Title: Once Upon a K-Prom
Author: Kat Cho
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.
“What would you do if the world’s biggest K-pop star asked you to prom? Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon, this hilarious and heartfelt novel brings the glamour and drama of the K-pop world straight to high school.
Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing – she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that’s always made her feel like she belonged.
So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.
Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants – even if she can’t stop thinking about Robbie’s smile…right?” (Goodreads)
I’m always here for a book about K-Pop groups, lol. I think I have read almost all of the ones that have been published. Some have been betters than others, but that is obviously a personal opinion. For this one, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I have read this author’s previous work and found myself a bit underwhelmed. I actually didn’t even realize it was the same author until after I had been approved for this title. There were aspects of this particular book that I did enjoy but I also ran into a few issues as well. They didn’t stop me from liking the book for the most part though.
The book is told from two perspectives, Elena and Robbie. The point-of-views were a little weird as one was told in first-person and the other was third. I have never seen this in a book before so it threw me off. I don’t necessarily think it was bad but it does kind of leave a disconnect with the transition.
Elena has a lot going on in her life from dealing with a twin that isn’t much like her, saving a community center, and having feelings for an old friend who is now in a K-Pop band. I did relate to her when it came to her feelings for prom. She felt that a lot of people over spend and it’s not as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I felt the same about mine. I did go, but if it wasn’t for my friends I don’t think I would have haha. I definitely didn’t spend much on anything and bought my junior prom dress at a thrift store. Dealing with siblings is also something I can relate to. I have five so it’s just part of life for me! Elena very much wants to do the right thing and believes in causes that impact those around her. I have been trying to do the same and put my money where my mouth is and help out those who need it more. It does get disheartening when those around you don’t see it that way and don’t feel like helping in any way. I felt for Elena.
Robbie’s part was more or less him trying to woo Elena and also what it is like to be in a K-Pop band. I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite point-of-view but it at least added something to the overall plot.
Now, the plot was a bit of a struggle for me. It was packed with a lot of topics (as mentioned when discussing Elena) and it didn’t leave a lot of room to fully develop each one. It left a lot to be desired and kind of make the romance between them underwhelming.
I did like that there was tid bits of facts for each guy in the group. I also liked that there are some text exchanges as well. I always enjoy seeing other types of formats in a book.
Overall, this was good. I think that it could have been better if it wasn’t packed full of things there could have been more room for development.