Seoulmates by Susan Lee
For a sweet k-pop star and regular girl love story, for friends to lovers with a little bit of enemies, for a realistic take on this now-common trope (hesitancy and all), for something that will really just make you smile happily 😊
Hannah Cho had the next year all planned out—the perfect summer with her boyfriend, Nate, and then a fun senior year with their friends.
But then Nate does what everyone else in Hannah’s life seems to do—he leaves her, claiming they have nothing in common. He and all her friends are newly obsessed with K-pop and K-dramas, and Hannah is not. After years of trying to embrace the American part and shunning the Korean side of her Korean American identity to fit in, Hannah finds that’s exactly what now has her on the outs.
But someone who does know K-dramas—so well that he’s actually starring in one—is Jacob Kim, Hannah’s former best friend, whom she hasn’t seen in years. He’s desperate for a break from the fame, so a family trip back to San Diego might be just what he needs… that is, if he and Hannah can figure out what went wrong when they last parted and navigate the new feelings developing between them.
I think what I loved most about this was how clear I’d Hannah Chow was. She doesn’t just have a K-Pop star show up on her doorstep and then be like oh sure this is fine. She reacts as any regular person would, I think: and that is to be floored and not super comfortable with it. Putting aside their personal histories, it’s not actually that easy to date a super celebrity, I’m sure.
I also loved the shorter chapters we got from Jacob perspective. They added a nice sense of intimacy and prevented him from just looking like a clueless jerk in some scenes, because we saw some of the pressure and guidance that he was receiving on his end.
Their slow rekindling of their friendship is so sweet to watch, and it has bits of friends to lovers, and enemies to friends, and even enemies to lovers! It covers a lot of ground. However, as with a lot of good enemy to lover stories, it’s all very one-sided. I think it’s just shy of that common scene where the male lead goes, “I never thought we were enemies?”
Emotional growth happens for just about every character in this, even the side characters who are mostly just foils to our main couple. I always appreciate when the people on the side have some texture and personality to them. In this one you could often understand where people were coming from, even if you didn’t agree with them or they express themselves poorly.
And as expected when there’s emotional growth required, they did start from a place of low-key idiocy in some ways, but in a very lovable sense. They’re teenagers in love after all! Some of the decisions they made I thought we’re very blatantly stupid, but surprisingly they didn’t always turn out to be as bad as I expected. Then I thought, maybe I’m just a bit jaded and always expect the worst. 😅 Regardless, the good and bad decisions all work together and made it so sweet and lovely to follow along with.
4 thoughts on “Review: Seoulmates by Susan Lee”
I do love it when the side characters grow and change, too!