Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho (5/17/22)

Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
Expected release date: May 17, 2022

Recommended: sure
For a light k-pop-y romance, for a normal girl + superstar pair that’s a bit easier to believe, for characters who you can root for


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?


I liked that the premise of this book was a bit more believable than some of the other recent popular normal girl + kpop megastar romances. In this case, they actually were friends and knew each other before all of the kpop fandom started, so I could get more into it without having to totally suspend all disbelief and willfully shut my brain off to some of the more ridiculous stretches to validate scenarios. That was an extremely long sentence!

Unsurprisingly, this was a pretty light read. Considering the characters are 17-18 years old, sometimes they didn’t really read that way. I felt like they were more 14-16 until something happened to remind me. Their emotional maturity wasn’t always at it’s peak, but I did very much appreciate that it didn’t lean on a conflict that could be solved by just talking with the person as so many novels do. There was a smidge of that, and I certainly was yelling in my head the whole time, but it resolved fairly quickly with the character acknowledging that they were being a full idiot. So I can forgive it.

I didn’t expect to get two perspectives in this story! So heads up on that, because it does switch between the two main characters. Elena definitely gets more of the story, but Robbie comes in every now and then with his side of things, and I think that kept me feeling in the loop and sympathetic. You always gotta know the other side of the story, right? That kept it from feeling anything like an enemies-to-lovers story, which is a direction it could have gone.

And yes, there’s a k-pop concert scene to get all hyped about. ^.^

Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Publishing for a free advanced copy of this book. This is my honest review!


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho (5/17/22)

  1. This sounds cute! I haven’t read it, but I already appreciate the fact that there’s a REASON why the “girl next door” main character knows a k-pop star. Too often it seems that part of the backstory isn’t believable in books like this.


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