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I Guess I Live Here Now

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A journey to the place where trends are born--Seoul, Korea--where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school...and maybe a new romance. Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she's shocked to discover th A journey to the place where trends are born--Seoul, Korea--where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school...and maybe a new romance. Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she's shocked to discover that her parents have decided to move her and her mom out of New York City to join her father in Seoul--immediately! Barely having the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before she's on a plane, Melody is resentful, angry, and homesick. But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxe home, meeting cool friends at school, and discovering the alluring aspects of living in Korea--trendsetting fashion, delectable food, her dad's black card, and a cute boy to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing...until cracks begin to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships, and a lost passion are the prices Melody has to pay for her new life, but is it worth it?


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A journey to the place where trends are born--Seoul, Korea--where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school...and maybe a new romance. Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she's shocked to discover th A journey to the place where trends are born--Seoul, Korea--where Melody Lee unwillingly moves with her family and must start a new life, a new school...and maybe a new romance. Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she's shocked to discover that her parents have decided to move her and her mom out of New York City to join her father in Seoul--immediately! Barely having the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before she's on a plane, Melody is resentful, angry, and homesick. But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxe home, meeting cool friends at school, and discovering the alluring aspects of living in Korea--trendsetting fashion, delectable food, her dad's black card, and a cute boy to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing...until cracks begin to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships, and a lost passion are the prices Melody has to pay for her new life, but is it worth it?

30 review for I Guess I Live Here Now

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    13.12.2021 i don't know why but contemporary books where protagonists move to a new place, start anew, and find new love just speak to me. 13.12.2021 i don't know why but contemporary books where protagonists move to a new place, start anew, and find new love just speak to me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Booktastically Amazing

    This book was all sorts of real and I'm still trying not to take it personally. This book was all sorts of real and I'm still trying not to take it personally.

  3. 5 out of 5

    cossette

    i guess this one just wasn't for me :/ 2.5, rounded up to a 3? ( also, am unrelated side note, but mamma mia closed on broadway in 2015.... ) i guess this one just wasn't for me :/ 2.5, rounded up to a 3? ( also, am unrelated side note, but mamma mia closed on broadway in 2015.... )

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    3.5 stars. There are definitely things I loved about this one (like the Seoul setting, which made me want to visit even more, and the mentions of different dishes, which just made me hungry), but the thing that really stands out to me is how I felt like I could relate to Melody’s internal struggles over her own identity after growing up in one place in one way for so long and then having that abruptly uprooted with the end result being she’s in a different place and operating with different dyna 3.5 stars. There are definitely things I loved about this one (like the Seoul setting, which made me want to visit even more, and the mentions of different dishes, which just made me hungry), but the thing that really stands out to me is how I felt like I could relate to Melody’s internal struggles over her own identity after growing up in one place in one way for so long and then having that abruptly uprooted with the end result being she’s in a different place and operating with different dynamics.

  5. 5 out of 5

    tellacnders

    if you ever wished a kdrama was reincarnated as a ya book, this is for you!! very cute and heartwarming and gaaahhh main character things much? adored the character development!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mariana ✨

    okay but this cover >>>>>>

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leni

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ — Thank you so! So! Much to PenguinTeen and Claire Ahn for this ARC in exchange for my honest review! It was a delight. — This book was so, immensely heartfelt. It had me crying at times and laughing at others. I loved the characters so much because they were just plain relatable. That’s probably one of my favorite parts of this book. My favorite part, by far, was the family aspect of the story. I know that was basically the whole point, but bare with me! Despite living with my dad for al ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ — Thank you so! So! Much to PenguinTeen and Claire Ahn for this ARC in exchange for my honest review! It was a delight. — This book was so, immensely heartfelt. It had me crying at times and laughing at others. I loved the characters so much because they were just plain relatable. That’s probably one of my favorite parts of this book. My favorite part, by far, was the family aspect of the story. I know that was basically the whole point, but bare with me! Despite living with my dad for almost 21 years, I sort of felt like Melody when it came to him. I love him, of course. He’s my dad. But our relationship has always felt strained. Because of that, seeing Melody getting closer to her dad and understanding him more hit me so, so hard. Those little gestures of affection and olive branches that struck her as odd or surprising were also too real. It was only until a few weeks ago that my dad put food on my plate for me without my asking, so I could eat more, which was a pretty big deal. So, seeing Melody and her dad get closer gave me hope. And reminded me that I should never take for granted the fact that mine is still around. Similarly, my relationship with my mother has always been the stronger of the two. She was always around, and still is. Because of that, we’re closer than I thought possible when I was a kid. All the heartfelt mother-daughter moments between Melody and Jieun just made me feel so happy and warm as well. Another reminder that I shouldn’t take my mother for granted, either. I don’t know what I would do without her and I should show her more often how much I appreciate her. I loved the romantic subplot as well! I kinda saw it coming, but it still made me so happy to see. Melody’s whole friend group is honestly goals. I love how, while they were side characters, they weren’t background characters, if that makes sense. They each had their own internal struggles and issues that existed outside of Melody and they went on even when we didn’t see them on the page. I really liked that, because it made them feel real. They weren’t just a set dressing to make the plot go further, the felt like real people. This book was so amazingly written, it’s hard to believe it’s Claire Ahn’s first book! It’s definitely cemented her as one of my favorite authors from here on out. This book was a wonderful read, and one I’ll carry with me for a while.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Larissa

    Please tell me there is going to be a sequel!? So, my first impression of this book wasn’t great. I felt like it started off kind of slow and I didn’t love the main character, Solmi. I thought that maybe I’ve finally outgrown YA contemporaries. However, do not be discouraged! I really grew to love Solmi as a character and the story picks up a lot. So, now that we have that out of the way, this story is more than just moving to a different country. It’s about healing parts of a broken family, lear Please tell me there is going to be a sequel!? So, my first impression of this book wasn’t great. I felt like it started off kind of slow and I didn’t love the main character, Solmi. I thought that maybe I’ve finally outgrown YA contemporaries. However, do not be discouraged! I really grew to love Solmi as a character and the story picks up a lot. So, now that we have that out of the way, this story is more than just moving to a different country. It’s about healing parts of a broken family, learning about where one comes from, and what makes a home, home. I think that Solmi is 100% relatable when she first moves to Korea. I mean, talk about devastating! She’s in the middle of her high school career and switches up countries, cultures, and languages. It’s a jarring experience. I thought that the author was great at keeping Solmi’s experience authentic. Next, I LOVED the descriptions of Korea and Korean food! I felt like I was transported there. The food had my mouth watering and the setting had my wanderlust kicking into gear. Korea has always been on my list of places to travel to, but it just jumped up a few spots! Lastly, the author doesn’t shy away from the complexities of learning one’s identity and complicated family history. I mean, what family doesn’t have a complicated history? I think that this book does such a great job of describing the struggle that kids/grandkids of immigrants feel. Sure, you have some customs and idea of your cultural background, but you still feel out of place in your family’s country of origin and in the country you were born in. I think this book will resonate with a lot of readers! Now, I just have to say that the book ended SO suddenly and I’m dying to know what happens next. Sure, a bunch of loose ends were tied up and it ended on a positive note, but surely the story doesn’t end there!? Thank you PenguinTeen and NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC! I highly enjoyed it and I think anybody who loves YA contemporaries will enjoy this one as well. If you’re a fan of I’ll Be the One (for the drama) or From Little Tokyo, With Love (for the descriptions that transport you to the place), then I highly suggest picking this one up.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elena L.

    [3.5/5 stars] Melody Lee is a sixteen-year-old Korean American girl who is suddenly forced to move to Korea (Seoul) with her mother to live with her father. Ahn captures well the diaspora experience through Melody's life: back to her motherland, her struggles to adapt to the new school and language, societal expectations and meet new friends, alongside the exploration of identity and belonging. Ahn shows the many facets of contemporary Korea - on one hand, there's wealth, performance, status; on t [3.5/5 stars] Melody Lee is a sixteen-year-old Korean American girl who is suddenly forced to move to Korea (Seoul) with her mother to live with her father. Ahn captures well the diaspora experience through Melody's life: back to her motherland, her struggles to adapt to the new school and language, societal expectations and meet new friends, alongside the exploration of identity and belonging. Ahn shows the many facets of contemporary Korea - on one hand, there's wealth, performance, status; on the other hand, you will be amazed by the historical areas, touristic sites, culture and activities. I felt like I was transported to Korea and reading this book increased my desire to visit it one day. Oh, I was hungry with all the food! You will empathize with Mel as the feeling of losing control over her life intensifies, especially being child of immigrants. With lots of joy while tackling on family (distant father,...), I thought that Ahn's approach on this subject matter was realistic and grounded. While I found the "parental expectations x chase your own dreams" cliche at times, I still enjoyed reading this story. Amongst the challenges, Melody is able to learn more about her family. My complaint is that I found the family’s secrets a bit underwhelming, plus the lack of depth/emotion made this book quite forgettable. Rebellious at times, tender at times, this book made me feel like a teenager (lol). Even though I wasn't completely blown away, I GUESS I LIVE HERE NOW was a fun read for those yearning for Korea. [ I received an ARC from the publisher - Penguin Teen - in exchange for an honest review ]

  10. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) more like a 4.5 I Guess I Live Here Now is a book that captured my entire heart. I instantly fell in love with Melody. The ways in which she feels dropped in Korea without knowing anyone and the reasons why. Her journey to figuring out the why of their return is compelling. It's a discovery not only born of secrets, but also in ambitions diverging. Everything is new for her. And wh (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) more like a 4.5 I Guess I Live Here Now is a book that captured my entire heart. I instantly fell in love with Melody. The ways in which she feels dropped in Korea without knowing anyone and the reasons why. Her journey to figuring out the why of their return is compelling. It's a discovery not only born of secrets, but also in ambitions diverging. Everything is new for her. And while her family has never truly supported her interior design dreams, the actual split between security and ambition is even more heightened. When she emerges in Korea, the life waiting for her is so drastically different than she could have imagined. It's one of wealth, social status, and performance. With the new addition of living with her father, the diaspora feelings, the ways she's grown up in the US, is even more pronounced. It makes her feel even more betrayed by her mother because of their close relationship without secrets. The ways it was just us against the world. Except her mother seems to have been hiding even more than she imagined. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karyl

    I’ve always been a little fascinated by Korea, starting when I met my middle school best friend when I lived in Nebraska. She’s half Korean, and would go back to visit her mother in Korea every summer. It’s from her that I learned to enjoy kimchee, and to cook bulgogi (and not to water fake plants, lol). Then when we moved back to northern Virginia, a lot of my classmates and my neighbors were from Korea, and occasionally I’d be invited to dinner at their homes, full of amazingly delicious dishe I’ve always been a little fascinated by Korea, starting when I met my middle school best friend when I lived in Nebraska. She’s half Korean, and would go back to visit her mother in Korea every summer. It’s from her that I learned to enjoy kimchee, and to cook bulgogi (and not to water fake plants, lol). Then when we moved back to northern Virginia, a lot of my classmates and my neighbors were from Korea, and occasionally I’d be invited to dinner at their homes, full of amazingly delicious dishes. Even now Korean food is one of my comfort foods, so when I learned about this book, featuring a young girl who’s uprooted by her mother and moved to Seoul to learn more about her Korean heritage, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, this book was a disappointment. I really wanted to love it because a book about a young kid being uprooted with no input and moved to an entirely new place is one I’m familiar with. My parents were in the Navy when I was a kid, and while we never moved to another country, we still switched states every few years. So I understood how difficult Melody had it when her mother moved her to Korea. However, Melody is patently unlikeable. She’s disrespectful to just about everyone in her life, especially her parents. I’m not a person that believes that parents deserve unconditional respect just for being your parents, but you should treat everyone in your life, whether they’re your elder or not, with common courtesy and respect — and Melody absolutely fails at that. She snaps at her parents constantly, she goes behind her mom’s back to meet with her aunt, and even goes into her mom’s phone to find her aunt’s number. I don’t even go into my kid’s phone without permission because I respect her. Melody also consistently tells her mother that she doesn’t have to be upfront and honest with her because her mother isn’t upfront and honest with Melody, which is not how it works. Life is not tit for tat, and there may be a good reason why parents wouldn’t reveal every last thought to their children at every moment. Melody is also really disrespectful to her best friend back in NYC and views that relationship very selfishly. The strange thing is various side characters will call Melody on her behavior, but she continues to act the same way. There were quite a few jarring errors in the text as well, which made me think that an editor should have given it a closer read before publication. There is one time where Melody skips school on a Friday but then goes back on Monday, but then she mentions that no one seems to notice she wasn’t in school “yesterday.” They’re all small errors in time line like that, but it’s still a bit jarring to read, and it took me out of the story every time it happened. It was hard for me to enjoy this book because Melody just acted like a terribly spoiled child, throwing a tantrum every time something didn’t go exactly her way. It was also odd to be beaten over the head with the wealth of her father and of all her school friends. OK, we get it, your dad and your friends are insanely wealthy and can afford to drop a couple of grand on a new dress. But at the same time, if Melody’s father is so wealthy and her parents are still married, why did Melody and her mother live such a frugal life in NYC? You’d think he would be supporting his wife and child in some manner. All in all, I felt this was a bit of a letdown, which is such a shame because I really wanted to love it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    S

    Fair warning: make sure to have your favorite Korean snacks or meal on hand before starting I GUESS I LOVE HERE NOW by debut author, Claire Ahn. And your favorite caffeinated beverage too. This book officially releases tomorrow, Tuesday May 24, 2022. How does time just slip away, I read this book back in February, and I'm only just getting to posting about it. Trying to decipher my notes and handwriting. Right before the start of her junior year of high school, Melody's parents decide that she and Fair warning: make sure to have your favorite Korean snacks or meal on hand before starting I GUESS I LOVE HERE NOW by debut author, Claire Ahn. And your favorite caffeinated beverage too. This book officially releases tomorrow, Tuesday May 24, 2022. How does time just slip away, I read this book back in February, and I'm only just getting to posting about it. Trying to decipher my notes and handwriting. Right before the start of her junior year of high school, Melody's parents decide that she and her mom will join her father in Seoul. Melody has a few days to pack up her life in NYC. While she finds herself angry at her parents, she soon finds friends at her new school, a few even live in the same complex. I really enjoyed this book, parts of it were a refreshing change. Especially as to how easily Melody was able to make friends, and never worried if she was Korean enough. It isn't just a book about coming of age in a new country, and the struggles one faces. There are various facets to the story. One of them is dealing with parents that are strict/ have high parental expectations. This is shown to us as something that is intergenerational - it's not just through Melody's relationship with her parents, but her dad's relationship with his parents, and her mom's relationship with her sister (and in turn their parents). It's the relationship some of her new friends have with their parents. This gives us little perspectives on how to deal with expectations, and heal. That while parents have this shared goal of making sure their children are successful, the motivation is very different. This is just a small part of the underlying story. Additionally, I loved learning about the hanoks, and visiting different districts through Melody's eyes, all in the name of research for a school project. The way that Koreans try to preserve buildings where they can. The information that is provided in the makes me wonder if it was just a lot of research that went into this, or if Ahn was previously involved in urban planning. Thank you @penguinteen for an eARC I'm exchange for a review. (I pre-ordered a copy before I was provided the eARC.) No café that I visit has a name as pun-ny as CappOH!ccino in but I think that Cafe LaTTea and Caffé:in come close. Content Notes: teenage alcohol use, family secrets, controlling parents, parental death (past, off page), queer character outed to parents.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jane (The Bookaholic)

    ⭐️ 4 Stars ⭐️ I enjoyed this book so much! I loved the setting, characters and plot, and I think it was a great coming of age story. Melody’s character was so mature but young and childish at the same time, and she just felt so real and genuine. This all book just felt real, all the struggles and the happy moments. The setting was amazing and this book just made me miss Korea so much. I think the descriptions were great, and I love how the interior design hobby of the main character was always di ⭐️ 4 Stars ⭐️ I enjoyed this book so much! I loved the setting, characters and plot, and I think it was a great coming of age story. Melody’s character was so mature but young and childish at the same time, and she just felt so real and genuine. This all book just felt real, all the struggles and the happy moments. The setting was amazing and this book just made me miss Korea so much. I think the descriptions were great, and I love how the interior design hobby of the main character was always displayed in the story. This story had a lot - family problems, identity, passion to pursue your dream, friends (new and old ones), first love. I listen to the audiobook and I think the narrate was great, also with the Korean pronunciation. This is a book I’d definitely recommend! I really wish there would be a sequel, because I’ll definitely check it out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy Broderick

    Claire Ahn’s debut novel was just the cutest book to pick up! I loved reading about how Melody rediscovered her identity (after moving suddenly to Seoul with her mom to live her dad), learned more about her family, talked about so much delicious food, and has amazing friends by her side ❤️ If you want to discover Seoul with Melody, please pick up this book and enjoy every minute of it! 🤗

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    A really great look at a contemporary Korean American family living separately. Melody's perfect life in NYC is upended when her mother announces out of the blue that they're moving back to Seoul to live with her father. Melody has culture shock as she has to adjust to a new school, new friends and a whole new country, not to mention getting to know the father she hasn't lived with for sixteen years. Perfect for fans of Loveboat Taipei or Anna K and good on audio. A really great look at a contemporary Korean American family living separately. Melody's perfect life in NYC is upended when her mother announces out of the blue that they're moving back to Seoul to live with her father. Melody has culture shock as she has to adjust to a new school, new friends and a whole new country, not to mention getting to know the father she hasn't lived with for sixteen years. Perfect for fans of Loveboat Taipei or Anna K and good on audio.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristin B

    10/10, would recommend as a travel guide to Seoul 🫰🏻

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kirstyn (readwithkirstyn)

    I Guess I Live Here Now had A LOT to bring to the table, but where Ahn truly shined was in the imagery and descriptions. I truly found myself transported to another land and felt like I was there for real. I fell in love with the world that Ahn built and for that reason alone I would recommend it to anyone seeking a getaway! This is also a wonderful description of what happens when someone must pick up everything and live in an entirely new world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Basma

    This was such a fun read! While it's a tad shaky in the beginning, this book quickly picks up with Melody moving to Korea! It's obviously a huge adjustment for her, and I do think she handled it well! A situation like that could've been very easy to write as childish or whiny, but Melody was justified in her emotions and I was right there with her. If it's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's a good friend group and this book DELIVERS. I loved every member of the character cast and the romance was s This was such a fun read! While it's a tad shaky in the beginning, this book quickly picks up with Melody moving to Korea! It's obviously a huge adjustment for her, and I do think she handled it well! A situation like that could've been very easy to write as childish or whiny, but Melody was justified in her emotions and I was right there with her. If it's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's a good friend group and this book DELIVERS. I loved every member of the character cast and the romance was so cute. My favorite thing was seeing how they supported each other through every up and down and it was very wholesome. Overall, this was such a heartwarming book and I highly recommend. I received an e-arc of this title from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    I tried so hard to enjoy this book but I simply couldn't. On the surface, it seems like a good premise. A teenage girl with dreams of becoming an interior designer is unceremoniously uprooted from her life in New York City and moved to her family home in Korea. Sounds interesting, right? That's why I'm so confused about how the author made this book so boring. Without the food and location descriptions, this book would have been 75 pages shorter. I'm not even kidding. Those things are great for cr I tried so hard to enjoy this book but I simply couldn't. On the surface, it seems like a good premise. A teenage girl with dreams of becoming an interior designer is unceremoniously uprooted from her life in New York City and moved to her family home in Korea. Sounds interesting, right? That's why I'm so confused about how the author made this book so boring. Without the food and location descriptions, this book would have been 75 pages shorter. I'm not even kidding. Those things are great for creating atmosphere, but they were over the top. I also didn't like the characters. The writing style was first person, but I still felt like I didn't really know the main character. I was told how she felt without seeing it in her mind. Also, the first-person point-of-view kept me from getting to know the other characters well and it was weird when she became super close friends so quickly with people she hardly knew. The plot was so low stakes that I wanted to quit reading multiple times. There simply wasn't anything going on. Also, Solmi's family moves her to Korea with little to no explanation, they keep things from her, they try to plan out her life without her consent, and they end up taking little to no responsibility for the emotional turmoil they cause her. It's just treated as "I'm just a teenager and I was wrong to disrespect my parents by asking questions." Like... WHAT?! If you're interested in a meandering, unfocused book with tons of food and location descriptions, give it a shot. Just don't expect anything earth-shattering. I don't usually give 1-star reviews to books unless the book is problematic, but I truly do not think this book is good and it was a waste of my time to read it. I was given an E-ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    kim baccellia

    Fresh, exciting story set in Seoul, Korea. All the glory of Korean culture, food, and the countryside is shown in great detail. You can't help but be swept away! Fresh, exciting story set in Seoul, Korea. All the glory of Korean culture, food, and the countryside is shown in great detail. You can't help but be swept away!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books)

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars Content warnings: internalized racism, homophobia Thanks to PenguinTeen for the free digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a really cute book. The writing could have been better and stronger but I loved the main character because not only was she able to be a teenager in terms of discovering more about herself and her identity but she was such a smart young woman too. While I would have liked to have seen Melody in New York more, I apprecia Actual rating: 3.5 stars Content warnings: internalized racism, homophobia Thanks to PenguinTeen for the free digital ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a really cute book. The writing could have been better and stronger but I loved the main character because not only was she able to be a teenager in terms of discovering more about herself and her identity but she was such a smart young woman too. While I would have liked to have seen Melody in New York more, I appreciate all of her interactions and feelings when and while she moved to Korea. I almost feel like...if I were to ever go to Korea (where my mom is from) I would feel many of the same things she did: discovering the food, the land, the culture, etc. It was so nice to follow Melody as she did these things. I understand, too, that there is a level of diaspora that I won't comprehend in the same way. The complicated relationship Melody had with her father was...interesting. I almost feel like an entire separate story could be written about her parents as well, considering their situation. I'm glad that the author didn't neglect how Melody's mother felt in the grand scheme of things or how difficult Melody's father was at times. The latter (and most of Melody's friends in Korea, to be honest) really falls into that traditional East Asian stereotype of the family business and how children will take over their parents' company when they get older. The pressure that Melody faces at school, too, from her father is kind of frustrating. He really expects her to be good at certain things (Honors Korean class for example) and doesn't seem to understand--or even want to understand--how difficult it is for her. But I could see her father slowly opening up and understanding Melody more, so I thought that was a good. It's really slow progress though. I enjoyed how Melody was able to find friends quickly and friends that she could depend on. The contrast between how rich they are compared to how Melody and her mom lived in Korea is really important to note as well, though I thought Melody seemed to adapt pretty well. I wasn't super convinced of the romance between Melody and one of the male characters but it was kind of cute. As I stated earlier I didn't find the writing super strong. It reads as a younger YA book, but I don't mean that in a bad way. For me personally I struggle with contemporary YA books sometimes because it's the writing that is either a hit or miss for me. I think the writing has been stronger than this would have received a solid four stars. It's definitely not a bad book, and I look forward to what else Ahn will write as I hope her writing will mature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    3.5/5 stars Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book! “I smile when he says my Korean name. The name I always heard spoken in a tone of disappointment now sounds more comfortable to me. It finally feels like my name.” This novel felt like a cute teen k-drama! I am a huge fan of k-dramas and this book gave me all the butterflies that I get when I watch a k-drama! I really enjoyed the story and the romance within the novel. Wonjae and Melody were absolutely adorable and I was exc 3.5/5 stars Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book! “I smile when he says my Korean name. The name I always heard spoken in a tone of disappointment now sounds more comfortable to me. It finally feels like my name.” This novel felt like a cute teen k-drama! I am a huge fan of k-dramas and this book gave me all the butterflies that I get when I watch a k-drama! I really enjoyed the story and the romance within the novel. Wonjae and Melody were absolutely adorable and I was excited for them every step of the way! I also really enjoyed learning about Korean culture and seeing Melody reconcile with the culture of her homeland. It really touches my heart to see read a story about a first-gen kid learning to love and appreciate their culture, as it was an experience that I went through. All in all, this was just such an easy book to read! Some things I didn't love include the main character, Melody, at times, because she came off as a bit annoying. I did however like the fact that she was called out for it, so it seemed like the author was aware of how her character was acting. I also felt like the writing style was giving 2012 if that makes sense, and it could have been improved. Overall, a really cute book that I definitely recommend if you need to get out of a reading slump!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    I'm very much a fan of books where the protagonist moves—preferably across at least one ocean. And here we have just that: Melody has grown up in New York, but following some very minor drama, she and her mother pack up to move to Seoul, where her father already lives. Seoul comes as a surprise: in New York, she and her mother share a cramped apartment, and Melody is careful not to buy fancy coffee too often. In Seoul with her father, they live in a luxury high-rise apartment and Melody is given I'm very much a fan of books where the protagonist moves—preferably across at least one ocean. And here we have just that: Melody has grown up in New York, but following some very minor drama, she and her mother pack up to move to Seoul, where her father already lives. Seoul comes as a surprise: in New York, she and her mother share a cramped apartment, and Melody is careful not to buy fancy coffee too often. In Seoul with her father, they live in a luxury high-rise apartment and Melody is given a limitless credit card and told not to go tooooo wild with it. Suddenly she's in private school, taking Honors Korean (despite her markedly less-than-fluent proficiency) and hanging with teenagers who think nothing of dropping the equivalent of hundreds of dollars on an afternoon snack. It's a lot of fun, but I'm still looking forward to more off-to-another-country books (especially non-Western countries) that don't have quite this wish-fulfillment feel. That is...most people who change countries get a visa in a passport, not a Visa without a limit, you know? I'd love to see more of a middle-class experience where less of the focus is on glitz and glamour and $1,700 shopping sprees and where the 'poor' kids in school don't still live in luxury towers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I was intrigued and annoyed by the main character, which speaks to how well the writer wrote the protagonist because teenagers can drive you nuts. A wonderful read, although it sort of wrapped up a bit too nicely. Still, I appreciated the immigrant experience. Reminded me of when I was a teenager and didn’t think much about my own culture nor appreciated where I came from until I was older. Can’t wait to see what this writer comes up with next.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sai at theengineerisreading

    I thought I'm moving out of my YA era but this book reminded me why I enjoy reading YA books. Imo, the likeability of YA coming-of-age novels is anchored on the character development of the protagonist. At first, I'm feeling lukewarm towards Melody, the MC, because she is very opinionated and stubborn but this personality is definitely me during high school. I didn't expect to see myself in this novel since this book surrounds a story of a Korean-American struggling to fit in two worlds while also I thought I'm moving out of my YA era but this book reminded me why I enjoy reading YA books. Imo, the likeability of YA coming-of-age novels is anchored on the character development of the protagonist. At first, I'm feeling lukewarm towards Melody, the MC, because she is very opinionated and stubborn but this personality is definitely me during high school. I didn't expect to see myself in this novel since this book surrounds a story of a Korean-American struggling to fit in two worlds while also exploring more about her family but the MC's straightforward and 'never-say-die' mantra resonated with me. This book shone by presenting a complicated family dynamics shrouded by secrets and years of separation. I'll admit that it was hard to take it all in the first half but the revelation was worth it. The romance development was okay but I think I didn't enjoy it much because I was more focused on Melody/Solmi's relationship with her parents. It was a good addition and Wonjae is the definition of a good boy. K-drama vibes, family secrets and drama, teenage angst, unexpected romance, and following your dreams - these are some of the things included in this book. I definitely recommend if you're looking for a YA coming-of-age story that will transport you to the in and out of South Korea with extra sprinkles of K-drama goodness. RATING: 4stars

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trinity

    I've read a few books in this past month that take place in Seoul, they were great books don't get me wrong but this book transported me. Claire Ahn describes Seoul so beautifully I imagined myself hanging out in the numerous cafes where Melody and her friends hung out. AND THE FOOD!! I've never read a book that describes so many different dishes from street food, cafe sweets, home-cooked meals, upscale restaurants, and convenience store insta noodles. Definitely had to snack while reading this, I've read a few books in this past month that take place in Seoul, they were great books don't get me wrong but this book transported me. Claire Ahn describes Seoul so beautifully I imagined myself hanging out in the numerous cafes where Melody and her friends hung out. AND THE FOOD!! I've never read a book that describes so many different dishes from street food, cafe sweets, home-cooked meals, upscale restaurants, and convenience store insta noodles. Definitely had to snack while reading this, I got so hungry 🤤Mostly for some instant ramen.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ruei (Ruei's Reading Corner)

    The cover!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So, I’m done with this book and there are many elements that frustrate me. For example, her teacher just told her: “Fifteen percent of your grade is a D. I rarely call in students because you are treated like responsible young adults at SIA. I am not here to hold your hand as you learn a language you should already know.” —Claire Ahn I think her teachers broad assessment of Melody’s fluency with Korean is not fair or What an actual teacher would say to a student. Teachers have access to school fi So, I’m done with this book and there are many elements that frustrate me. For example, her teacher just told her: “Fifteen percent of your grade is a D. I rarely call in students because you are treated like responsible young adults at SIA. I am not here to hold your hand as you learn a language you should already know.” —Claire Ahn I think her teachers broad assessment of Melody’s fluency with Korean is not fair or What an actual teacher would say to a student. Teachers have access to school files to understand the knowledge and ability of a student. Also, the teacher should have noticed her skill level and recommended she be moved to a different class. Also, considering how quickly her parents made the decision to have Melody move to a completely different country that she’d barely been to— esp. when the story established that her Korean is elementary level, and her parents, or at least her mom didn’t enforce Korean lessons or speaking it at home too often—, it’s just very implausible and not believable for the storyline. But, it also brings up notions of cultural identity, and how Melody insists on being called by her American name versus her Korean birth name at first, and the fact that Korean as her first language was not really preserved/ or something she had to learn while living in the USA. If either of her parents ever thought they would be moving back to S. Korea or that the mom and Solmi/Melody would visit the dad more, I feel like they would’ve made sure she was fluent. Her dad was also referring to Solmi as Korean Vs how she saw herself as American. And it was like, from a reader/Melody’s perspective—of course she’s going to see herself as Korean American versus as a citizen of S. Korea—at that moment in the book. This whole topic opened up my eyes on how ethnic and racial identity is viewed from an individual’s perspective and an outsider’s view (me as reader). Melody is both Korean and Korean American, and at first I only thought about her national identity Vs ethnic identity and the direct connection she can and gets to have to South Korea. Did her parents go about moving her to a completely different country in the right way? Definitely no—but she gains so much more experience, exposure to her Korean culture, and worldly comprehension. Another thing— in the beginning, Her dad is asking too much of her—especially with Melody being only 16. She’s a mini adult—in this limbo of adolescence, but also developing adult sensibilities—the pressure being put on her is heavy and his manner doesn’t work. I’m sure it has to do with how the dad was raised and the more patriarchal traditions/expectations in South Korea. But I also feel like there has been enough progress socially that her dad’s behavior could be explained as more guarded/feeling awkward so he is taking a way more authoritative approach b/c there relationship foundation is basically non-existent. I am just immensely frustrated with him . I can’t speak to the cultural parenting styles since I’m super Caucasian and won’t speak to a cultural and social experience I’ve never had.— I just want to acknowledge from the perspective of the dad as a stranger in her life, the expectation for her to be automatically be a non-questioning, obedient child is absurd. He barely knows Melody and is aware that their relationship is very lacking—so he’s asking a lot of her. But so far all he does is alienate her, and honestly set her up with some of the worst guys. So, while I like the main character and have enjoyed the writing, there are quite a few elements of this book that make me extremely frustrated and I usually end up having to put the book down because I get really upset by some of the dynamics between the parent/child relationships—it’s toxic—it does read a bit like a k-drama but the kind I find hard to believe. One of the other weak points of this book, was the development of family dynamic. I think better effort could’ve been made with how the relationships with her mom and dad ebbed and flowed. I think the non-explanation solmi received for why they suddenly moved to South Korea was really weak and not well developed enough. Plus the relationship between her mom and her mom‘s sister got better explained as the book went on, but some thing just seem to be lacking still. There wasn’t enough foreshadowing about the Aunt in the beginning of the book, I think and I already established my thoughts about the father daughter connection. Overall, I would probably give this book 4.5 stars, because it made me think a whole lot about so many different perspectives, development of relationships, and the value and meaning of culture.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I GUESS I LIVE HERE NOW was the perfect book to read between heavier books and a book that made me miss Korea more than ever. Additionally, I moved to Korea (from the U.S. when I was 12. While I looked at the part, Korea was a place so foreign and different. So, I could relate to Solmi’s struggles as she adapted to a new environment and a new language and questioned where to call home. While my siblings and I had our fair share of struggles, we agree that moving to Korea was a huge blessing sinc I GUESS I LIVE HERE NOW was the perfect book to read between heavier books and a book that made me miss Korea more than ever. Additionally, I moved to Korea (from the U.S. when I was 12. While I looked at the part, Korea was a place so foreign and different. So, I could relate to Solmi’s struggles as she adapted to a new environment and a new language and questioned where to call home. While my siblings and I had our fair share of struggles, we agree that moving to Korea was a huge blessing since it allowed us to connect with our roots, learn the language and culture, and develop a close relationship with our grandparents.  I liked reading about Solmi’s journey as she slowly adapts to her new environment and Korean food, especially the street foods mentioned. Solmi’s struggles with her identity and wanting to belong resonated with me. However, I found the book overall to be underwhelming. While I loved the coming of age story Solmi’s, several subplots are looming in the background (romance, family mysteries) that are merely glossed over. I don’t think the stories came together nicely and gave the book an overall disjointed feel. Additionally, why did the setting have to be in Hannam dong/ Hannam Tower (the most expensive city in Korea) mention black cards (only the richest of the rich have access to this Hyundai card)? The mentioning of wealth served absolutely zero purpose in the book. It’s almost as if it’s kind of a clickbait since younger readers like to read about the rich and famous. Also, I had to remind myself countless times that the book was told from a foreign/American gaze. Were some things explained too much? I’m not sure.  When we finally found out about Solmi’s family’s secrets, I was disappointed. There’s a lot of build-up around Solmi’s family and their secrets, but not only did I find it predictable, the story also lacked emotion and depth. While the book left me wanting more, it was a fast read about my favorite country in the world (I’m biased). I appreciated that the book allowed me the chance to “visit” Korea again and made me drive to Korea town to pick up Korean food soon! I can’t wait to visit Korea soon

  30. 5 out of 5

    Helene

    All these parents puppeteering our futures. For what reason? Because they so firmly believe they know what’s best for us? Or because they care so much about their own reputations that they’re willing to prioritize them over their children’s happiness? This was an interesting contemporary rom-com. The mood changed from cute friendship outings to family secrets quickly and often and maybe that's what made it interesting? Melody moves to Seoul extremely suddenly and ends up with her rich dad, Korean All these parents puppeteering our futures. For what reason? Because they so firmly believe they know what’s best for us? Or because they care so much about their own reputations that they’re willing to prioritize them over their children’s happiness? This was an interesting contemporary rom-com. The mood changed from cute friendship outings to family secrets quickly and often and maybe that's what made it interesting? Melody moves to Seoul extremely suddenly and ends up with her rich dad, Korean family expectations, her mom's secrets and rich friends with similar problems. Kimbeom is gay and has a boyfriend but is sent on dates with rich girls. Yura has quietly accepted her future as heiress and tries to see the good sides of her parents' choices. Spending their parent’s money excessively is the only thing they can control and they do so happily. The little friend group enjoys all the fun things money can buy in Seoul. I mostly felt bad for these kids, especially since the parents were very unsympathetic at times. Melody's story ended with her parents understanding and loving her, but I felt like the ending was a little too perfect, especially compared to her friends'. I received an ARC and this review is based on the unedited proof.

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