Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout - Excerpt and Review

Title: Hello, I Love You
Author: Katie M. Stout
Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Source: ARC

Hey! You have stumbled upon the blog tour for the book ‘Hello, I Love You’ by Katie M. Stout. I was lucky enough to get an advanced review copy (ARC) from St. Martin’s Press. Here you can find the summary as well as an excerpt from the book and a review.

So first, here’s the Goodreads Blurb, that way you all know what this book is about.

Goodreads Blurb:
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss. 

Grace Wilde is running - from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who's topped the country music chart five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother's breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start. 

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie's twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol. 

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

The Excerpt:

            “Grace?” Jason whispers.
            But I don’t answer, eyes heavy and lips parted in half sleep.
            Another brush against my hand. A solid, warm pressure. My brain jolts awake when Jason threads his fingers through mine. I swallow hard, and my breathing accelerates.
            I risk a quick peek at Jason, my eyes squinted so I can shut them again at a moment’s notice. He peers out his window still, but instead of tension making the lines of his body sharp, he angles himself toward me, muscles relaxed. A soft smile plays at the edges of his lips, and his fingers twitch against mine, our palms pressed together.
            Does he think I’m asleep? Should I tell him I’m awake? My mind races through possible motivations for him grabbing my hand, followed by what might happen if I revealed my not being asleep. He would probably say something mean, and we wouldn’t talk for the rest of the trip. So I just keep my mouth shut and let him hold my hand.
            And enjoy it entirely too much. 

Sounds good, right? 

My Review: 

Hello, I Love You’ was amazing. Immediately after I finished it, I had to read it again. It was that good. And honestly, before reading the book I was a bit worried that the book was hyped up too much and that my expectations would be too high. Thankfully, this book not only met said expectations, but also exceeded them.

First off, I’ll discuss the characters. There was Grace Wilde, the main character. She was smart, funny, incredibly sarcastic – which was awesome – and let’s not forget courageous. Straight off the bat, it was easy to see that Grace wasn’t the most innocent of teenagers. There was some event that scarred her for life, and this bit of knowledge completely changed the way I perceived her actions – she most definitely wasn’t some sniveling, timid girl in high school. No, she had a backbone, and she wasn’t afraid to let anybody and everybody know that. And, yes, most heroines in books have this quality or grow into it, but those heroines are the ones fighting dragons in some other dimension. Grace was the real deal, with the verve and determination, in a world that actually resembles the society that we live in today – no dragons involved.

And then there was Jason Bae, the KPOP idol. He was a total TDH. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it stands for Tall, Dark and Handsome. In other words, he was an utterly swoon worthy character. The minute Ms. Stout introduced him, it was too late. Both Grace and I were head over heels in love with him. As the book progresses, you also get a better handle of who Jason is. He becomes someone who you can actually trust, someone who’ll listen to your problems and actually be there for you. He basically becomes the perfect boyfriend. And trust me, reading this book ruins other guys.

Next, let’s discuss the romance plot, which was basically the whole book. It was gorgeous. Sure, the beginning was a bit slow, but after a while the sparks between Grace and Jason were flying! There were quite a few incredibly cute moments where I was screaming for the two of them to stop being stupid and realize how much they liked each other. It was absolutely aggravating how long it took for them to get together, but it was that aggravation that made the ending even more adorable.  Is there anything better than that final moment, the swooping climax where the stars align and everything goes along perfectly? The only problem I had with this book was that some of the romantic gestures/scenes were a bit clichéd, but that was such a small problem.

So a few things to keep in mind about this book: the ending is phenomenal. The beginning and middle are also good but they're a bit slower. The romance plot is fantastic - absolutely impossible to put down. Additionally, this book met and exceeded all expectations I had for it. And finally, it's total chick-lit; I would definitely recommend it to anybody who likes to read YA romance novels. In summary, Ms. Stout has written a first-rate debut novel. 

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