Title: K-POP Revolution
Author: Stephan Lee
Summary: In the sequel to K-Pop Confidential, Candace is a Rookie idol. Her life is suddenly filled with the fans, cameras, and glamor of stardom: She and her boyfriend, YoungBae, are a K-Pop power couple; she’s a walking icon at Brandt Foreign School; and her new girl group, known simply as THE GIRLS, is poised to break records across the industry. With her status as the industry’s K-Pop Warrior, she has all the clout at her disposal to make waves. Right?
Her label, S.A.Y., promises to help make the sweeping changes for the industry to become a more humane and compassionate place for artists. But what will happen when the road to a record-breaking debut isn’t as smooth as they’d planned? When a rival girl group emerges to steal the spotlight, carrying the message of change better than Candace ever could, she’ll have to decide what it’ll cost her and her bandmates to stand up for their beliefs. And as the world turns against her, with online bullies scrutinizing her every word, there’s only so much that one person can take.
From the top of the world to the brink of disaster, Candace is going to have to figure out why the world is out to get her. And she’s not going to be able to do it alone.
How far does one girl need to be pushed to start a K-Pop Revolution?
My Thoughts: K-Pop lovers will definitely want to get their hands on this second book from Stephan Lee. Readers saw Candace learn and grow in K-Pop Confidential and here she continues to learn more about herself and the changes she’d like to see within the industry. Readers will need to backtrack if they haven’t yet read the first book. This second installation is written assuming the reader has knowledge of Candace’s K-Pop journey.
As in the first book, Lee shares some of the less pleasant aspects of the K-Pop industry. Of course it is a business first and shareholders expect results, but to what length will people go in their efforts? How much harm should the singers have to endure. These are some of the questions this story asks. Candace loves the K-Pop world but wants it to be a better version of itself. She loves it enough to push the boundaries of how it has always been done and seek change.
I enjoyed getting to know Candace more deeply. She’s not perfect by any means, but that’s what makes her quite relatable. The industry and fans lift idols up so high on a pedestal and there are many opportunities to fall–or be pushed off. It’s easy to make a mis-step. With this sort of system, the individual is meant to merge and blend. They can each be unique, but their differences are carefully curated like favorite colors or a specific special key thing about them. They’re packaged and prepared as a commodity. Candace doesn’t want to throw the whole system away, but wants to work to make things better.
Through all of her struggles, the friendships are what sustain Candace. Her mother and a few caring adults are also supporting her. Her mom is the best. She may not always agree with Candace’s choices, but she is there for support and shares some wonderful advice. I’d nominate her for young adult lit parent of the year.
Recommendation: Get it now if you are interested in K-Pop or in contemporary stories full of young people who are focused and passionate about developing their talents. There’s a little bit to interest most readers with a mix of humor, romance, mystery, and the excitement of high pressure performance.
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: ARC via publisher