Published: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: Hardcover, 336 pages
10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.
11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.
12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.
A Delightfully Fun, Adorable and Moving YA Contemporary
Somewhere Only We Know didn’t completely give me ALL the swoony heartwarming FEELS I love, but it was still fun, whimsical and quite moving.
I really enjoyed reading I Believe in a Thing Called Love and Maurene Goo is one of the sweetest authors I’ve met. She’s just as adorable as her characters and her writing is easy to read and has its own quirky charm so of course I was excited for this book. I mean that cover is so cute and just screams swoony fun romance. I also like instalove every now and then depending on the story and 24 hour romances are pretty entertaining. Maybe it doesn’t quite work all the time, but I have enjoyed them in the past so I thought I would too with this book. While Somewhere Only We Know was delightful and entertaining, I didn’t wholeheartedly fall in love with the story. It just never quite hit that sweet spot. I will say this though… the ending, while a little too convenient for a HEA conclusion, still made my heart melt and I even teared up a little bit.
I thought Lucky and Jack were wonderfully intriguing characters. They weren’t always the best versions of themselves, but their flaws and vulnerabilities made them real for me. Lucky was talented, genuine, sweet, quirky and just so funny sometimes. She seriously had me laughing a few times. But, she was also struggling to find herself and the courage to do what makes her happy. With Jack… well at first I liked him, but then I was back and forth for a long time. His motives weren’t always in the right place. He acted selfish, but then he would do something quite noble and kind. He was protective of Lucky, but he was also lying to her. I was quite frustrated with him, but I guess that’s just how teenagers are when they’re trying to figure out who they want to be. Jack did eventually win me over and what he did for Lucky in the end was sincerely so sweet.
The supporting characters seemed pretty interesting even though they weren’t really there for most of the story. I liked Jack’s best friend Charlie and thought he was quite funny. I think I would have liked to get to know him more and see more interactions between him and Jack. It seemed like they had a great friendship. I also really liked the parents and how they were amazingly supportive of their children. I loved the sibling relationships too. I wish I could have known the side characters a bit more, but I do understand that the story had to focus on Lucky and Jack.
I liked the romance and I thought it was cute and adorable. I just wasn’t completely convinced with Lucky and Jack’s feelings for each other and honestly, I never really felt that spark between them. I didn’t feel that they were really and truly in love with each other. To me, it seemed like they were perfect as friends who deeply care about each other… But as a couple, I just didn’t feel it. That being said, I thought their bantering was fun and they shared some heartwarming moments. Their dialogues and most of their interactions were silly and absurdly amusing. They made me laugh a few times and I thought their 24 hour romance adventure was entertaining. I also really liked that they shared thought-provoking and emotional conversations. I liked that they challenged each other and also inspired each other to go after what makes them happy.
It’s quite difficult for me to really LOVE a book when I can’t get into it right away and/or for most of the story. The beginning of this book was a bit slow for me and the plot, while interesting to some extent, didn’t completely captivate me. I did like exploring Hong Kong with Lucky and Jack and really enjoyed their food trips. I loved that Lucky was adventurous with her food choices and that made me really hungry. I enjoyed the hilarious moments and all the wonderful mishaps. It was a fun story.
This wasn’t my favorite from Goo, but all in all, I thought the story was an enjoyable, hilarious, and adorable whirlwind teen romance. I laughed quite a bit, swooned a little, and had a wonderful time going on this delightful adventure with Lucky and Jack. Do I wish it was a bit MORE? Yes, absolutely. But, it was a lighthearted, easy, and fun read. It was also meaningful and I loved the message about chasing your dreams and ultimately living the life you want and doing what makes you happy. Would I read more books by Goo? Definitely! Just because I wasn’t entirely in love with this, doesn’t mean I won’t be with her upcoming books.
I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
(Quotes taken from the ARC and might slighty differ from the final publication)
The whole point of love was that you truly felt it, that it was so strong that you had to be with that person, as if drawn by some otherwordly force.
It’s not a gift, it’s work. That’s what you do when you have a dream, Jack. When you care about stuff. You go for it. You don’t take the path of least resistance, and you don’t give up!
Pursuing your dreams was worth it. That your dreams could change and that change might be hard. But you should still try. Because anything short of that wasn’t a quality life.
This feeling right now? The tingles and light-headedness? It was the anticipation of something extraordinary. Something special with another human being who was going to leave an incredible mark on your life and change you forever. Drawn together by an otherwordly force. I recognized it for the first time in life.
MAURENE GOO is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults, including
I Believe in a Thing Called Love and The Way You Make Me Feel.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cat, Maeby.