Whether you devoured former Girls’ Generation star Jessica Jung‘s new book in one sitting or you’re still making your way through all that delicious drama, you’ll soon find yourself looking for a new read to fill that Shine void. Here are four more great young adult K-Pop novels to add to your upcoming reading list.
1. I’ll Be the One – Lyla Lee
Published in June this year, Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be the One is full of awesome representation and inspiration. The book centers on Skye Shin, a bisexual Korean-American girl who loves the world of K-Pop. There’s just one problem—her weight.
But Skye is sick of hearing people tell her fat girls can’t dance or don’t deserve the spotlight, and she’s not about to let that stand in her way. After nailing her audition for an international K-Pop survival show, Skye is swept into the world of a trainee—practicing, performing, and plenty of drama.
And as if that’s not enough, Skye has to deal with the industry’s fatphobia, constant scrutiny from the public, and a burgeoning crush on one of her fellow competitors. If she wants to become the world’s first plus-sized K-Pop star, she’ll need to win the show without losing herself.
I’ll Be the One has also been optioned for film by HBO Max.
2. Somewhere Only We Know – Maureen Goo
One of the first young adult K-Pop books to take the market by storm was Maurene Goo’s 2019 novel, Somewhere Only We Know. Unlike many other books, this book focuses on a star who’s already famous: Lucky.
Lucky is the biggest star in K-Pop, known by fans around the globe. On the night she wraps up a Hong Kong performance, Lucky thinks the biggest event on her horizon is her upcoming U.S. television debut. But when she bumps into a young tabloid reporter on her quest to find a late-night hamburger, everything changes.
This contemporary romance has been described as a “charming and swoon-worthy” read with a plot that doesn’t lag and plenty of witty banter.
3. K-Pop Confidential – Stephan Lee
If you can’t get enough of the electrifying drama of Shine, Stephan Lee’s K-Pop Confidential should definitely be the next book on your reading list. This coming-of-age novel follows Korean-American Candace Park on her journey to stardom.
K-Pop fan Candace never thought she could become a star in South Korea. Instead, she stuck to laying low at school, practicing classical music, and acing her AP classes. But all that changes when the talented young singer auditions for the label of her favorite boy group, SLK.
Against all odds, Candace passes the audition and finds herself with a trainee contract and the opportunity of a lifetime. But training won’t be easy. Despite her heritage, Candace still needs to become fluent in Korean, and she has a lot to learn when it comes to performance.
And there’s one rule that she just can’t seem to follow: NO DATING. When Candace meets a handsome male trainee, she finds herself in a difficult predicament. If she doesn’t debut, she’ll disappoint her family who sacrificed everything. But if she does, will it really be worth risking everything she believes in?
4. XOXO – Axie Oh
Axie Oh’s XOXO isn’t set to debut until next year, but it’s definitely a romance read K-Pop fans should be excited for.
XOXO doesn’t center on a K-Pop star main character. Instead, it follows a young Korean-American cello prodigy who finds herself uprooted to an elite music academy in Seoul.
The lead has her sights set firmly on her career—until she falls into a secret romance with the main vocalist of the biggest boy group in K-Pop.