Maurene Goo | Somewhere Only We Know (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

320 Pages | $9.99 Kindle Edition, $17.99 hardcover

Years ago, I came across a book featuring k-pop and immediately jumped on the chance to read it. But instead of being an amazing book, that book turned out to be a horrible mess big enough that I’d rather forget about it and erase it from my reading pile forever.

Enter Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, the second book I’ve come across featuring k-pop. Spoiler: I didn’t hate this book (thankfully)! But I also didn’t love it.

Transpiring in one day, Goo’s latest novel is told from the perspectives of Lucky, one of the biggest k-pop stars about to debut in the US, and Jack, a photographer who secretly does assignments for a tabloid. When Jack crosses paths with Lucky by accident one night in Hong Kong on an assignment and realizes it’s her, he takes a chance: this is his moment to get a career with the tabloid, doing photography for a living rather than following his father’s footsteps in banking.

Somewhere Only We Know is the third book I’ve read by Maurene Goo and by now, I’ve realized two things in her books:

  1. There are cute moments.
  2. Food is involved. It’s strongly cautioned not to be hungry while reading her books.

Goo (author if Since You Asked…, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and The Way You Make Me Feel) does not disappoint with her latest novel. There are definitely cute moments as Jack takes Lucky sightseeing across Hong Kong throughout the day, in the hopes they won’t get caught. And there is plenty of food—what originally was a quest for a hamburger turns out to be an entire daytrip of food tourism. Throughout the journey, readers are introduced to life as a k-pop idol—Goo shows that she’s done her research into the k-pop industry, and there’s a lot of information without overloading for those who are new to k-pop and want to get some insight. I loved seeing this depicted so clearly in the book despite somewhat following the industry myself.

Somewhere Only We Know is ultimately a book about finding one’s true passions and going after it—Lucky questions her journey as a k-pop idol and Jack wonders if it’s worth studying photography after his gap year ends. Goo’s latest novel will be perfect for those who enjoy a one-day romance involving food, music, and sightseeing outside the US. | Hannah Sophia Lin

Click here to learn more and to read a quick excerpt of Somewhere Only We Know, courtesy of McMillan.

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