Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Available Through The Book Depository: Somewhere Only We Know
Summary: 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.
*Received ARC through a festival*
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Somewhere Only We Know is a YA Contemporary Romance reminiscent of Roman Holiday! Lucky, a K-Pop star & Jack, a tabloid photographer, spend the day together having adventures throughout Hong Kong! This character-driven contemporary is fun, while also having underlying messages about identity and self! As Lucky and Jack have their one-day adventure, they also learn more about each other and themselves!
If you were to ask me of a YA Contemporary author whose newest books I always look forward to reading during spring/summer, I’d say Maurene Goo! With each book of hers I find myself falling in love with the flawed, loveable, and realistic main characters she develops alongside the unique stories she creates!
I knew going in that this book was Roman Holiday-esque and conveniently, before starting this book, it had been on TV one day and I’d actually never seen it before! But I managed to watch a good amount of it and throughout Somewhere Only We Know, I could absolutely feel those Roman Holiday-vibes weaved into the story!
What I realized as I took my time to really read Somewhere Only We Know, was that as I finally reached that last page I reflected on how much I loved both Lucky & Jack + their journeys throughout this book! I loved it a lot!!
I found Goo’s book was really about how taking one day to do something unexpected, or even just for yourself can allow to learn more about yourself than you think!
This book is truly all about how Jack and Lucky learn from one another as they spend the day together, while realizing how their lives aren’t exactly all they hoped it would be–but how they can strive to make it something better.
The story follows 2 POV’s Jack and Lucky! Lucky is a rising star in the world of K-Pop and her upcoming performance on The Later Tonight Show is what her team is looking for to launch her career even further!
Jack is an intern at a bank his father works for. He’s not entirely happy about it, but what he keeps a secret from his parents, is his job as a tabloid reporter/photographer. He’s not entirely sure where his life is headed, as the stress of deciding whether or not he wants to go to college or where he wants to work, continuously goes through his mind.
Both Lucky and Jack find themselves spending the day together, when Lucky finds herself far from her hotel after taking a heavy amount of anti-anxiety medication and craving a hamburger! Little does she know, that she’s going to be saved by Jack!
When Jack learns who she is, he decides that in order to launch his career as a professional photographer, he’s going to have to create a story out of Lucky’s hotel escape, without her knowing.
Jack does his best to keep his job as a tabloid reporter from Lucky, while she uses her opportunity of being far from the comfort of her hotel in the streets on Hong Kong, to live out just one day of non-stop adventure!
However, along the way both Lucky and Jack finding themselves falling for each other, even as they both try to keep up lies about themselves throughout their adventure!
With the way Goo brilliantly developed both Jack & Lucky, they really came to life off the page! She also developed their relationship so wonderfully, its a mix of attraction at first-sight alongside their delightful chemistry that worked so well together!
All throughout Somewhere Only We Know, there’s a lot of discussion on identity, societal and familial pressures, and what it means to find a new dream!
Lucky finds herself stuck in this world of K-Pop that once felt like a dream, is now forcing her to face harsh realities–and throughout the book she realizes how unhappy she is. Jack, is very single-minded on his story on Lucky to launch his own career, but throughout the book as he begins falling for Lucky & learns more about her/her life–he begins to see the error in his ways!
As I mentioned above, what makes this book so beautiful is exploring how both Lucky and Jack learn more about their own desires and dreams/plans for the future because they spend time together on this spontaneous adventure! I just loved them both & following their journeys in this book! Lucky & Jack were–just the best!! 😍💞
From the great dialogue, Jack & Lucky’s own unique perspectives, setting of Hong Kong, and Goo’s delightful writing-style, Somewhere Only We Know becomes a brilliantly funny, deeply moving, character-driven, and unique YA Contemporary! It delivers so much throughout its entirety!
As we explore Hong Kong throughout Somewhere Only We Know from the weather, atmosphere, food, and various locations–the setting truly shined, especially because of the energy both Lucky and Jack brought together as characters!
My only minor issue I’d say that bumped my rating to 4 stars, is the pacing throughout some of the middle– its a bit slow, a couple characters/moments could have been expanded on just a bit more, and I felt the ending was just a little rushed near the end.
But overall, this was another great Maurene Goo YA Contemporary and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
Somewhere Only We Know is a great YA Contemporary to add to your TBR! The perfect blend of comedy, romance, wonderfully developed characters, vibrant setting, and page-turning plot makes this a delightful YA Contemporary you don’t want to miss! If your looking for a unique YA Contemporary with fun character-dynamics, romance, and adventure, Maurene Goo’s latest, is a wonderful book to check out!