By: Maureen Goo
Published Year: 2019
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.
11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.
12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.
Last year I discovered Maureen Goo and she quickly became a new favorite author. I love the characters that she writes as well as the way she introduces me to new parts of Korean culture. This book got added to my TBR before there was even a cover. While I do like the cover, and it would be one that younger me would’ve been attracted to, I don’t know if I would have just picked it up off the shelf at my current age.
What I thought
This book was so sweet.
Lucky is a famous K-pop star. While in Hong Kong, she decides she wants a hamburger so she goes out in to the middle of the night to find one. While doing so, she runs into Jack. Jack is an American living in Hong Kong with his family. He is taking a year off between high school and university and is moonlighting as paparazzi. When he first runs into Lucky, he doesn’t realize who she is. The next morning, he learns about her true identity and decides it’s going to be his big break if he can convince her to spend the day with him while he secretly takes pictures. Lucky, not knowing that Jack knows who she is, decides to enjoy her day of freedom which turns into so much more.
I loved the idea of a pop star getting a secret day in a city to do whatever she wanted. What I loved, unexpectedly, about this story was Lucky. The balance found in her personality with her strength and her innocence was perfect. She knew what she wanted and who she was, but at the same time she didn’t. I also liked that she didn’t take shit from anyone and knew how to use her power, but not in a mean way.
Jack on the other hand was cute and fun, but felt a little generic to me. I liked the chemistry between the two, but his whininess about liking photography but it being something he could never pursue eventually worked on a nerve. Luckily, (no pun intended) it didn’t take away from the book for me. Just not a character I particularly loved.
I was also impressed with how Goo managed to make an entire book with only two characters work so well. Their exploration of Hong Kong was fun and made me want to look into a city that has never been on my radar. I love how rich with Asian culture Goo’s books are. First, she introduced me to K-dramas, and now I’m curious about K-pop!