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13 January 2022

Book Review: XOXO by Axie Oh

I bought XOXO by Axie Oh from Fairyloot when they released a gorgeous hardback edition with the most beautiful naked cover ever. And when it arrived I put it on my shelves and err... There it languished.

Until Twitter decided it should be my first read of 2022.

ANd guys? Why didn't I read it sooner? It was amazing, and I loved it so much that I added all of the author's other books to my TBR and searched everywhere for other k-pop romances.

XOXO by Axie Oh book cover

Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.

Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.

With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.

Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.

When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh. 

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5 Word Review: Music, family, expectations, fame, love.

Put together a K-pop and cello playlist, gather some snacks (because this book will make you hungry) and settle in for the cutest romance ever.

This book is beautifully written. I looked forward every day to picking it up, and once I had picked it up I didn't want to put it down. The writing style is so easy to read, and I so easily fell into Jenny's story. I loved the small details that built up the world around the characters, and how the scenery effortlessly changed as Jenny moved from America to South Korea.

I loved the journey Jenny took, how she lost herself then found herself, how she grew and matured. It's a real coming-of-age arc set against a massive change in Jenny's life, and she rises to the challenge wonderfully. I loved watching her chase her dreams, and how those dreams evolved. She has such personal strength and talent, and so much potential.

Jaewoo also loses himself, and I loved seeing Jenny help him navigate his way back, even if neither of the characters realised it at the time. Together they make an adorable couple.

The friendships in this book were incredible too, even if some of them feel very unlikely at first. Those initial impressions and first meetings really stuck with me as I read, and I could look back on them maybe not so fondly by the end. Jenny's assumptions were definitely wildly wrong at times.

The exploration of family themes was amazing too. Every issue XOXO tackled it, it tackled perfectly. It's messy at times, and just like relationships are in real life there is tension and secrets and conflict and friendship and love.

This was the sweetest YA romance I think I have ever read. I loved the way both characters grew into themselves and faced their worries and the barriers against them. The ending was so so perfect, and everything wrapped up amazingly, but I would absolutely read more. Jenny and Jaewoo are an OTP I could never get bored of.


  1. Well this is going right on my wishlist after your review. It sounds awesome!

  2. I've been wanting to read this for SO LONG 😩 Thanks for the heads up about the snacks!


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