only it's not that easy, she's now Seventeen in Korean age and is getting too old to debut. So she has to train harder than ever, hoping to show her entertainment company that she has what it takes. 

This takes her on a wild ride, she gets drugged by another trainee who hopes to ruin her chances, the constant weight checks, a self-absorbed boyfriend, and a lot of drama. But in the end, she finally gets to debut and that's where we end it, setting up for the squeal which is sure to be a lot more drama. 

Now, I went in knowing quite a bit about K-Pop and their slave contracts and how they treat their idols, so none of this came as a surprise to me. Still doesn't make it right but we get to see even more into it. How sexist the K-Pop world is. They treat Rachel's boyfriend Jason so much better than they treat her. He gets everything he wants whenever he wants and she gets weight checks outfit changes every five minutes. 

It's so sad that's what these idols have to do to make their dreams come true. Everything is scripted, nothing is real in the K-Pop world it seems. I hope that changes. 

I do love the little things the author leaves in the book, like the talk about the Korean age vs. the American age. Koreans believe that when you're born you're a year old and so when you're 3 over here in the states, you're 4 over there. 

I love the mention of the food, the K-Dramas, and seeing behind the curtain. 

This book is a thinly veiled story based on Jessica's own time in a huge K-Pop group called Girls Generation. So fans of hers can see the little Easter Eggs she left. The girl group in the book is Girls Forever. Jessica was in a nine-member and so is Rachel. They are both singers, Korean-American. Rachel is called 'Princess Rachael" Jessica was known as the 'Ice Princess". These are just some of the little things in this book as considering Jessica is/was my bias, I really enjoyed it.

The thing that gets me the most about this book was I think it was meant as a fun quirky read but it really showed a lot of flaws to a system that needs some work.