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

Expected Publication: June 9th 2015 by Saint Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC, Paperback, 304 pages
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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?

A bit cute and adequate read, Hello, I Love You is a debut novel about a teen escaping from her family, transfers to a boarding school in Korea and falls for a Korean idol.

Grace Wilde grew up in a music world with her father being a known record producer and a famous country-artist brother. To escape her family issues, she traveled the other side of the world and enrolled herself in Korea's School of Foreign Studies. As luck would have it, she had her roommate Sophie, who takes her, and introduced her to her twin brother Jason, the lead singer of a widely known Korean band. Hearts starts to form in the eyes of Grace and Jason, even with their uncomfortable relationship.

I know Momma would never allow me to bring a friend home, and Dad would tell jokes behind Sophie's and Jason's backs about Asian people. Because that's the kind of guy he is. — Katie M. Stout, Hello, I Love You ARC

Katie M. Stout's characterization of Korea is horrifically insensitive. The main character thinks Korean people smell awful like garlic. She's also queasy by Korean food and dreaded by squat toilets. This is such a shame for an author who loves K-Pop but distinguishes Korea and it's culture badly.

I could not tell this is an 'Anna and the French Kiss goes to Korea': it is different than that beautifully written book. Stout is not Perkins and Perkins will never be Stout but Stout could be Perkins. Just not today. It's just unfortunate that a novel set in Korea with heaps of characters is distorted because it's mainly about its protagonist's trip of self-discovery.

Readers would really love to understand characters but Hello, I Love You failed on that. Grace and Jason's relationship are like kiss-and-tell-then-what? I just don't get their drama. I know they're having both family matters but can they just do something that would not make it worse and move on? Also, Grace is a high school senior here. I expected her to grow up and to do something that could inspire especially readers ages 13 to 18. Instead, she just became what she's been afraid of. I don't think everyone saw that. Her self-discovery in Korea is pointless.

You don't have to be a K-POP fan to like this book. You just have to read it and sweep over. In spite of the unfortunate negatives Hello, I Love You has, you will still enjoy moments with the main character. Even she's the type of girl that is frightened on speaking up her mind.

Slow-burn romance, Korea, plainspoken friendship, awkward family - Hello, I Love You is a better-than-nothing contemporary read.


Interested to read 'Hello, I Love You'?
Purchase it at: Book Depository, Amazon, B&N
Source: Author · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content.

14 comments

  1. Usually, I am huge fan of slow burn romances, but this one does not sound that great. Pitty you did not enjoy it better. Nice review!

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    1. Thanks, Lucia! I didn't like Jason and Grace's slow burn romance.

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  2. Well, it doesn't sound so bad, lol. Glad to know you still stuck around and finished it. :D I'm not a fan of anything Korean, except their food, lol. Great review, Yani! :)

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

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    1. Yep. I want to finish it to know if the main character changed and what's the family's fuss all about. Thanks, Blessie!

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  3. Oh darn. I was really looking forward to this book, but the fact that the other doesn't respect the Korean culture or show it in a different/positive light really irritates me. Oh great, loads of drama. Just what I love (NOT). Pointless self-discovery and not enough character exploration? I'm regretting saying yes to the blog tour. :0 Wonderful review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Thank you, Rachel!
      Don't say that yet, you might love it better than I do. :)

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  4. I've been kind of curious about this one for a while, though it seems like I may not be missing out on much! I'll probably give it a read anyway, just to see if my personal taste enjoys it. Slow burning romances do really get to me though! Thank you for the review! :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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    1. Go, Krystianna! Maybe you'll love it. :) You're welcome!

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  5. I'm sad for this - "This is such a shame for an author who loves K-Pop but distinguishes Korea and its culture badly." That's really too bad. I love books that take me away to new cultures and customs, so I'm going to keep Hello I love you in mind with its Korean heritage and K-pop.
    Lovely review, Yani :)

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    1. It is, Kimberly. :/
      But you might give it a chance later. I hope you'll enjoy it.
      Thank you!

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  6. At first, I thought this book sounded cute, but after reading your review, I really don't think it's for me. I'm half Korean so I'm not sure how much I would enjoy a book that is "horrifically insensitive." It's a bummer this wasn't a very good read - I've been on the lookout for another "Anna and the French Kiss" type of story.

    Julia Anne @ Peach Print

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    1. Sorry this will not get along with you, Julia. :/

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  7. Insensitive? I'm not Korean but I respect all cultures enough to rage with you at this. If you're going to write about a place that's arguably foreign, at least make it respectful to the culture. That makes me sick. I definitely will not be reading this. The point of these books for me is so I can learn about a new culture, not hear rude things about it -.-

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    1. I think I only read one good part of Korea in this book. You're totally right. It's just sick.

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