September 16, 2020

Friends with ARCs: Fable + Shine

Adrienne Young's latest book release Fable centers around a young woman of the same name. Fable has survived four years making her own way on an island of thieves, and is determined to find a way off the island so that she can find her father and claim her rightful place at his side. She enlists the help of a young trader named West and his crew to make her journey, only to discover upon her arrival that her father's business and the young crew she's been forming relationships with might not all be what they seem.

Having now read three books from Young, I can say with confidence that she really knows how to tell a story. She's got a knack for teasing out immersive worlds, compelling plots and likable main characters with her words. I knew from the moment I started Fable that it was going to be something special. And I was right! It swept me up completely, holding me hostage to the tale until I hit the end (and that ending put me deep in my feels, thank you). I really did genuinely enjoy all of its specific aspects: the world of the Narrows, 'trading' ships and deep sea diving; the characters that felt like living, breathing persons I could have met in real life (particularly Fable herself); the plot that had me along for the ride from page one. It all came together beautifully, and I know for sure that this is my favorite of Young's work so far.

In case it isn't obvious, I loved Fable a whole lot and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

Share a memory of being on a boat/ship. When I was younger and growing up in Bacolod in the Philippines, one of our favorite family (and eventually friends started coming along too) weekend trips was to take a boat out to a sandbar from a town a couple hours away. If I close my eyes, I can remember the feeling of the sea spray on my face, the salty tinge to the air, the feel of the bamboo under my hands and the sound of the motor chugging away and drowning out the sound of the waves.

Pub Info: September 1, 2020 by Wednesday Books | Add it on Goodreads | Buy the book!

You don't necessarily have to know all about K-pop in order to enjoy reading Shine, though I can imagine that if you do (especially if you are a fan of author Jessica Jung, who is a K-pop star and the former lead for Girls Generation), it'll only add to your reading experience. Though my knowledge of this world is pretty limited, I still got swept up in the tale of Rachel Kim, a young Korean-American who is training under the team at DB Entertainment in the hopes of achieving her dream of becoming a K-pop star. She's presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when she's invited to collaborate with one of DB's golden boys, Jason Lee. But will the pressure of a life in the spotlight and all that it demands break her before she gets her chance to shine?

Shine reminded me of a couple of other YA books (namely Fireworks and Tiny Pretty Things), though the fact that it centers around K-pop (and the highs and lows of a life in that industry) makes it stand out. It easily engaged me as a reader, keeping a fast pace that alternated between high stakes drama and the more ordinary heartfelt reflections of a girl who is wondering about the path she's chosen. I liked the fact that it really felt like Jung was infusing these dramatic fictional twists with moments that could have been pulled straight out of her own real life experiences. It did make me feel a little more strongly about Rachel's journey than I probably would have been otherwise, and that's always a good thing in my book.

While it isn't a new all-time favorite, Shine was a fun escape from the real world that I enjoyed reading.

Favorite K-pop song or favorite song featuring a K-pop artist? Every time I hear Sour Candy (Lady Gaga x BLACKPINK), I can't stop singing it. It's just so dang catchy, and I really and truly love it. (I can also highly recommend Ice Cream, which is BLACKPINK's latest collaboration and features Selena Gomez).

Pub Info: September 29, 2020 by Simon Pulse | Add it on Goodreads | Buy the book!


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