It is no secret that K-Pop has recently become a larger part of the American music scene in recent years, especially with the rise of BTS on the Billboard charts and their 2020 Grammy nomination. This development has also brought about a new YA book subgenre: K-Pop books! As a lover of both K-Pop and reading, I was a bit skeptical about all these new books. Can a book really describe the visual and auditory aesthetics of the music category? I was pleasantly surprised to find that a book really can do all that.
K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee focuses on 15 year-old Candace Park, a Korean-American teenager who loves music and wants to become a singer. Despite her parents dismissal at first, Candace ends up passing an audition to become a trainee at one of Korea’s biggest entertainment agencies. The book chronicles her journey to become an idol and readers will root for Candace as she follows her dreams.
I know it’s August and you may be looking forward to everything becoming more fall themed again (sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful orange forests) but I am still very much in summer mode. That feeling when everything feels new and fresh… as long as you can ignore the sun boring down on your face. With that said, I thought it would be fun to discuss some books that will make you feel that sunny optimism, even as the sun starts to set a little bit earlier!
All links below will take you to the Vaughan Public Libraries catalogue where you can request these titles! Most titles are available as ebooks in addition to physical books.
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee. This debut YA novel is about Noah, an expert on romance who runs his own blog called The Meet Cute Diary. It’s a blog that focuses on stories of trans love that all start with a meet cute, except all of Noah’s followers think that the stories are real events rather than almost-encounters that Noah experiences. While visiting his brother for the summer, Noah starts a relationship with a cute boy in which they are fake dating, and Noah hopes that it turns out to be real. It’s a wonderful story that blends the experiences of building an online persona with the cute romance we expect from summer stories.
I love reading anthologies, as they allow me to discover new authors by giving me a glimpse into a few completely different stories. I am also a huge fan of short stories in general as I think the form really lends itself to creativity because writers have to create a whole world within a limited space. I also really like reading short stories because you can really divide and stretch out the reading experience. Reading a single story a day is a great way to keep your mind engaged with reading if you’re short on time. These anthologies also work great as audiobooks as you can listen to one story with ease on a commute, while running errands, gardening or doing any number of housework.
Now that my spiel is out of the way, here are some anthologies that include multiple authors in them for a variety of ages! While there are target/ideal readership ages (created by the publishers) for each anthology, I still think there’s no shame in reading an anthology for a younger audience. I personally love children’s fiction and there are so many great authors that write compelling stories for any audience.
All links will take you to the Vaughan Public Libraries catalogue where you can request these titles for yourself!
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
This anthology features stories by 17 Indigenous authors, with notes and information about the authors at the end of the book for further reading. With great writing and a solid introduction to new writers, readers will definitely want to seek out other stories by Native writers and learn more about Heartdrum, the publishing imprint behind this collection.
Flying Lessons & Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh. This anthology, made in partnership with We Need Diverse books, features a star-studded cast of children’s authors. Readers will no doubt recognize some of their favourite authors such as Soman Chainani and Jacqueline Woodson and the many other successful authors that make up this compelling and engaging collection.