Title: Comeback: A K-Pop Novel
Authors: Lyn Ashwood & Rachel Rose
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Emery Jung is living his dream. Known by his stage name M, he is loved by millions of fans around the world as a member of the rising K-pop group NEON, but all fame comes with a cost, especially when one slip up can have viral consequences.
Alana Kim is trying to forget. After a tragic loss sends her spiraling, she escapes to her family in Korea, abandoning her love of music along the way. However, her plans are derailed when she literally runs into M, the famous K-pop idol.
When their paths collide, Emery and Alana must work together to prevent a scandal from ruining NEON’s success, sparking a journey of friendship, love, and healing. Unfortunately, fame and love aren’t easily compatible, especially in the world of K-pop.
This was the book I needed when I was a teenager. Filled with wonderful K-Pop goodness, Comeback is heartbreaking and heartwarming with just a dash of K-Drama cheesiness.
Right from the beginning, readers are pulled into the insanity that is the K-Pop industry. Ashwood & Rose do a phenomenal job of introducing Korean terms to readers who are less familiar with the industry. For me, it was like being welcomed home – the music shows, the live streaming, these authors knew the industry through and through and were sharing their love for idols and fans alike with this book!
NEON, GLO, HI5, Cocoa Pop, LilyRed, Music Now, I Can Cook – the groups, the shows, and the idols created for this book were so realistic. Honestly, it was impossible to tell the difference between this and real life. Group dynamics were fleshed out, relationships and mannerisms were spot on, and I loved every moment of it. The dialogue and reactions even added to the world building. I don’t know how to describe it, but I knew exactly what tone and manner some of the lines were delivered in based on past K-Pop variety shows and behind-the-scenes that I’ve watched in the past. Everything was spot on! I also loved that we got to see the world from an idol’s POV (Emery), and a fan/coordinators’ POV (Alana).
Character wise, I adored Emery and Alana – they both had their flaws and their issues and their suffering honestly broke my heart. I cried for this one, the feels just hit me, but I also smiled and laughed a lot at NEON’s antics and how cute Emery and Alana were. The book addresses the issue of mental health from multiple perspectives and brings together these two characters who can help each other work through them. Note “work through them”. I appreciate that their friendship with one another, and relationships with others help them open up about their issues, but didn’t necessarily present an immediate fix. Mental health isn’t something that can be fixed with an “We love you” and a “We’ll be there for you” mentality – it’s something that takes hard work and the will to change, and the authors put a lot of care into their journey towards being better.
Overall, the writing was great – the characters, the world building, the development of the story was so well done, and I enjoyed every second of it. I’ll admit, there is a bit of cheesiness in the dialogue and internal narrative that made me both cringe a bit and smile, but it wouldn’t be a book about K-Pop without it! Comeback was a super cute book that addressed a lot of heavy topics very well, and I would definitely recommend it for everyone, even if you’re not a K-Pop fan!
Also, I love that the authors came up with this idea on the way to a KARD concert – KARD is amazing, live and in general, and if you’re just jumping into K-Pop, definitely would recommend them.
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.13/5
eARC obtained through Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.