Friday, June 19, 2015

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout + Author Fancast + Giveaway

Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Published June 9, 2015

This is one of those rare times when I write a review literally right after I finish reading the book so everything is still really fresh.  When I first read the synopsis, I was like omg, must read since I am a huge Kpop/Kdrama fan.  Not so much into Kpop these days since all the new boy bands out these days are too young for me (this is how I know that I’m mad old) and the ones I love (Super Junior, Big Bang, etc.) are showing up less and less.  But anyways, I was excited and right before I picked up this book, I had the worst idea ever – I went to read the reviews on Goodreads and by golly, they were terrible.  They ranted that Grace was as this hypocritical, disrespectful and somewhat racist white American girl.  They threw water on the book itself stating that the book was extremely culturally ignorant and presumptuous.  And so that basically threw water on my excitement.  Thus I went into this book with very low expectations.  I suppose, in a way, because I knew what to expect, I ended up not being as disappointed as some of the other reviewers were.

Let’s talk about Grace.  Yes, she was extremely hypocritical, disrespectful, culturally ignorant and basically racist without coming forward and calling herself racist.  But.  And there is a but here, she changed.  I feel like this book had two parts to it: the beginning when she first went to Korea, didn’t know what was going on, and basically anything she knew came from stereotypical books or the Internet.  And then there was the second half where she finally became acclimated (somewhat) into her new everyday life and she became more culturally aware of her surroundings.  That being said though, the first half was painful.  She came across as this rich, snobbish American girl who basically had her life fed to her on a silver platter.  There was this incidence when she first got to Korea and got on a taxi and thought that she had to take her shoes off in the car.  What.  I mean, yes, Asians have a tendency to take off their shoes in the house but in a car?  WTF.  Or the scene where she basically called the Korean language “dumb” for having different levels of formalities for respect.  Or the scene where she judged Jason for googling himself and whatnot when she would often do the same thing for herself and her family.  And the most annoying part was that she knew she was being hypocritical – she basically stated that “even though I do the same thing but I don’t want him to know that”.  Something along those lines.  I literally put the book down and went off to pick up the other book I was reading at the time.  I didn’t pick this book up again until the day after.  What I really wonder is where the hell did the author get her information from?  I’m genuinely curious about this because I know that the author watches a lot of Kdramas so did she do her research base off those dramas or what?

Jason, Sophia and the other Eden boys were more like secondary characters.  They all played a major part in helping Grace feel welcome in Korea but for some reason, I always felt as if there was a slight shade between Grace and everyone else.  I’m not sure if the author was purposely putting a distinction between the “American” and the “Koreans”.  Because it was mentioned a lot.  Jason seemed cute and everything but I don’t understand how he managed to put up with Grace in the beginning or how he came to love her.  To me, it’s baffling.  If anything, being friends would probably be the most I could handle with her. 

Another major aspect I want to touch base on is the plot.  I read somewhere that if you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss then this book should be in your TBR list.  I found that false.  Yes, they both have that chicklit romance thing going on but I found Anna to be far more interesting and realistic than this book.  To be perfectly honest, I felt that the author was trying to write some sort of drama here (probably due to her love for Kdramas) but I personally think there is a difference from a book and a drama.  I personally think that dramas are much more dramatic than a book and Grace’s hesitancy to be in a relationship and trust Jason seemed much more dramatic than it was necessary.  It was drawn out and much too fake and ridiculous.  Those little “but I don’t know if I can trust him...” and then she goes off and cries to herself made me want to just give her the “wtf are you doing” face.

Anyways, I still haven’t decided what I want to rate the book because there’s a part of me that really enjoyed the second half (though somewhat cliché) but then there’s a large part of me that hated the first half and more importantly, Grace.  (OMG, her mom was also so atrocious and rude to that Korean waitress – for someone who is in the “upper-class” and supposedly more culturally aware from traveling and whatnot, she was so horribly rude.  I can see where Grace got her snobbish attitude from.)  So right now, I am stuck somewhere in the middle.  I guess I would recommend this book to those who aren’t really familiar with the Korean culture because for those who are, this book would just seem much more ignorant and stereotypical than what Korean culture really is all about.

Author Fancast

[my thoughts] Now, I found this to be quite interesting as the author would create her own fantasy cast for her characters while she's writing the book or after.  So it allows you to see what kind of person she was thinking of or what is her ideal person playing each of her character.  Without further ado...

I had a ton of fun fancasting my characters! Some of them were casted very early on in my brain while I was writing - I actually had two singers in mind while I was writing the rough draft of the book!

While these are who the characters look like in my head, I love hearing other people’s thoughts.  or I’d love to hear who you think Grace, Jason, Sophie, and everyone else looks like, so hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr with your picks!

Grace - Lily James 
I’m a Lily James fan in general. (I mean, how can you not love her as Cinderella?!) Plus, I think she has the perfect hair for Grace. And girl’s got attitude, which totally fits my sassy, broken protagonist.

Jason - Jung Yonghwa 
Yonghwa was actually the first character I casted in my head. I knew while I was still rough drafting that he was who Jason looked like. Actually, if you’ve ever seen the Korean drama Heartstrings, you may recognize some of the outfits I describe Jason wearing as ones he wore in that drama. I just loved those sweaters and colorful shoes so much!

Sophie - IU 
Sophie is another character I knew early on who I would cast. IU has been one of my favorite KPOP singers since I saw her in the drama Dream High, and I think she perfectly embodies Sophie’s sweetness and charm.

Yoon Jae - Ok Taecyeon 
I wanted Yoon Jae to be really striking, where you turn your head when he walks by. I also wanted him to have a little bit of a baby face. Really, there’s no one else I could choose for him besides Taecyeon, who’s both super hot and super cute. And really, he’s perfect for the character I would have chosen to date if I were Grace. ;-)

Tae Hwa - Seungri 
Seungri is one of the hottest guys in KPOP, I think (despite his scandals). And I had to choose someone great for Sophie, who’s probably my favorite character in the whole book. Really, I maybe had too much fun looking for good pictures of him…

[my thoughts] I have to say, I would totally watch a movie or drama with these characters as her characters.  I love each and every one of those Korean celebrities as I also watch a lot of K-dramas (my secret hobby, haha).  

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