Flip the Script

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. May 2022. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062936936.
Gr 7 Up–Korean American Hana wants nothing more than to be a successful actress, especially since her parents moved with her from the U.S. to Seoul a few years ago to help her achieve this goal. So when she lands the lead in a highly anticipated new K-drama, she’s thrilled. Unfortunately, initial ratings for the show are lower than expected, so the producers come up with a solution—a fake relationship between Hana and the show’s male lead, K-pop star Bryan Yoon, to drum up more interest. Hana reluctantly agrees, but things quickly go awry—their dates are swarmed by enthusiastic fans, and Bryan seems like he might be developing some not-so-fake feelings for her. The producers introduce a new character into the show, and it turns out to be someone Hana knows quite well. Now she has to figure out maintaining her fake feelings for Bryan while developing some very real feelings for her new co-star, who happens to be a girl. This book is a love letter to Korean culture, K-dramas in particular; readers will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at K-drama production, visits to famous spots around Seoul, and mouth-watering descriptions of Korean food. At the same time, the story challenges the heteronormativity and unrealistic expectations placed on young celebrities in Korea. All the characters are Korean or Korean American, and Hana, Bryan, and their co-star, Minjee, are all queer.
VERDICT This trope-filled rom-com is perfect for fans of Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, XOXO by Axie Oh, and I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn.

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