Shine by Jessica Jung

September 29th 2020 by Simon Pulse

A Korean American teen is thrust into the competitive, technicolor world of K-pop, from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend and former lead singer of Girls Generation.

What would you give for a chance to live your dreams?

For seventeen-year-old Korean American Rachel Kim, the answer is almost everything. Six years ago, she was recruited by DB Entertainment—one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels, known for churning out some of the world’s most popular stars. The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. Easy right?

Not so much. As the dark scandals of an industry bent on controlling and commodifying beautiful girls begin to bubble up, Rachel wonders if she’s strong enough to be a winner, or if she’ll end up crushed… Especially when she begins to develop feelings for K-pop star and DB golden boy Jason Lee. It’s not just that he’s charming, sexy, and ridiculously talented. He’s also the first person who really understands how badly she wants her star to rise.


Rachel Kim dreams of being in the next K-Pop girl group. She feels like there are hurdles constantly put in front of her by her family, other trainees and her lifestyle. This novel follows her as she navigates the extremely toxic environment and double standards that female K-Pop trainees seem to have to live in.

I love watching K-Dramas (Im not into K-Pop so much) so I was very excited to dive into this book. Reading it felt like a tell-all expose on the industry. I am not sure the accuracies but I am assuming they are pretty close since the author is an ex-girl group member. It made me feel like it was not as much fiction as a cathartic writing exercise from the author.

That being said – I did enjoy seeing “behind the curtain” and the overall presentation of the story – although I will be honest when I say I wish so much for a different ending. This is a must read for any K-Pop fans out there!

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