Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 477
K-Pop Magic
(Updated: September 11, 2021)
Overall rating
Writing Style
IDOL GOSSIP by Alexandra Leigh Young is a YA contemporary novel set in Seoul, Korea, to where Alice Choy has just moved from San Francisco. At the urging of her sister Oliva, Alice attends a talent search competition there and gets selected for a spot at Top10 Entertainment’s Star Academy, where Alice will be groomed to become a K-pop star. Singing is all Alice has ever dreamed of doing, but the drama created by clashing personalities in her group, wants of the business sharks, and the snark from the gossip columnists is almost more than Alice can take. Thankfully, Alice has the support of a few new friends, Joon and So-hyun, already famous Idols, her world-renowned vocal coach, and her own belief in herself.

My favorite part of this entire novel is the relationship between Alice and her sister, Olivia. The two are close, so when Alice goes off to school it’s really tough on both of them. Separately, they have to navigate being in a new country, making new friends, and doing it without the other for the first time. What makes it worse is they’re not even living under the same roof any more, and they rarely have time to speak or see one another. Young does a great job at showing how siblings can be each other’s biggest fans, but also how delicate the relationship can be.

This story is an enjoyable read about an artist chasing her dream against the odds, but even though there’s a lot of conflict and tension built into the plot, it’s a slow read. It didn’t have enough juicy moments to be a guilty pleasure as I expected, like NASHVILLE for instance, nor did it have enough grit to display the dark side of the business like A STAR IS BORN. It existed somewhere in the middle.

That being said, IDOL GOSSIP is a great read for K-pop fans who want a peek behind the curtain. Its strongest takeaway is a caution to all readers about how we use social media. Are we going to uplift people or tear someone down? Young poses this question to us inadvertently, which is both relevant to the times and crucial for us to answer.
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