‘Comeback’ – Lyn Ashwood and Rachel Rose
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 spiralling, 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 is a book that is relevant for anyone who has had a crush on a celebrity. For anyone who has daydreamed that one day, just one day, they would meet their idol and it would be love at first sight. It is a reminder of innocence and youth, and the Korean setting added a new flavour to a typical romance story.
Initially, I had trouble getting involved in the story and I think it was because I struggled to connect with the characters. The narrative perspective shifts between Alana and Emery in alternate chapters but, it was the supporting cast that I had difficulty keeping tabs on. I think the unusual names befuddled my brain and it took me a while to adjust. Despite this, once the story was progressing, I felt like I understood Alana’s dilemma and Emery’s internal conflict.
The Korean setting definitely made this story more interesting and enjoyable. On the surface, this is a cutesy story about young, forbidden love. Alana restrains herself from getting close to Emery because of personal issues, whereas Emery has his pop image and band to consider. As external factors throw the couple together, they realise that they need to acknowledge their true relationship.
I have very little knowledge or understanding of K-Pop and I found the terminology and different culture rather interesting. I could not help but compare it to my own pop obsession when I was younger and found there were plenty of similarities – thereby broadening the appeal of what might seem a rather niche novel. Still, it was fascinating to see how NEON’s fan-base worked and to get a glimpse of behind-the-scenes of being in a famous pop group.
Without the different setting, I think this would have been a very “middle of the road” story. Instead, I felt more interested in the characters and their surroundings. Reading it felt like a guilty pleasure and I can see this appealing to many young readers – most likely female ones. It is not complicated to read and once you have adjusted to the unusual names, the story moves quite quickly. The writers have also helpfully provided a glossary at the closing of the novel so not only do you understand the Korean words, but learn a little bit at the same time!
It is suggested that this might be the start of the series; if this is the case, I will be interested to see what happens to Emery and Alana next. It is an innocent story that shows the importance of love and family, with the pink gloss of a famous pop band.
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.