Monday 8 August 2022

Book Review: Falling for Korea by Piper Jean (Contemporary YA)

Title: Falling for Korea
Author: Piper Jean
Publisher: Vaniker Press
Publication Date: 27 June 2022
Pages: 274
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: ARC via NetGalley

America meets K-drama in this rollercoaster plot with a fresh take on romance and what it means to be family. 

When Sydney is sent to Seoul to live with a family she’s never met, she encounters unexpected chemistry with their son, but must fight to unravel the mystery of why she was sent away. Will she be able to get home before it’s too late, or will Korea turn out to be just the thing she needed?

California teen Sydney Moore doesn’t know why she’s been shipped off to spend her senior year in Korea with the wealthy godparents she barely knows. What was her mom thinking? The Kims are never even home. And their son, the guy that’s supposed to help Sydney adjust to school at the elite Daeshim Academy, is totally MIA. As soon as Sydney can scrape together enough for a ticket, she’s flying home.

Korean chaebol Kim Chul knows his parents care more about company shares than they do about him. So why did they dump some American girl in his lap senior year? They must have an angle; they always do. The best way to end their schemes is to send her packing.

Chul’s game plan changes when his rival, Gun, starts hanging around. Sydney thinks he’s a nice guy, but Chul knows Gun has a dark secret. Determined to protect Sydney, Chul decides she needs a boyfriend—fast. And who better than him? But there’s a problem: Sydney already saved his contact as Loser.

Things get complicated when Sydney’s mom cuts off contact. As Sydney begins to uncover the devastating reason she was sent away, she’s even more determined to get home. But leaving isn’t so easy, especially when you’ve already started to fall for Korea.


Falling for Korea was a decent middle-of-the-road read. Yes, it did feel a bit like a K-drama (one of the more melodramatic teen rom-coms), and I could imagine the scenes playing out on the screen as I read. The plot was, as mentioned, a little overblown, but it was still fun and allowed for some interesting action. The split POV in 1st person worked fine, letting the reader understand the perspectives of both main characters. However, there was a little something lacking in the relationship for me. It felt too sudden, and I never really got why they were so right together when they hardly knew each other. It was also hard to see how she 'fell for Korea' when she didn't go anywhere much except school and the house and did nothing but complain that she hated the food every time they had a meal. A K-drama would have 16-20 hours to gradually expand the relationship and let us see Sydney adjust and come to like Korea. This book had fewer than 300 pages, and I fear that was too short a time for the relationship development to be believable, especially given her age and the way the book ends. This was an entertaining enough read, especially if you like the K-drama vibe, but it requires a high suspension of disbelief. It gets 3 stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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