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I bet I’ve stared at my reflection in rehearsal-room mirrors just like this one for hundreds and hundreds of hours. Usually while I’m soaking in sweat, wishing my toes would just fall off from all the blisters and torn nails. Or watching myself try to wink and toss my hair and smile at the exact right time while our dance coach – ‘The General’ – screams at me for always being half a beat behind.

About the book

A Korean-American girl travels to Seoul in hopes of debuting in a girl group at the same K-pop company behind the most popular boy band on the planet, in this romantic coming-of-age novel perfect for K-pop fans everywhere!

Candace Park knows a lot about playing a role. For most of her life, she's been playing the role of the quiet Korean-American girl who takes advanced classes and plays a classical instrument, keeping her love of K-pop to herself. But she has a secret that she's been keeping from the world: she can sing. Like, really sing.

So when Candace enters a global audition held by the biggest K-pop label in the world, she doesn't expect to actually win. And convincing her parents to go against everything they believe in is nothing compared to what's next.

Under the strict supervision of her instructors at the label's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Candace must hone her performance skills to within an inch of her life, learn to fluently speak Korean, and navigate the complex hierarchies of her teammates. And the number-one rule? NO DATING – which proves almost impossible after she meets superstar idol One.J and fellow Korean-American trainee YoungBae.

And when Candace finds herself in the middle of an international K-pop scandal, she must decide whether a spot in the most hyped K-pop girl group of all time is really worth risking everything ...

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Author notes

'While the K-pop world is so glamorous on the outside – all that perfect skin, crazy style, fierce imagery – so much effort goes into creating that fantasy. I think the push-pull of the expectation of perfection – and the harsh reality of what goes into it – is ripe for conflict, and I think it’s an extreme example of what Gen Z and Gen Y go through all around the world, whether it’s fierce competition to get into top colleges, or all the impossible hoops young adults have to go through to land a dream job. With this novel, I want to depict these young people discovering their inherent value, independent of the sky-high expectations adults are putting upon them, and exploring what their true desires are.'

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