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Shine

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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-po 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.


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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-po 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.

30 review for Shine

  1. 4 out of 5

    jenny✨

    9/29/2020: IT'S PUBLICATION DAY, Y'ALL! ✨ SHINE IS PURE ESCAPIST BRAIN CANDY. Tropes galore and angst that could put a K-drama to shame: I devoured this book in a single day and honestly had fun with it. Not to mention ALL THE TORONTO REFERENCES 💖💖💖be still my Canadiana heart! Before I go any further, though, I want to say that parts of this book are definitely problematic. I don’t condone fatphobia, and there is a not-insignificant amount of body-shaming and calorie-counting in this book that made 9/29/2020: IT'S PUBLICATION DAY, Y'ALL! ✨ SHINE IS PURE ESCAPIST BRAIN CANDY. Tropes galore and angst that could put a K-drama to shame: I devoured this book in a single day and honestly had fun with it. Not to mention ALL THE TORONTO REFERENCES 💖💖💖be still my Canadiana heart! Before I go any further, though, I want to say that parts of this book are definitely problematic. I don’t condone fatphobia, and there is a not-insignificant amount of body-shaming and calorie-counting in this book that made me really uncomfortable. I understand wanting to realistically represent the toxicity of the K-pop industry, but this wasn’t something the book critiqued nearly enough (if it all). If these are things that are triggering or uncomfortable for you, I would suggest passing on Shine. Is it worth it? That’s a question I ask myself every day. All the training, the lost weekends, the family sacrifices. The constant feeling of never quite belonging somewhere you desperately want to be. All to fulfill my dream of becoming a K-pop star. ✨ Not gonna lie to you: I went into this with really low expectations. I think most people are generally wary of fiction written by celebs, and I’m no exception (not to mention the cover looks like something I might’ve whipped up on PicMonkey circa 2012). Maybe that helped things, because I wasn’t anticipating anything when I cracked this book open. Shine follows seventeen-year-old Rachel Kim as she trains to become a K-pop star in Seoul. She straddles two worlds, never quite belonging to either: too Korean for America, too American for Korea. As the story progresses, we’re thrown into Rachel’s glamorous but cutthroat world. It was pure wish fulfillment fun to read about luxury hotels on Jeju Island and swanky international schools in Hannam-dong (that invite athletes like Adam Rippon to teach figure skating!!!). There were secret cafés for celebs—hidden within rundown warehouses designed to look like a slice of Paris—and engagement parties DJ’ed by Diplo. At one point, Rachel and her sister even fly on a private jet to Tokyo for a day trip. What if I need more from life than a stage and a song? ✨ But Shine also explores the brutal standards of the K-pop industry. Trainees move into a house together so they can practice from sunup to sundown, perfecting their voices, dances, bodies, and images. Label execs control every aspect of trainee life: no dating, no social media. Gruelling physical punishment for anyone who can’t keep up. Intense dieting, body-shaming, and pressure to get plastic surgery (gross, gross, gross). And performance reviews every month means you’re always at danger of being cut. Above all, there are incredibly toxic double standards for women in K-pop. From fans who rip into female idols (while fawning over the dudes) to execs who won’t hesitate to ruin a woman if it ensures a man’s success, the road to stardom—and beyond—is an unforgiving place for girls like Rachel. I liked that the book didn’t try to sugarcoat any of this. There’s no limit to how brightly I can shine. ✨ For the most part, the writing in this book wasn’t bad, y’all!!! You’re definitely gonna need some suspension of disbelief for all the K-drama worthy moments (Rachel and Jason’s meet-cute involves a bush, Snoopy pyjamas, and Rachel falling headfirst into his back) and you’ll be putting up with a lot of catty and cliché mean girls, not to mention a TOXIC fixation on thinness. But this wasn’t the disjointed sentences and clunky dialogue I’d been expecting—this book genuinely made me laugh, and I really liked the banter between Rachel and Jason (up until he went FULL DICK MODE in the second half). My favourite part was reading about Rachel’s love for her family: her Umma the linguistics professor, whose love blinds her to everything but Rachel’s suffering at the hands of K-pop; her Appa the former pro-boxer; and my fave character in the whole book, her little sister Leah—who is hilarious and endearing and the BIGGEST fangirl. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ ✨ Bottom line: This book reminded me of the reasons I enjoyed Zoey Dean’s The A-List and the Alphas series by Lisi Harrison. Sometimes you just want a good dose of glitzy brain candy featuring über rich/famous kids; Shine will deliver. TW: bullying, body-shaming, dieting, mention of physical punishment Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! All quotes were taken from an uncorrected advance reader's proof.

  2. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    bro i just hope she spills some tea about the industry

  3. 4 out of 5

    demi. ♡

    I've been a fan of Girls' Generation and K-pop groups for half of my entire life so there's no reason why I won't read this book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly (Deity of Books)

    Before I start my review I have to address something. There’s lots of controversy surrounding this book and I’m not going to talk about it in my review so...if that’s what you’re here for—sorry. Another thing I have to say is that I am a fan of kpop, but I’m not biased. (I think I’m finished with my disclaimers). On to the review then! Rachel Kim, our protagonist, was born in NYC and moved to Korea 6 years ago to pursue her dreams of becoming a kpop star. She is a trainee at DB entertainment. Unl Before I start my review I have to address something. There’s lots of controversy surrounding this book and I’m not going to talk about it in my review so...if that’s what you’re here for—sorry. Another thing I have to say is that I am a fan of kpop, but I’m not biased. (I think I’m finished with my disclaimers). On to the review then! Rachel Kim, our protagonist, was born in NYC and moved to Korea 6 years ago to pursue her dreams of becoming a kpop star. She is a trainee at DB entertainment. Unlike other trainees, she doesn’t train 24/7 and is often called a “poor little Korean American Princess” by Mina Choo, our antagonist (most of the time). She is full Korean, a trainee at DB entertainment, and is the eldest daughter of one of Korea’s oldest Chaebol families. Now introducing... the love interest, Jason Lee. He is DB’s newest kpop star, the golden boy, and he’s half-Korean and half-white. The beginning of the book is solid, but near the end, it started falling apart and it felt like it was cut off just so there could be a sequel. I’m pretty sure if Shine was a standalone novel it would have been much better. Nothing much happened in this book. I felt that a lot of the scenes were filler scenes and probably could have been cut out. The pacing is terrible. It feels very choppy and awkward. Sometimes the chapter ends with a very climactic scene and you expect the next chapter to be a continuation of that scene but, instead, the next chapter jumps to a week after that scene. All the characters felt really flat and boring. I just didn’t care about them or anything that happened to them. Some characters just popped up out of nowhere and only had one purpose. Rachel and Mina were really catty, which I hate. Then, Jason is very blinded and doesn’t see through the double standards of the kpop industry. I’m sure his character was written to be charming, cute, and flirty but he just annoyed the hell out of me. Some things in this book are very unbelievable. Yes, I’m aware that I am reading fiction but still... Of course, I have to talk about the romance. It was cringy, but I’ve read worse. I actually kind of enjoyed it in the beginning, but later on it was just annoying. I actually do have some good things to say about this book (if you’ve made it this far). I enjoyed the bond that Rachel and her sister, Leah, had. I also enjoyed that this book mentioned fat-shaming, body-shaming, racism, and double standards of the kpop industry/society. Honestly, this is the only thing that is preventing me from giving this book a one-star rating. I just wish that this book had gone deeper into these issues and talked about them more. To summarize all that I said above: Shine is a dramatic, boring, and cringy book. Sorry. I had high hopes for this book too. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel. Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with an eARC. All opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    10/10/19 Me finding out this book exists: Been a fan of Jessica's and SNSD's music for years! I CAN'T WAIT!! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website 10/10/19 Me finding out this book exists: Been a fan of Jessica's and SNSD's music for years! I CAN'T WAIT!! You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Such an entertaining, drama-filled book! I appreciate Jessica Jung for giving us an insider look into the K-pop industry. As a huge BlackPink stan – or at least a stan of their music and artistry – as well as someone who consumed K-Pop throughout middle and high school, I liked having the curtain pulled back to show some of the industry’s not-so-great and downright toxic elements. In Shine, Jung writes about Rachel, a Korean American teen who has trained at DB Entertainment for six years, waitin Such an entertaining, drama-filled book! I appreciate Jessica Jung for giving us an insider look into the K-pop industry. As a huge BlackPink stan – or at least a stan of their music and artistry – as well as someone who consumed K-Pop throughout middle and high school, I liked having the curtain pulled back to show some of the industry’s not-so-great and downright toxic elements. In Shine, Jung writes about Rachel, a Korean American teen who has trained at DB Entertainment for six years, waiting for her chance to debut. Rachel’s life heats up when she encounters Jason Lee, a K-pop star and DB’s golden boy. Rachel encounters drama with Jason, with her fellow trainees, with the public and with her company’s execs as she works her hardest so that she has a chance to debut and to shine. I most liked how Shine outright exposes and names several problematic parts of the K-Pop industry. Jung does an excellent job pointing out the sexism in the industry and how K-pop male idols are often glorified whereas female idols are mercilessly critiqued. These portions of the book reminded me of the toxic ways in which Sulli from f(x) was treated by netizens, as well as how companies such as YG treat female idols like 2NE1 (e.g., calling them ugly) as well as many other incidents in the industry. Jung also names the complete lack of control trainees and idols actually have in their lives, especially female trainees and idols. These portions of the book made me reflect on capitalism and the extent to which a company can “own” an individual, thus eliminating their free will all under the pretense of wanting the best for them. Despite these positive aspects of Shine, I wanted to feel more of a connection to Rachel, our protagonist. Her romance with Jason took up a lot of the plot, and I would have preferred to spend more of those pages learning about her internal motivations for pursuing K-pop as well as her internal reactions to all the toxicity she experienced. I also felt sad that her friendship with Akari got so sidelined in comparison to her relationship with Jason. Finally, while the book names and calls out sexism pretty well, it does portray some scenes with disordered eating behaviors and calorie counting in which I’m not sure those behaviors are explicitly called out. Furthermore, Jason is portrayed as especially attractive because he’s half Asian and half white, which I think is a function of white supremacy – that multiracial people who are half white in particular are more attractive or especially attractive compared to monoracial Asians or Asian Americans. Still, this book gives me a lot to chew on. The relationship between Mina and Rachel made me think a lot about Jimin from AOA bullying Mina for ten years. Like, K-pop idols are put in a competitive, cutthroat environment with each other for over half a decade and it feels odd to me to assume that somehow those who debut were magically best friends the whole time. Like, I’m not denying that there probably are genuine and loving friendships and community there, but hopefully companies are taking measures to promote that camaraderie. I further hope that somehow the public starts calling for more larger-sized, not-so-light-skinned idols. This book also made me think about the mental health of trainees and K-pop idols and how I hope the industry is taking efforts to promote mental wellbeing and giving their idols more agency. Mainly I hope Jisoo, Rosé, Jennie and Lisa are okay and thriving and not just putting up a happy front because YG tells them too! Stan their songs “As If It’s Your Last,” “How You Like That,” and “Lovesick Girls” (and also continue to think critically about the K-pop industry while you do so).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Monte Price

    We're going to pour one out for reading a book on the same day it was purchased. Like who is she? I don't know her. As for this book, I was pleasantly surprised at how it managed to pull me in, almost immediately. I really enjoyed reading from Rachel's perspective and following her on this journey. I think from her reactions to her dedication to her goal were all really relatable. Some of the best moments were definitely in the third act, particularly when her relationship with Mina is explored m We're going to pour one out for reading a book on the same day it was purchased. Like who is she? I don't know her. As for this book, I was pleasantly surprised at how it managed to pull me in, almost immediately. I really enjoyed reading from Rachel's perspective and following her on this journey. I think from her reactions to her dedication to her goal were all really relatable. Some of the best moments were definitely in the third act, particularly when her relationship with Mina is explored more and we get to see some of the more nuanced aspects to it. As for the romance between her and the love interest, I also really enjoyed it. I think that there was an element in the beginning that I wasn't quite here for and I couldn't quite put my finger on why it was, but I did like the arc that they had. Again, it was part of the story that was allowed to have a little more nuance and was a little more complicated and I really liked that exploration. Rachel and her sister Leah also just had a great relationship and Leah really made part of this book just so much more enjoyable to read. I'm always happy when there are great sibling dynamics in books even if they aren't the central focus and I think that's definitely the case here. As for cons, this book does that thing where we very clearly just jump through time slightly. I've never been fans of chapters or sections of text in general skipping forward like that, I often find it jarring and something that takes me out of the story. I can understand why it's sometimes necessary, and I'd say it probably is here, but it didn't always work for me. I also think that part of the time skipping resulted in aspects of the story very clearly being slightly underwritten or glossed over, sometimes even elements that I would have liked to see explored more. At the end of the day I would recommend this book to other readers, though I'd also say that there is a scene where the main character is drugged and a couple of scenes with some body shaming content / bordering on depictions of disordered eating so if those are going to be an issue to know that going in. I think of the few books I've read that center an aspect of K-Pop this book tackles some of the "darker" side of the industry more so than others while still finding a way to balance the lighter moments.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing a digital ARC of Shine in exchange for an honest review. So I'm not a Kpop fan (stan?). I firmly believe all YA book lovers are either into showtunes or Kpop and I fall firmly into the first catagory. Truthfully, I had no idea who Jessica Jung was until researching her and asking around after finishing Shine so this is my unbiased opinion as neither a fan of KPop, or this book's author. So I don't claim to know whether or not Jessica Jung wrote every Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing a digital ARC of Shine in exchange for an honest review. So I'm not a Kpop fan (stan?). I firmly believe all YA book lovers are either into showtunes or Kpop and I fall firmly into the first catagory. Truthfully, I had no idea who Jessica Jung was until researching her and asking around after finishing Shine so this is my unbiased opinion as neither a fan of KPop, or this book's author. So I don't claim to know whether or not Jessica Jung wrote every word of this herself or went the whole ghost-writer route, but if she did write this I'm not entirely convinced she's a human being. Celeb books tend to be a little off because if you dedicate your life to one difficult career it's near impossible to also be good at writing but Shine doesn't read at all like a debut. This book was fun, sweet, and way more than it had to be and I love it for that. What could have easily been a cutesy, basic romance (and I won't deny that this is, these are definitely some incredibly cheesy scenes) turned into a really interesting look into a toxic industry and the sexism hidden beneath it. Shine's a good read whether or not you like KPop and the weird amount of 1 star goodreads reviews it got upon announce will hopefully be counteracted by actual readers loving it when it's officially released.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    OMG IT IS A BOOK ABOUT K-POP I WANT IT I keep seeing people showing off shiny ARCs of this and I'm jellier than a jellied jelly on National Jell-O Day

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Shine is a Young Adult contemporary read. It was written by international K-pop star Jessica Jung. The narrator is 17 year old Rachel (1st person POV). Rachel is a K-pop trainee at DB Entertainment. She was born and raised in New York City. But now lives in Korea. I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about K-pop (which I know little about). I also really liked the cultural aspect. Rachel was American. But the story takes place in Korea. So there were a lot of challenges. I think tha Shine is a Young Adult contemporary read. It was written by international K-pop star Jessica Jung. The narrator is 17 year old Rachel (1st person POV). Rachel is a K-pop trainee at DB Entertainment. She was born and raised in New York City. But now lives in Korea. I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about K-pop (which I know little about). I also really liked the cultural aspect. Rachel was American. But the story takes place in Korea. So there were a lot of challenges. I think that my favorite part of the book was that the story was authentic. I like reading about topics that I know less about when the author has lived it. I liked everything about the lives of the girls trying to become stars. It was quite fascinating. I really enjoyed Rachel's mentor Yujin. And I liked the male super star Jason Lee. I thought that he added a lot to the story. There was some romance. And for the most part I really enjoyed it. However, I wanted more. Rachel has a little sister and I really loved all of the scenes that she was in. And Rachel had a nemesis who was also a K-pop trainee causing trouble throughout the book. It was a quick read. It was a cute YA story. And I really liked seeing a new interesting concept for a YA book. But the end made it 4 stars for me. I don't feel like the romance aspect was complete. There is a book two listed and I am curious to know if it will have the same characters. Or maybe it will be about someone else from this story that we already know? Maybe her sister? Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Get ready as Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of Korea’s most famous girl group, Girls Generation, takes us inside the twisted, technicolor world of K-pop. Get ready as Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of Korea’s most famous girl group, Girls Generation, takes us inside the twisted, technicolor world of K-pop.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    For me, SHINE's main strength was in its honesty about how gruelling the K-Pop industry is for trainees and idols, and how it laid bare the sexism and double standards rife within the industry. It's supported by Jung's experience of being a girl group member, and there are times where you can just tell she's written a scene and incorporated personal experience. Although admittedly it's a little cliched at some points in the narrative (especially around the romance), it is the fun kind of cliched For me, SHINE's main strength was in its honesty about how gruelling the K-Pop industry is for trainees and idols, and how it laid bare the sexism and double standards rife within the industry. It's supported by Jung's experience of being a girl group member, and there are times where you can just tell she's written a scene and incorporated personal experience. Although admittedly it's a little cliched at some points in the narrative (especially around the romance), it is the fun kind of cliched, and though some things seem way too extreme to be real, sometimes you never know. full rtc! ** Is there nothing Jessica Jung cannot do? What a talented goddess.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MoonstoneOwl

    Recently k-pop has been appearing in books and it makes me so happy, but I never imagined our ice princess, Jessica Jung, would become a YA author. Whaa.....is this real life? 😍😍😍😍 - Who better to dish on the k-pop industry than someone who has lived and breathed it as a top-tier k-pop artist, and a pioneering queen of the Hallyu wave. If there's an idol who has done it all and experienced the highest of highs in the industry, it's our girl Sica. (view spoiler)[ - According to a few articles I've Recently k-pop has been appearing in books and it makes me so happy, but I never imagined our ice princess, Jessica Jung, would become a YA author. Whaa.....is this real life? 😍😍😍😍 - Who better to dish on the k-pop industry than someone who has lived and breathed it as a top-tier k-pop artist, and a pioneering queen of the Hallyu wave. If there's an idol who has done it all and experienced the highest of highs in the industry, it's our girl Sica. (view spoiler)[ - According to a few articles I've seen, Jessica has a two-book deal (releasing in 2020 and 2021) and an upcoming movie based on the books. The creator of the To All the Boys I've Loved Before adaptation will be working on the movie. Like, is this even real? what is happening? omfg -So this book will be Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl and it's about KPop ....what does that combination mean? Will there be a lot of backstabbing involved? 😁 Sorry, I'm evil Ahh I'm so curious! Yeah! Sica needs to drop more clues than she did in the Sherlock MV because I need a cover; I need more info. We do get a generous synopsis though: "The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. Rachel and her fellow trainees face grueling practices, punishing expectations, and ruthless competition...." Oh shiii~ she's going there. She is not going to sugarcoat things and I'm here for it. "Jason is charming, sexy, and ridiculously talented—he’s exactly the kind of distraction Rachel can’t afford to have." Is he based on anyone? hmmmm~ **racks brain and makes complex connections** "DB Entertainment—one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels, known for churning out the industry’s most popular stars." Well hello there, SM 😏 -Although Shine is a work of fiction, Jessica will be drawing from her real-life experiences. Writing fiction will allow her to be more candid and discuss things in an ambiguous way. So I predict the tea will be overflowing and anyone who has ever wronged Sica should be running scared muwahahaha >:D -She is the queen of taking the high road though, so I doubt she'll reveal anything too personal which is fine. I think this will be a fun, cute af story that also gives us a fleshed-out look at an elusive industry that has been so very dear to me. I've been a Sone for ten freaking years, I practically grew up with this group and the idea of looking back at all of those memories from a member's perspective is just wild and means a lot to me. I'm also super hyped to see the portrayal of her group members and other celebs although, of course, the characters in her book will most likely only be loosely based on real people. -As an OT9 Sone, my heart broke when Jessica parted ways with SNSD and I'm just happy she is out here living her best life. Go Sical! - We have a whole year to wait for this book to come out... ;_; I hope we get a cover reveal soon. Is anyone else hyped for this? (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    *e-ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* Summary Rachel Kim is a trainee at DB Entertainment, one of South's Korea's top k-pop entertainment companies. Ever since she moved from American to Seoul at 11 to train, she has been working non-stop to debut. When she meets Jason Lee, DB's hottest kpop idol, she finally meets someone who understands her, and just what she'll do to shine. But the kpop world is notoriously strict, and Rachel has to decide between her heart and her *e-ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* Summary Rachel Kim is a trainee at DB Entertainment, one of South's Korea's top k-pop entertainment companies. Ever since she moved from American to Seoul at 11 to train, she has been working non-stop to debut. When she meets Jason Lee, DB's hottest kpop idol, she finally meets someone who understands her, and just what she'll do to shine. But the kpop world is notoriously strict, and Rachel has to decide between her heart and her career. Review I was so incredible excited to read this book and I was sorely let down. In the end, Rachel's character just fell really flat for me and that ruined the experience. As a fan of kpop, I know how brutal the industry can be. This book definitely read like a bit of a thinly veiled memoir. There is so much misogyny and sexism rampant in the industry, on top of the stifling and sometimes cruel training regiments that trainees go through. Shine took the time to explain what it was like to be a kpop trainee, and also what being a woman in the industry means. The treatment that Rachel got by the executives and staff compared to Jason was blatantly sexist, and there is definitely a huge double standard. This book also highlights the strict "no dating" policies that most companies have, and the pressure for female idols to be perfect at all times. It really is a tough industry and these aspects 100% deserve to be called out. What really disheartened me about the book was how catty all of the girls were towards each other. I have no doubt that this cattiness is based in reality, but it left me feeling really negative after I put down the book. I wasn't sure what sort of message I was supposed to get. Mina is Rachel's main adversary in the book, as they are in a trio with Jason Lee for their new song. They are constantly pit against one another, and just when I thought that their friendship was moving forward and they were developing an understanding of each other, Mina would do something catty and we would be back to square one. Rachel was always painted as the victim. I also hated how she ended things with her friend Akari, who she just let fall to the wayside. After I finished the book, the only thing I got out of it is that Rachel will do whatever it takes to get ahead and I feel like her character barely developed. The romance was cute, albeit a bit cheesy. Their relationship definitely highlighted how strict the no-dating rule can be for female idols and how controlling the companies can be of idol's personal lives. In addition, Jason was a bit oblivious of the constant double standards and sexism that Rachel faced. It was definitely an entertaining read! And it is well written. I'm not trying to say that every book has to be positive, but I feel like there has to be more character development and an emotional arc for me to connect to the story. To me this just felt like jabs at the other members of Girl's Generation and petty vengeance. *Sigh*

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    Shine is amazing. I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this, because again: usually, contemporaries don’t get me. But this was such a clever combination of excellently executed elements, I couldn’t help but be in love. Every character is complex. At first, I thought “oh no, there’s going to be some Mean Girls drama and I HAVE TO DEAL WITH A WANNABE REGINA GEORGE”. However, I quickly realized that it was I who was the fool, not the book*. Rachel, our main character, isn’t perfect. Jason, Shine is amazing. I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this, because again: usually, contemporaries don’t get me. But this was such a clever combination of excellently executed elements, I couldn’t help but be in love. Every character is complex. At first, I thought “oh no, there’s going to be some Mean Girls drama and I HAVE TO DEAL WITH A WANNABE REGINA GEORGE”. However, I quickly realized that it was I who was the fool, not the book*. Rachel, our main character, isn’t perfect. Jason, our love interest, isn’t perfect. Mina, our “mean girl”, isn’t perfect. And this makes every single one of the characters realistic. This didn’t feel like a overly saturated, dramatic novel. It felt so very candid. *clearly, i’ve been reading too much shakespeare because what the heck…? Okay, but also??? I LOVED the Kpop aspects??? And all the Korean culture??? Jung truly made the Kpop world come to life, showcasing its joys and struggles, the dreams and hopes and suffering of the trainees. She somehow managed to capture the sparkle of Kpop that everyone loves, while also contrasting that with the dark web of gossip, secrets, and cutthroat competition that exists in Kpop. Just as much as I found myself invested in Rachel’s story, I was also totally invested in this world. As if being entertaining wasn’t enough, I was genuinely surprised by many of the important issues brought up. Rachel and her fellow females in the Kpop world are not treated the same way as the males, who often don’t even realize their privilege. I also absolutely adored a particular discussion between Jason and Rachel, where they’re bonding over not fitting in. Rachel is fully Korean but grew up in NYC, and Jason is Korean-Canadian. Their struggles of being either biracial or simply not being seen as “fully one race” was so real and honest. I could relate to so much at times. ALSO THE ROMANCE. It wasn’t too much, which I appreciated??? It never took away from Rachel’s character but added another layer. It was woven into this book perfectly. It was sweet and romantic and thoughtful at times, but also heartbreakingly earnest at others. This is more than just a “Kpop novel”. This is a story of a girl trying to chase her dreams, and the corruptness around her. This is about finding yourself, about pushing through the hardest parts of your life, about shining no matter what or who tries to dim you. This is truly one of my favorite books of the year! ____________________________________________ me: don’t request anything else don’t request anything else... *sees this book and immediately requests it me, after getting accepted on NetGalley: well...this is what we call a happy accident :) THANK YOU SO MUCH SIMON AND SCHUSTER FOR THE ARC IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Spedden

    *I received a free advanced copy of this novel from Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* Shine was actually way better than I expected it to be. I did judge the book a little but thinking it was going to be something fluffy about the K-Pop world written by a K-Pop star but the book was way more than that. It didn’t show everything as bright and full of rainbows and happiness. Things are mean in that world and it just makes you wonder if this was what the author went thro *I received a free advanced copy of this novel from Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for an honest review* Shine was actually way better than I expected it to be. I did judge the book a little but thinking it was going to be something fluffy about the K-Pop world written by a K-Pop star but the book was way more than that. It didn’t show everything as bright and full of rainbows and happiness. Things are mean in that world and it just makes you wonder if this was what the author went through before she left her group and decided to do her own thing. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know what would happen to Rachel and everything that went along with it. The book was well written and you saw Rachel grow through everything. She was shy in the beginning and by the end she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her what to do and scare her. While the tag line makes it seem like the book will center on her story with Jason it’s really about her loving herself. Yes the story of their relationship does play a decent roll but in the end it’s part of her character building and doesn’t drive the plot with her being a love sick little teenager. Having a male star highlights how different the characters are treated and shows that the women will always be treated worse and held to different standards. It was very well written and a lot happens in it’s 352 pages but you don’t even realize how long the novel is because it’s so hard to put down. I would recommend it because of this fact and because it highlights a world that most people will never experience and doesn’t show it through rose colored glasses. That’s the best part of it all. All of it shows how things either really are (coming from someone that lived through it) or could be. I feel bad saying that I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was because I thought it was going to be about how awesome being in K-Pop is but it’s the opposite. It’s a woman telling her story of how hard life is for someone like her and you really feel for the characters and how easily the women are pushed around and over looked.

  17. 4 out of 5

    A Lib Tech Reads

    Shine Rating: 2.5/5 Note: Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing an e-copy for review. This was supposed to be a fun and easy read for me. I've dived into the world of K-pop and know a number of Girls' Generation music (who doesn't nowadays?), so when I heard Jessica Jung was writing a book, I was ecstatic, and much like everyone else, I was ready for all the tea that would undoubtedly spill. I ended up not enjoying Shine as much as I thought I would and here's why. Despite the plot promis Shine Rating: 2.5/5 Note: Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing an e-copy for review. This was supposed to be a fun and easy read for me. I've dived into the world of K-pop and know a number of Girls' Generation music (who doesn't nowadays?), so when I heard Jessica Jung was writing a book, I was ecstatic, and much like everyone else, I was ready for all the tea that would undoubtedly spill. I ended up not enjoying Shine as much as I thought I would and here's why. Despite the plot promising to be filled with exciting and scandalous events, not much really happens. Most of the scenes are spun into something that's supposed to convince readers it's important, but each of these events fell short and seemed more desperately dramatic; these were also scenes that made me cringe due to the melodrama. The plot moved forward quickly with simple and easy to understand vocabulary which was it's only saving grace since you could read a lot faster through it. I have to admit as well, the other thing that kept me reading was trying to decipher which scenes were made up and which were drawing from Jung's actual experience with the industry and her band-mates. All the characters had the same voice. If you took out the name of these characters and put out a sheet of dialogue between two of them in front of me, I wouldn't be able to tell who was who. Good writing should allow readers to identify the character speaking without the author telling you ____ said this and ____ said that. They all spoke in the same manner, cracked the same jokes, had the same snarky comeback, and this made it so tiresome to read. It bothered me so much that I gave up on reading who was in what scene because all the side characters were interchangeable. Even Rachel's many confrontations with Mina felt like she was talking to herself. There was nothing special or villainous about Mina other than her penchant for wanting to see Rachel fail. Here is where I need to get sidetracked to talk about what a failure Mina is as the "bad" character. She started off as a hilarious antagonist who is obviously and understandably shoved into the story to create the girl vs girl conflict, but she ended up being more of a yappy Pomeranian than a clever antagonist who has the ability to spin a web of lies to catch "perfect Princess Rachel." How are we as readers supposed to fear for Rachel and worry about her failing if everything Mina does is thwarted by Rachel's aptitude with excelling in comebacks and remaining nonchalant? I was rooting for Mina to change towards the end, and despite there being several chances for her to do so, she reverted back to the original version of herself from the beginning of the story. Shine, with all its faults, still entertained me. I thought Jung wrote excellent descriptions of Korean cuisine: "We dig in, pulling out boxes of steaming fried chicken and an array of banchan, including daikon kimchi and crisp salad smothered in what tastes like Big Mac sauce...I sit down and reach for a piece of yangnyeom chicken, the sweet and spicy sauce already sticking to my fingers, while Umma sets aside a few pieces of the green-onion chicken, Appa’s favorite." I also liked that the author threw in a veteran K-pop fall-from-fame storyline with Kang Jina as a warning about the sexism and inequality of the industry. This was the side-story that captivated me and what I wish Shine was truly about. The grueling misogyny still happens to this day no matter how unbothered the stars appear to be in interviews. I mean, come on, K-pop stars can't even walk through an airport without getting told by the public that they're wearing too little (Poor Hwasa from Mamamoo), or revealing too much skin in their performance outfit (Again, poor Hwasa); meanwhile, the male stars get to prance around and are revered when they intentionally rip off their shirt during a performance. These double standards along with the obvious sexism sometimes took the front seat of this book, and it was very interesting to read about through the eyes of someone who has experienced it firsthand despite this being fiction. Although I wish Shine mainly focused more on Kang Jina's character, readers are instead continuously bombarded with scenes about Rachel and Jason's blossoming romance. I was not invested in them as a couple. Their meet-cute was very K-drama, which I can appreciate, but everything else that followed made me roll my eyes or skim through. The main problem comes down to the fact that Jason didn't have a unique voice or personality. There were a few attempts to garner sympathy for him with his tragic past, but his character was flat and his dialogue sounded like Rachel and all the other characters in this story. What I enjoyed, however, was that his character slightly boosted Rachel's progression as a person. Only slightly. I still believe she's a one-dimensional character who is not given valid reasons to "shine." There was nothing special I could see about her, and instead, I felt bad for one of her friends who she abandoned and never checked in on (Akira). Much like the story itself, nothing feels all that satisfying: the blackmailing doesn't get resolved despite her father now working for the big bad evil Mr. Choo, we don't see what happens between her parents after her dad's big "secret" is revealed, Mina was the bitchy antagonist she was from the start, and Rachel's character doesn't learn much nor does she develop much other than realizing she doesn't need a man who can't see the double standards of the industry. I couldn't care for the filler scenes and felt that the book could have used more editing to take these out of the story entirely. Read this for the fun, bubble-gum pop descriptions, the amazing Korean food details, and Kang Jina's character. Skip most of the scenes with Mina and Jason, and have fun guessing which incident was a real thing that happened to Jung. Side note: I didn't realize there are some people who hate the front cover so much! I personally think it's cute af and is fitting to the story it's attempting to tell.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Juan

    Yes I will be reading this for the drama mind your own business

  19. 4 out of 5

    Molin

    First of all, Krystal Jung i love you so much you're my entire world and i knew how much you love your older sister. Alright lets talk about this book, the cover? Awful. Entire book? A massive big meh, BORING. This book screaming fan fiction so loud. Cringey, some sentences was cheesy and lame. A lot of unnecessary characters, made me as a reader feel so confused. Well maybe she wrote the number of the member nine as same as her former group but whats the point? Why put a lot of characters with First of all, Krystal Jung i love you so much you're my entire world and i knew how much you love your older sister. Alright lets talk about this book, the cover? Awful. Entire book? A massive big meh, BORING. This book screaming fan fiction so loud. Cringey, some sentences was cheesy and lame. A lot of unnecessary characters, made me as a reader feel so confused. Well maybe she wrote the number of the member nine as same as her former group but whats the point? Why put a lot of characters with a useless effort? This is not biography book so whats the point????? The romance? Insta-love. Rachel and Jason first meeting was UGH. "And that coffee is way too sweet. I’m saving you from getting diabetes.” SO LAME. Its 2020 and still use that formula? NO THANK YOU. Last thing, the worst part, this book will have a sequel. It will be much better if this book was a standalone imo.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    Before I start my review, I would first love to say THANK YOU to the publishing company, Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for providing me a copy of Shine by Jessica Jung! Shine is about a Korean-American teen girl named Rachel Kim. She is picked up by one of Korea’s most famous agencies hoping to debut. At the agency, she is to compete and work with nine other girls... I didn’t expect this book to be so addicting. I’ll admit when I requested this book, I did judge the book by it’s cover... Before I start my review, I would first love to say THANK YOU to the publishing company, Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for providing me a copy of Shine by Jessica Jung! Shine is about a Korean-American teen girl named Rachel Kim. She is picked up by one of Korea’s most famous agencies hoping to debut. At the agency, she is to compete and work with nine other girls... I didn’t expect this book to be so addicting. I’ll admit when I requested this book, I did judge the book by it’s cover... I was expecting a cute and fluffy romance read about the K-Pop world and boy was I wrong! I never expected this to be such a powerful and eye-opener read. This novel explores the brutal standards and toxicity of the K-pop industry. The idea of them “working hard” really takes on a whole new meaning. It was so brutal and the main character struggles through many hardships that the story felt soo authentic. While reading, I kept thinking to myself if this was real or not. I’d like to say right off the bat before continuing on, that I’m not a huge K-pop fan. I do listen to some BTS from time to time, but in regards to the industry and girl groups I have not much knowledge... I decided to research the author (Jessica Jung) halfway through my reading and imagine to my surprise when I realized that not only was this her first novel (congrats to her), but that she was an INTERNATIONAL K-POP STAR! I don’t know if this is based on her experience, but one can’t deny that readers can’t take this novel about brutal standards and toxicity of the K-pop industry to a light now. This novel was an entertaining one for sure. It was very well written. I loved the main character a lot. I loved seeing Rachel grow through her experience. I admire how she handled the competition and proved that passion and hard work is what will make you go far. She truly did “shine”...(I will leave now xD). Indeed, there were sooo many catty girls in the competition (I really wanted to slap them all). And it is saddening because all girls have the same passion, yet the K-Pop industry turns it around and promotes competitiveness instead...which brings out the worse in all of them. It is really a tough industry that is hidden to us all and I’m happy that these aspects were addressed. I love how we get to see Rachel’s love for her friends and family. Indeed, there are many that will bring you down, but there are those who will support you and one should cherish them closely. I really love the bond between Rachel and her sister. Their moments together made me laugh out loud. There is a cute romantic plot line in this, but really this was more about self-love which I enjoyed. Overall, this was a great read. I’m hoping there will be another book to this because I need more! (also I love the Canadian references!! Thank you so much!! This is much appreciated by me!-a fellow Canadian ;))

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Pearl

    man do I want to know the real "fictional" dirt on SM "DB Entertainment" woof. was this the worst book I read in 2020? Quite possibly. This was a bunch of melodramatics sprinkled with korean slang and korean branded products to make it seem authentic. There's no real insight to the kpop industry that a moderately interested person wouldn't already know. There's nothing that feels truly personal to Jessica. It's all so surface level. This is a slapped together cash grab and I hate to see it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Madison Dube

    Wow this book really surprised me! I honestly wasn't expecting to like it so much. I don't know much or even listen to K-Pop, but I found this book so entertaining. The drama, competitiveness, and the confidence kept me so engaged. I liked how it showed what I assumed how the industry is (not full of rainbows, love, and fluffiness). It makes me curious to know the author's experience. Plus, I really loved them coming to Toronto and a character being from Toronto. That doesn't happen much in book Wow this book really surprised me! I honestly wasn't expecting to like it so much. I don't know much or even listen to K-Pop, but I found this book so entertaining. The drama, competitiveness, and the confidence kept me so engaged. I liked how it showed what I assumed how the industry is (not full of rainbows, love, and fluffiness). It makes me curious to know the author's experience. Plus, I really loved them coming to Toronto and a character being from Toronto. That doesn't happen much in books, so I felt right at home in my neck of the woods for a few parts of the book. I am so ready for the second book! Thank you so much Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy!

  23. 5 out of 5

    amanda

    I’m a fan of K-Pop. Granted I’m not as big a fan as most of my friends are. My twitter timeline seems to be made up of 10% sports, 25% gamers, 25% demonry and, whatever else is left is K-Pop. I’m not good at math, okay? Don’t judge me. I know about Girls Generation. Back when life was normal and we were allowed to roam freely without fear of catching the plague I would walk and dance around the park to Gee and Run Devil Run. I’m not in the know for why Miss Jessica Jung left Girl’s Generation exact I’m a fan of K-Pop. Granted I’m not as big a fan as most of my friends are. My twitter timeline seems to be made up of 10% sports, 25% gamers, 25% demonry and, whatever else is left is K-Pop. I’m not good at math, okay? Don’t judge me. I know about Girls Generation. Back when life was normal and we were allowed to roam freely without fear of catching the plague I would walk and dance around the park to Gee and Run Devil Run. I’m not in the know for why Miss Jessica Jung left Girl’s Generation exactly. I know that she started a very successful clothing brand that clashed with her groups’ activities and was subsequently voted out. Buuut I don’t have all the tea, you know? All the good tea. I wasn’t looking at Shine for a messy tell all. I’m not sure if we should take it as such either. I see it as insight into the K-Pop industry which is notorious for how strenuous, toxic, and abusive the nature and the background of it is. It’s been in the spotlight most recently due to the tragic suicides of Choi Jin-ri, aka Sulli of f(x), Goo Hara of Kara, and Kim Jong-hyun of Shinee. May they all rest in peace and may we try to set a better precedent for them in the future. The industry is brutal. From training to debut to mainstream fame. Training to debut can last YEAARS and the thing is debuting isn’t concrete. It’s not certain. It’s even harder when you do break out as a group. Now you must maintain perfection. In Shine we are introduced to 17 year old Rachel Kim. Rachel wasa recruited by DB Entertainment 6 years ago. What’s DB Entertainment? Well – just one of the world’s largest K-Pop labels. Their rules are simple. Train 24/7, be perfect, no social media, and no dating. Rachel can do that…right? As the years tick by and she’s yet to debut she becomes less positive. The industry’s demons have more than exposed themselves to her and she’s not sure if she’s cut out for this. To make matters worse why now of all times did K-Pop heart throb Jason Lee have to show up just for her to grow a crush on him? Rachel has to figure out what exactly she wants and how badly she wants it because if not all of this could be for nothing. Worse. All of this could be for failure. I went into reading Shine expecting the average, feel good poppy chick-lit. I didn’t get that. I got something much darker than that. Right away we are introduced to Rachel who is doing idol training with a group of fellow trainees. It doesn’t go well. Rachel’s personality is basically dissected, eviscerated, served to us Hannibal Lecter style. And AFTERWARDS we find out that she is not well liked or like liked at all by the co-trainees as they mock her, look down at her for being Korean American and smirk at her “overbearing” mother who doesn’t let her live in the training house. Their behavior towards Rachel only gets worse and even more sadistic as the book goes on. These girls are warped. And they’re not the only ones. The executives and trainers are worse. They say it’s training but it’s definitely more like boot camp. The girls are weighed weekly, sometimes daily which of course forces them to starve, they wake freakishly early, there’s casual flippant talk of plastic surgery, one girl is forced to sing and is hit in the stomach while doing so. It’s a lot. It’s eye opening and I love the fact that Jessica Jung manages to write these hard truths while still maintaining an air of bubble gum lightness. Shine is bright and fun. When the characters perform you can hear the melody, see the glittering costumes and bright eyed smiles. We’ve all heard that song. We know the K-pop bops. There’s romance, of course there’s romance. And it’s cute and a smile played on my lips the entire time. It’s just too perfect. We’ve all been in that situation. Er – not with a super famous K-pop boy maybe. But texting someone we really like even though we know it’s a bad idea. Right? RIGHT? Although the book isn’t perfect and there are more than a few loose ends that need to be tied up (HELLO AKARI???) Shine surprises in subtle yet big ways. What I like most about the story is Rachel’s determination to not let anything or anybody stop her from her goal. Not the gremlin girls she trained with, not her mother’s lack of support, not a boy, not herself. She keeps it pushing even when she does need to stop and think of herself. That is a cautionary tale in itself. I look forward to seeing the upcoming movie and reading the sequel. Now you may all rec me some K-pop. Thanks very much to Netgalley and the Publisher for this copy of my ARC. All opinions are my own. 4.5/5

  24. 5 out of 5

    The Clever Reader

    First I want to start off by saying I know nothing about K-Pop. The cover and synopsis drew me into this one and I found to really enjoy it. The world of K-Pop is a competitive one and Rachel Kim is ready for it, or so she thought. After spending the past six years her dreams are finally in her grasp but the closer she gets to it the more she realizes how much control the K-Pop industry has over her. She deals with bullying by some of the other girls and even by society itself when she overhears First I want to start off by saying I know nothing about K-Pop. The cover and synopsis drew me into this one and I found to really enjoy it. The world of K-Pop is a competitive one and Rachel Kim is ready for it, or so she thought. After spending the past six years her dreams are finally in her grasp but the closer she gets to it the more she realizes how much control the K-Pop industry has over her. She deals with bullying by some of the other girls and even by society itself when she overhears a conversation from some girls that are sexist against her. The more she reveals about the negative affects of the K-Pop industry the more she starts to doubt she'll ever be good enough to survive. I really liked the relationships Rachel had with her younger sister and father. Her mother is tougher. She doesn't seem to support Rachel's dream as much as she'd like and doesn't understand why. This story is definitely one of self-discovery and learning to find your own path. Rachel has to navigate the competitive world of K-pop while making sure to maintain her personal life. She finds herself falling for the lead singer, and most popular, K-pop star but has been warned that in order to rise to the top she has to sacrifice ever being in a relationship. I thought this book gave some good insight into the high expectations of the dance world. It sheds light on how it can lead to eating disorders and bullying among those competing for the top spot. They have to be in perfect shape or they'll never be able to break out. I think these are important issues that should be addressed and I do feel like it could've dived deeper into those aspects but then it wouldn't have been as light a read as it turned out to be. I recommend this to anyone looking for a fun YA contemporary. I enjoyed the friendships and family dynamics around Rachel's life and the romance was adorable. I did feel there were some unanswered questions in the end but they weren't major enough to give it a lower than 4-star rating. Overall I enjoyed this one!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Mauna

    This book was a happy surprise for me. I knew very little of Jessica Jung when I first started listening to kpop, and I knew even less about her past history in the industry. I actually did some research before I began reading Shine and after reading I find it hard to not wonder if this was her own experience as a kpop trainee up until she left SM Entertainment. First off, Jessica Jung is a GREAT writer. It's always a hit or miss when it comes to celebrities writing books, but I have to say Jessi This book was a happy surprise for me. I knew very little of Jessica Jung when I first started listening to kpop, and I knew even less about her past history in the industry. I actually did some research before I began reading Shine and after reading I find it hard to not wonder if this was her own experience as a kpop trainee up until she left SM Entertainment. First off, Jessica Jung is a GREAT writer. It's always a hit or miss when it comes to celebrities writing books, but I have to say Jessica's writing was fabulous. She definitely doesn't hold back. She tackles a lot of the toxic aspects of the entertainment industry, kpop specifically for this book. There's the double standards, what kpop trainees must endure just to make their dreams come true, and she tackles the rumors of what companies ask of kpop trainees before they even make it to debut. I will say that if you're a kpop stan already, you'll either hate or love this book. If you're expecting a cute, sparkly kpop love story I have to say this is not it. Sure, there are a lot of cutesy parts to this story. And I absolutely loved the family dynamics in it, too.. BUT it really shades the entertainment industry in a light I'm not sure every kpop stan is ready to see (even if I personally think they should be aware of what kpop artists go through). Readers who aren't kpop stans.. Then I think they'll take this book for what it is. A fun story about a kpop star.. A story about a young girl who falls in love but is also working hard to chase after her dreams. I think these readers will easily enjoy Shine. Overall, I enjoyed Shine. I don't think I'd ever read it again but I will probably check out the next book because I want to see how it ends. If you're into kpop then I would say check it out and see if you like it. Again I think most people will either love it or hate it. It's hard to tell.. There are *a lot* of triggers, though. There's drinking, drugs, weight shaming, and talk of eating disorders just to name a few.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. The stylish and fabulous world of K-Pop is explore in Shine. 16 year old Rachel Kim has always embraced her Korean heritage, and adored K-Pop, so when she was discovered singing in a market at 11, and recruited to the exclusive DB Entertainment trainee programme, it was like a dream come true. However, it's not all glamour and fun. Life as a trainee is really difficult, with the rules about what you wear, wh I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. The stylish and fabulous world of K-Pop is explore in Shine. 16 year old Rachel Kim has always embraced her Korean heritage, and adored K-Pop, so when she was discovered singing in a market at 11, and recruited to the exclusive DB Entertainment trainee programme, it was like a dream come true. However, it's not all glamour and fun. Life as a trainee is really difficult, with the rules about what you wear, what you eat, and above all, you are never to date. Rachel struggles to balance her school life with her life as a trainee, and worries that because of her camera shyness, she might be cut from the programme. When she meets DB golden boy, Jason Lee, everything seems to fall into place. They have such a chemistry that is apparent when they sing together, and she offered the chance to debut alongside him, as well as fellow trainee, Choo Mina, who just happens to be Rachel's arch-nemesis. Will Rachel be able to keep her head, and not let Jason become a distraction that could kill her career before it even starts, and can she trust Mina not to stab her in the back when the time is right. I will admit, I know basically nothing about K-Pop. My timeline has a lot of people talking about different groups, so I have heard of some of them, but I've never really listened to any or got the hype. However, even as someone not a fan of K-Pop, I adored this book! Rachel was such a relatable character - not counting the whole fame aspect - and I loved her growth from where she was in the first chapter, to her position as this story ended. Her shyness, and somewhat, outsider syndrome was something that really affected her at first, but we saw her realise that she really needed to fight for her chance to be a star, and not to take what others did lying down, especially Mina. Another thing that was fantastic, was how the first and final chapters were neigh on identical, and we saw the plot go full circle. The romance between Jason and Rachel was cute, and swoony. I loved how both of them had a sense of shared history, spending the majority of their childhood in other countries (Canada and America), so were somewhat outsiders in Korea. I hated the angst that inevitably occurred, and really hope we see a lot more of this couple in book 2, Bright. I definitely can't wait for the sequel, and knowing it's more than a year away is heartbreaking! A fantastic debut, and I look forward to more from Jessica!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Gillespie

    ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was really excited to receive an e-arc to read and review. A kpop book written by an actual kpop idol, now I am not familiar with Girls Generation but that did not lessen my excitement. I am sad to say I was very disappointed in this book. Shine follows the story of Rachel Kim, she is a trainee at DB one of Korea’s top kpop companies. Rachel is from New York, so a lot of the other girls often call her “Princess Rachel” as her mother la ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was really excited to receive an e-arc to read and review. A kpop book written by an actual kpop idol, now I am not familiar with Girls Generation but that did not lessen my excitement. I am sad to say I was very disappointed in this book. Shine follows the story of Rachel Kim, she is a trainee at DB one of Korea’s top kpop companies. Rachel is from New York, so a lot of the other girls often call her “Princess Rachel” as her mother laid down some ground rules such as she lives at home and not at the trainee house. Rachel is incredibly talented and is working hard to be able to debut, then she meets Jason Lee, DB hottest male idol. Rachel must choose between her career in kpop or to follow her heart. As a huge fan of kpop I understand just how hard the industry can be especially for female idols. The strict rules about appearance, what they eat, who they can date or be friends with. The sexism in the industry was also talked about a lot through the book. How there are double standards for female and male idols. The things the boys can do in there everyday life is praised yet if s girl were to do it they are punished. I thought a book about a girl group would be about friendship but what I got was a lot of snarky dialogue, mean pranks and bullying. All the characters felt as if they had the same voice, none of them really stood out. Rachel being the MV did not have me rooting for her as she came across as any girl with talent. And Mina was just the Korean version of mean girls, even then get insults were repetitive. Other than Rachel’s father the adults in this book were all creeps and sexiest. The interactions with the executives had me angry and frustrated. The plot moves along quickly and the writing was well done. The romance was sweet, that was my favourite part of the book. Honestly the only reason I’m giving it a three instead of a two. I wish Rachel would have had more character development, maybe then I would have felt an emotional connection to the story. Overall, it was an easy and quick read and don’t take my review as a reason not to read it. These were just my thoughts and feelings.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Salisbury

    What an absolutely unputdownable read this was! With a sympathetic protagonist, swoon-worthy romance (or is it...?), twist after twist, and a rare look inside the K-pop industry that's as disturbing as it is compelling, "Shine" is easily one of my favorite YA releases of 2020. I've read dozens of books in quarantine but have devoured few so quickly or with as much enjoyment as I did "Shine." Its conversational writing style was definitely part of that (it actually reminds me a lot of my own writ What an absolutely unputdownable read this was! With a sympathetic protagonist, swoon-worthy romance (or is it...?), twist after twist, and a rare look inside the K-pop industry that's as disturbing as it is compelling, "Shine" is easily one of my favorite YA releases of 2020. I've read dozens of books in quarantine but have devoured few so quickly or with as much enjoyment as I did "Shine." Its conversational writing style was definitely part of that (it actually reminds me a lot of my own writing, weirdly), but it was really the drama, glamor, and constant suspense of the K-pop world that kept me turning the pages. Superbly enjoyable - can we PLEASE get a sequel?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ren (A Bookish Balance)

    4/5 stars ARC provided by Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada. Shine follows a seventeen-year-old k-pop trainee named Rachel Kim. Rachel's goal is to become a k-pop star, and a few years prior to the novel she and her family uproot their lives in the States and move to Korea in order for Rachel to pursue her dream. We follow Rachel on her journey towards debuting and the romance she develops with one of her agency's top stars, Jason Lee. Shine reminds me very much of a k-drama, with its likeable 4/5 stars ARC provided by Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada. Shine follows a seventeen-year-old k-pop trainee named Rachel Kim. Rachel's goal is to become a k-pop star, and a few years prior to the novel she and her family uproot their lives in the States and move to Korea in order for Rachel to pursue her dream. We follow Rachel on her journey towards debuting and the romance she develops with one of her agency's top stars, Jason Lee. Shine reminds me very much of a k-drama, with its likeable characters, and dramatic and entertaining plot. It's a very well paced story and the plot is compelling enough, and the stakes high enough, that I easily became invested in the novel. It provided a nice change of pace in terms of what I read, as I've never read a novel about a k-pop trainee experience before. While I'm not sure just how realistic the portrayal is, from what I’ve read and seen from interviews with former k-pop trainees, and given that this is written by a k-pop star, I’m more inclined to believe the industry is as ruthless, invasive, and restrictive as portrayed in the novel. This is Jung's debut novel, and while I can't say that the writing particularly stands out to me, it isn’t bad either. I found it read a bit young, but I think this properly reflects Rachel's age and naivety. Aside from the plot and pacing, I found one of the novel's strongest aspects to be the friendships and rivalries featured. Initially, I was pretty annoyed that one of the main conflicts Rachel has to deal with is girl hate, but given the situation Rachel is in, and the competitive nature of the industry, I was able to forgive the story for this, and I ultimately really enjoyed how the relationship between the two girls played out. There are no quick fixes here and it struck me as much more realistic than other mean girl portrayals I’ve seen in the past. I also think Rachel’s negative relationship with Mina was well balanced by her really sweet relationship with her younger sister and her friendships with her twin best friends. The one relationship I didn’t really like was Rachel’s relationship with her mother. I thought their conflict was resolved in a very unsatisfying manner and I wish it had been better developed. While I enjoyed the friendships and rivalries, I can't say I was as fond of the romantic developments. I personally did not feel Rachel and Jason had much chemistry, and this could be more personal preference than anything else, but I thought Jason's over-the-top romantic gestures were more cheesy than romantic. I definitely preferred the aspects of the novel that did not focus on the romance, but I also don't fault the novel too harshly for its romance as I did not feel the romance overtook the overall plot and I ultimately liked how the relationship between Rachel and Jason played out. I also appreciate that gender inequality in the k-pop industry was addressed and that Rachel really stood up for herself in this regard. I’m invested enough in Rachel to wonder what is next in regards to her relationship with Jason. As for Rachel’s character, she’s likeable enough, but I did have a few complaints. There were times when I found it hard to sympathize with her because of her hypocritical behaviour and Rachel’s stage-fright was also a relatively large hurdle in the beginning of the novel so I don’t like how that matter essentially got brushed under the rug later on. As for the ending, I really liked how the novel ended, it made me want to continue with the story without feeling like a cliffhanger. I'm hoping Rachel is a boss in the next novel, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. Blog | Instagram (main account) | Instagram (manga account) | Twitter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vilde

    2.5 Meh. Added 5. Oct. 2020. How to sum up Shine? It was in a way very reminiscence of Girl Online . Shine hits in the same way that Girl Online did: whilst Jung have been in the k-pop industry and can provide insights to it, Zoe Sugg is a blogger and provide an insight to that "industry". I will admit that I found Shine a bit more interesting compared with Girl Online, but in many ways quite predictable. It was just meh, and I will probably read the sequel as long as I don't have to pay for i 2.5 Meh. Added 5. Oct. 2020. How to sum up Shine? It was in a way very reminiscence of Girl Online . Shine hits in the same way that Girl Online did: whilst Jung have been in the k-pop industry and can provide insights to it, Zoe Sugg is a blogger and provide an insight to that "industry". I will admit that I found Shine a bit more interesting compared with Girl Online, but in many ways quite predictable. It was just meh, and I will probably read the sequel as long as I don't have to pay for it. Pre-read: Please don't be a shitty book, make it worth the time to read this.

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