18484807

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

published on June 9th 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin
young adult | contemporary | romance

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Goodreads

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

*I received a digital review copy for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an advanced copy for review.

Review

Fair warning: The word “fuck” and other variations will be used constantly in this review. It’s necessary, thank you.

I have never, in my entire reading career (humor me, okay?), wanted to reach into a book to strangle a main character as much as I wanted to with this one. Considering my angry girl personality, that’s really saying something.

Grace stood out. In the worst fucking way possible. 

So for example, you want to leave your country to attend school elsewhere. Obviously, if you’re a normal person, you’d do lots of research before heading there, right? Well, HA. Grace isn’t normal. She decides to fly to a boarding school in Korea because it’s the first result that popped up in a Google search.

Grace is basically a walking disaster. I’m not even exaggerating anymore. She’s:

a.) A fucking hypocrite. If there’s anything I hate more than a weak heroine, it’s a hypocrite. I’ve had my fair share of dealing with these people in real life, so I don’t want to read about it in books any more, thanks.

b.) A fucking elitist. Okay, so I’m an Asian, and the way Grace looked down on Koreans was really idiotic, childish and unfair. She knew NOTHING about Korea or its culture, and therefore shouldn’t be prancing around judging them for every little thing. (Khanh talks more about this aspect in her review.)

c.) A fucking rude snob. I guess she never learned the terms respect and manners back when she was a kid. Also, apparently Koreans don’t listen to “normal” music. *snorts*

Now that I finally got that off my chest, let’s talk about something else. Ah, the romance. This was another huge disappointment, mind you. I did not get the appeal of Jason AT ALL. Both he and Grace were incredibly hot-and-cold towards each other and they made me want to rip my hair off in frustration! There was ZERO chemistry between them. Plus there’s an incredibly unnecessary (a minor one, but unnecessary nonetheless) love triangle… Ick.

None of the characters appealed to me. They were all annoying as fuck, really. You know those extremely preppy and bouncy characters who seem fake? Yeah, we have one of those characters here. Also the “quiet guy” and the guy who listens but is never given a chance by the heroine… Stereotypes. Annoying stereotypes.

Also, if you’re going into this book looking to learn more about Korea or K-Pop… Move along elsewhere, because this book will not tell you anything you didn’t already know. Neither of the two was explored with any sort of depth and was sort of just there for the sake of it.

In fact, if it wasn’t explicitly stated that this book was taking place in Korea, you can pretty much put any country in the “____ Boarding School” title.

And did this book even have ANY K-Pop? Sure, the boys were part of a K-Pop band, but were they ever singing or composing songs with Korean lyrics? Hell no. I forgot that this book was supposed to even have K-Pop in it.

If you’re looking for something diverse, this isn’t it. Grace is in Korea, but she basically only talks to people who speak English. She complains constantly about no one wanting to talk to her, but she doesn’t even bother approaching them, basically turning this book into your typical YA contemporary drama.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking to get immersed in the Korean culture, or someone who’s interested in a heroine’s journey to discover Korean music and romance. Although if you’re a brave soul and feel like this book might be for you… Be my guest.

Skulls 1

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About Aimee
Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblrall of Aimee’s posts →
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60 thoughts on “Review: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

  1. GODS yes. I’m totally with you on this. As an Asian living in Asia, this book was a total mess. I felt so angry with the main character I just nearly didn’t finish reading the book (but of course, me never DNF-ing books, I had to). GRRRR. I finished this one a while back and all the emotions are coming up again. Great review–and I SO agree with you: fuck and it’s variations? NECESSARY.

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  2. Oh no. I was actually looking forward to read this one! I was pretty excited to hear about a book set in Korea, as I’ve always yearned to read a story set in an Asian country, but looks like I’d better stay away from this book. I hate stereotypes, and I hate hypocrites and none of the characters seem likable.
    Thanks for the warning Aimee, and great review girl!
    I hope your next read is better hun:)

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  3. I am so glad that I won’t be reading this book. After all the horrible things I’ve seen about how rude the MC is (especially on your GR statuses), I don’t think I’d be able to tolerate it. I won’t stand behind a book in which the main character is that horrible of a person. I just find it disgusting how the main character can be so clueless about pretty much everything and then be so ignorant to the culture she’s visiting. Nope… this one is not for me.

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      1. I’ve had statuses like that too. But I definitely think you’re right – it’s the book. So many other people are complaining about the same issues, and when I see that, I know there’s a problem.

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  4. As both Asian and an occasional K-pop enthusiast I’m greatly disappointed with this novel. You don’t go to another country and look down their culture. She didn’t even try to compromise, much less appreciate it. Such an elitist!

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  5. I have to say I am so disappointed to hear so many bad thigs about this one. I was really looking forward to it. But I don’t think it is worth the chance especially when there are so many other great books out there. Thanks for the honest review!!

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  6. OH MY GOD! Where was your review BEFORE I started reading this thing???! I’m latin but girl, I feel completely offended with this book. The worst part is that is very obvious at least two companion novels. I hope the author learn something from this debut.
    thanks, your review was amazing!

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    1. I sure hope those companion novels don’t become a thing. ._. The author seems so sweet though, which is why disliking this book makes me sad.
      Thanks so much, Ella!

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  7. This book had so much potential. It could’ve portrayed Korean Culture in a true and accurate way. I was really excited for this but when the reviews started to come in, I was like no. I had so much hope for this but maybe next time.

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  8. Yasss, I was waiting for your review and it’s on-point! I am huge EXO trash when it comes to Kpop and seeing Grace complain about the lack of English words (It’s KOREAN pop goddammit), the “bubbly” mainstream sounds (yeah, like American pop songs are the most UNIQUE songs ever), and that they actually used instruments (well, no shit, you don’t make pop music with a banjo so how is it any different here???) really pissed me off. And I didn’t even read the book. I just read passages from people’s reviews and I was so so disgusted. You made the mistake of not having enough Kpop in the first place but then the little Kpop that you do mention is degraded or seen through Western Ethnocentrism goggles? I. am. so. angry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RIGHT?! Holy crap, that scene where Jason brought out a guitar and she was like, “You use those here??” (I can’t remember the exact words), I just wanted to punch that bitch in the face!
      YEP, BASICALLY. :/

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  9. I have seen reviews that are never much better than lukewarm, and others that have little to nothing to say good about the book. I appreciate your honesty. There is no way that I could get over the character flaws. While there are other things that I would consider important in making a book appeal to me, character flaws are the number one thing that lead me to DNF. I was hoping for Hello I Love You to be a better read. The setting and the diversity that was promised is what we need more of, but we don’t need more of any of what it turned out to be. Thanks for your honest review.

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    1. I agree, Suzi! Other aspects of a book are very important, but if I can’t click with the main character, then I’ll most likely hate the entire book. :(

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  10. LOL I don’t think I’ve seen a single positive review for this book here. The main character already pisses me off and I haven’t even read it! Plus it sounds like she’s almost racist which is not cool at all. KPop is awesome.

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    1. I’ve seen a few actually (mostly 3-star ones though). xD That’s what I felt when I saw the early reviews coming in too! It borders on racism, I’d say. Not quite there yet, but close. :( I’m more of a JPop girl myself, but Asian Pop in general is fab. ;)

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  11. This review is (for lack of better words) on point. Though, I didn’t mind Jason that much (even though, yes, his character was pretty inconsistent and sometimes acted like a wall). However that could be because I wanted to find one good thing about this book, character-wise, and the fact that he is a “K-pop idol”-ish made me like him, lol. And I can’t even rant enough about how much I despise Grace. It really bothered me that she didn’t even (really) play an instrument but was praised several times for being a phenomenal producer… So confused with that (and the whole book really).

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    1. I KNOW. Although I guess it’s similar to us reviewers–we don’t write books but we have a keen eye for them, I guess. It still pissed me off how she made it sound like she could do everything better herself, though. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow this sounds like a total car crash. I think I would totally rage quit this! Such a shame because if it had been executed right it sounds like it could have been really awesome!

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  13. no i am so sad to hear this aimee! i was so looking forward to this book because of the k-pop element, it sounded like a ya book that was unique and truly original so i’m so sorry it let you down. i haven’t heard many great things about this unfortunately, none of the things you’ve mentioned sound like great things so this will probably be a pass for me but great review! you made me laugh

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    1. It sounded original–the premise was–but ultimately the book skipped out on all the things that could’ve made it one-of-a-kind. :( Thanks, Annie! Glad to hear that. ;D

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  14. NOOO! (I literally had to write that three times before I vanquished the auto correct.) I read two similarly negative reviews of this yesterday, and now this- it makes me sure this is definitely the book I am searching for (my Jedi powers tell me these things). I love books set in countries different to my own, or different to the normal, and learning about new cultures is something I search for in those books, but this… well if I went into reading if without knowing that it’s not accurate, I’d be pretty upset because there are elements I wonder if I’d take for truth when they’re not. This is the frightening side of the power of books. Sorry this was such a fail. xx

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    1. Begone, autocorrect! *stabs*
      I know nothing about Korea so I can’t say if anything here’s accurate, but I read a review (I think Nara @ Looking for the Panacea’s) mentioning all the inaccuracies… D:

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  15. From what I’ve heard this story is clear white elitism and cultural appropriation. The main character is definitely the type i’d like to strangle (totally don’t blame you for feeling that way) just because she truly sounds awful on every level. I have read both yours and Khanh’s review and she sounds like one of the worst YA main character’s I’ve heard of. WHO FUCKING DARES to go and have this amazing opportunity to study abroad yet doesn’t even care to even try to understand (yet alone be a part of) the culture present. Instead she just clings to her Western values and in fact is an elitist and hypocritical bitch?? Oh my fucking god. I was so excited that this could be the book that would open gateways for diversity in the admittedly western ridden contemporary sub-genre. I wanted to learn about Korean culture and get a chance to appreciate it.

    Yeah, no. That definitely doesn’t sound like the case in Hello, I love you. Instead it just sounds like your run of the mill contemporary with an awful MC, stereotypical characters, pointless love triangle and an overly dramatic romance. Ick.

    Steering far, far, farrrrrrr away from this one. I can’t handle the Grace I see coming out through your review, let alone in the actual book. Adlfjlksjfkldsjklfdsj. Thank you so much for the honest and well written review Aimee.

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    1. I KNOW. Regular people would be ECSTATIC to study abroad, and I’m sure they’d make an effort to get immersed in their culture–but Grace is not a regular person, obviously. -_-
      It was INCREDIBLY stereotypical and just… lame. :(
      Thanks, Larissa!

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  16. I wrote a list of things I had to say while reading your review:

    1. Korea is not the first result to pop on Google.
    2. I agree. Hypocrites are seriously the worst. I think it’s one of the things that annoy me the most in both real life and books. I just hate to be lied at and to know someone is just pretending.
    3. I’m really sure the xenophobics aspects you ad many other reviewers mentioned (i.e. the “normal music” *rolls eyes*) would anger me to no end. I can’t imagine what it did to you, since you’re from Asia. (Btw, Philipines is one of the countries I want to visit the most)
    4. I’m not a fan of K-pop, but I sure added this book (before the reviews appeared) because it was a great opportunity to read about a not-so-popular culture in books. I mean, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, isn’t it?

    Congrats for surviving and fantastic review. It just makes me grateful I deleted this from my TBR. *end rant*

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    1. LOL, I find it adorable that you actually searched it. xD
      I abhor hypocrites in real life (especially if you know you’re being hypocritical and just keep going) so it’s no wonder I hated it here.
      Aw that’s so awesome, Vane! Grace mentioned at some point that Filipinos weren’t Asians. What the fuck. Apparently Asians = Chinese, Japanese and Koreans.
      Thanks, lovely! <3

      Liked by 1 person

  17. HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA

    Oh man there are so many negative reviews on this one, it is kind of hilarious. I probably would also be incredibly pissed off if I ended up reading this.

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  18. AGH. RUN AWAY. RUN AWAY. I’m very sad about this, though, because I totally had my eye on it because “YAY KOREA!” but if it’s basically non-Korean-ish and only focuses on the English aspects….what’s the point? That doesn’t bother me, though, as much as that snobby elitist attitude and the thrown in love triangle (ArGHHH) and the pick-the-first-school-on-google-search. OMG. WHO DOES THAT?????
    Congrats for suffering through to the end. You deserve cake, clearly.

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    1. I KNOW! This didn’t feel like a diverse book at all, minus some mentions of Korean kids. :/ And the search result thing was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read about in forever!
      Thank you. *snatches cake*

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  19. Ugh. Proof that just having a diverse character is not enough to make it an improvement. This one just reeks of cultural imperialism. Why would you study abroad just to look down on another culture? What a waste.

    Definitely a review worthy of a rant. And it is amusing to see so many readers united in dislike. Lol

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  20. The more I hear about this one, the more it sounds like the author has wanted to capture that Anna and The French Kiss audience, but instead it went really, really wrong. If you’re going to set your book in a country foreign to your own, research. Honestly, it sounds so incredibly tropey, not to mention slightly offensive even. I can’t stand an elitist protagonist and like yourself Aimz, nothing about this one sounds appealing. Wonderful review, I love angry Aimee! <3

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  21. Ouch. I really wanted to be able to love this one because I love culture and it sounds like two cultures mix here. But it seems like the main character is FAR too annoying to stand getting through this book. I think I am going to have dodge around this one.

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    1. Social studies is one of my favorite subjects in school, and I was so sad that this one didn’t really get me immersed into the Korean culture at all. =(

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  22. I couldn’t even finish this book, Aimee! Grace (what a name) was AWFUL. Seriously one of the worst heroines I’ve had to read about. And a love triangle??? Iiiiick. Glad I got out of there when I did!

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  23. Super sad about the negative reviews pouring in even though I didn’t have a good feeling about the book in the first place. I’ll still be picking it up and subjecting myself to the torture that is Grace because I’m curious (and I like Kpop) but I’m definitely not expecting much. I saw one of the comments that mentioned how apparently Grace thought that Filipinos aren’t Asian? That’s ridiculous and the fact that the main character thinks this already makes me really scared about what I’ll think when I read it.
    But honestly, I’ve thought about this book and anticipated it too much to just not read it. :/

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  24. Oh my, Aimee! I feel like if you can give this 0 stars you would! :-/ I think if I read this book, I would have to feel the same about the main character. Does she even get better and realize that just because Korea’s culture is different it doesn’t make it lame? And I don’t think there’s any in depth research on K-Pop other than googling it from you review. This is one of those times that I’m glad I’m super picky about contemporary! Awesome review Aimee!

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