Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in this inside look at a K-pop academy. Every Friday after school, seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong to sing karaoke. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, her only musical outlet is vamping it up in a private karaoke booth to an audience of one: her loyal sister. Then a scout for Top10 Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop companies, hears her and offers her a spot at their Star Academy. Can Alice navigate the culture clashes, egos, and extreme training practices of K-pop to lead her group onstage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans—and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way . . . This debut novel is about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true. It will speak to fans of K-pop and to anyone who is trying to take their talents to the next level.
In Young's proficient debut, a reserved Chinese American 17-year-old navigates the tension between her reserve and her aspirations of becoming a singer. After being scouted at a karaoke bar, introverted but vocally talented Alice Choy is invited to an open audition for mega-label Top10. Despite initial hesitations, the encouragement of her K-pop-loving younger sister helps to persuade her, as does the possibility of restarting vocal lessons if she's chosen—something she has forfeited since her family's relocation to Seoul. When her talent lands her an all-expenses-paid spot at Star Academy, where trainees live and work, she's placed into girl group A-List—which is set to debut in only five months—and thrown into dance rehearsals, exercise regimes, vocal lessons, and Korean classes. Young aptly conveys Alice's difficulties as the group's youngest member, navigating life away from her family and deciphering the implicit rules of the K-pop world. Interspersed with Alice's narration, posts from The Fix, a blog devoted to "exposing the real side of idols in hopes that no one else is ever consumed by the K-pop machine," purports to interrogate the role of fans and gossip sites. Though Alice's initial success despite being unable to dance, act, or speak Korean requires a large suspension of disbelief, readers interested in the inner workings of idol groups will enjoy this entertaining inside look. Ages 12–up.