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These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List

In case you had yet to figure it out, we at THP are pretty big K-POP stans. We are also quite avid bookworms. So when you combine the two together, you’re going to have our full attention. When our two worlds started to collide, we couldn’t believe our luck. A few years on, there are a number of exciting K-POP novels on the scene and they are nothing short of amazing. Our only problem is that we now stan fictional groups, as well as our IRL faves, and we even bias non-existing members! The struggle is real, but worth it. So, of course, being the kind people that we are, we are sharing with you a list of K-POP novels that you need on your TBR list stat. You’re absolutely welcome.

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP APINK books
Image Source: Gifer

Hey, honey! Just so you know, there are some links in this article which we may earn money from if you make a purchase using them. It’s at no extra cost to you and helps us as an independent publication massively. Thanks for supporting The Honey POP!

Content warning: These books share common themes that revolve around the K-POP industry and discuss topics such as eating disorders, fatphobia, body shaming, sexism, misogyny, mental health challenges, cussing, and verbal abuse. The Honey POP encourages mindful reading and always checking the author’s website for any additional content warnings.

Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young
Image Source: Walker Books

Idol Gossip is the debut novel by Alexandra Leigh Young that follows the story of Alice Choi as she becomes used to her new life in South Korea following her move from America. After being scouted by a vocal coach from Top10 entertainment, Alice is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she couldn’t have even dreamed of and is taken on as the newest trainee at the company. However, not far from the glitz and glam surrounding idols, is the hard-hitting reality of the amount of work and not-so-beautiful life encounters behind the scenes, including those notorious gossip blogs and sasaengs. Idol Gossip is an exciting look at the more realistic side of being a K-POP idol and trainee which allows us to view the industry from another perspective without actually prying on any real lives. Having made the move from America to Korea once upon a time, Young uses her real-life experiences to help tell Alice’s stories while using her knowledge as a fan. 

Content warning: Brief mention of suicide and a brief scene of non-consensual sexualization.

Get the book here.

Shine by Jessica Jung

K-POP Novels To Add To Your TBR List Immediately The Honey POP Shine by Jessica Jung Girls Generation
Image Source: Simon and Schuster

Who better to write a K-POP novel than a K-POP idol? Former Girls Generation member and K-POP soloist Jessica Jung released her debut novel back in September 2020 that sees seventeen-year-old Korean-American trainee Rachel Kim who is desperate to make her debut. Having been a trainee with DB Entertainment for six years, she knows everything there is to know about what it takes to be an idol – training every waking moment, being perfect, and not dating – and with the company planning on debuting a new girl group, she is determined to be in that line-up. But what happens when the dark scandals of an industry that controls and commodifies the beautiful girls, begin to rise? Will she end up on top, or have her dreams crushed? And when she starts to develop feelings for DB golden boy and K-POP star Jason Lee, things feel even more difficult. Using her own experience and knowledge in the K-POP industry, Jessica takes us on a journey showing us what it really takes to shine. What’s even more exciting is that the sequel to Shine titled Bright will be released in May 2022!

Get the book here.

I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee

K-POP Novels To Add To Your TBR List Immediately The Honey POP I'll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Image Source: HarperCollins

Debut author Lyla Lee takes us on a totally different journey into the world of K-POP that is full of body positivity, confidence, and even some queer representation. Skye Shin is no stranger to the usual unsolicited comments: fat girls shouldn’t dance, wear bright colors, or draw attention to themselves. But that didn’t stop her from dreaming of becoming a K-POP idol. In order to achieve her dreams, she breaks all the rules set by society, the media, and even her mother. Lyla is proud of who she is and knows she has got what it takes to compete with all the idols who fit into the mold and the expectations they are held to. This book tackles these taboo subjects in the industry head-on and portrays how anyone in her position has to navigate these particular issues in Korean society. For anyone who dreams of pursuing a career as an idol, this book brings encouragement and inspiration in the form of Skye, who goes out of her way to challenge the problematic beauty standards, all while staying true to who she is.

Content warning: Trauma inflicted by parent.

Get the book here.

Heart & Seoul by Erin Kinsella

K-POP Novels To Add To Your TBR List Immediately The Honey POP Heart & Seoul Erin Kinsella
Image Source: Tychis Media

A K-POP book with K-Drama vibes is perfect for any fan of the two interests, and that’s exactly what Heart and Seoul is. In the story, best-selling author Tessa Flies heads to South Korea’s capital of Seoul to meet the cast and crew of the film adaptation of her book. Much to her surprise, the lead is played by none other than the idol who she’s had a crush on for the longest time! A member of one of the biggest K-POP groups out there, Baek Eun Gi is struggling to feel the fulfillment that his career once gave him and has changed his focal point as an attempt to reignite his passion. The pair meet and things get kinda chaotic and their worlds get flipped upside down, but maybe for the better? With queer representation, heart-fluttering moments, and easy-to-love characters, this is a romance book that will have you swooning for sure.

Content warning: Sexual situations, mentions of child abuse, PTSD.

Get the book here.

K-POP Confidential by Stephan Lee

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP K-POP Confidential Stephan Lee
Image Source: Scholastic

The last thing that regular Korean-American girl Candace Park ever imagined was secretly signing up for a global audition for a major music label, and ending up earning a place in their vigorous trainee program. She has to convince her strict parents to go which is already impossible, yet not a patch on what she’s set to experience. Under her new label, Candace is expected to get her performance skills to the utmost perfection, learn how to speak Korean fluently, and have an understanding of the pecking order of her fellow trainees, not to mention knowing and following all of the strict rules of the industry. With the number one rule being “NO DATING,” things become impossible to follow when she crosses paths with a heartthrob of a boy trainee.  K-POP Confidential follows Candace in her new life as she navigates the K-POP world, trying to succeed and stay clear of any scandals while trying to make it as an idol. This is another great read that delves into the world of the K-POP industry and is fused with realism, dramatics, and a plot you’ll struggle to tear yourself away from. And if you’re like us and find this a book you cannot get enough of, the sequel K-POP Revolution will be releasing in April!

Get the book here.

The Beautiful Dead by Jun Prince

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP The Beautiful Dead by Jun Prince
Image Source: Apollo & Nyx Publishing

Taking a different approach to a K-POP novel, The Beautiful Dead is a paranormal story that’s sure to send shivers down your spine. The leader of SIITY, Yunbin, is aware of the fact she’s different from her fellow members. She doesn’t even like them and wasn’t even keen on giving up school to become an idol in the first place. She’d much rather be connecting with her former schoolmate Jieun, even if they only ever communicate through text. Their friendship grows stronger as a connection to the real world that Yunbin strives for. Things take an unfathomable turn when Yunbin finds out Jieun actually died five years ago. Not being the only member of SIITY dealing with ghosts of both the literal and figurative type, the only way for this girl group to free themselves of their hauntings and get through their debut is by working together, much to their dislike. The Beautiful Dead is a standout book when it comes to K-POP novels and ideal for stans who love paranormal fiction.

Content warning: Sexual abuse, gore, death, violence.

Get the book here.

Scandalized by Tara Frejas

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP Scandalized by Tara Frejas
Image Source: Amazon Digital Services LLC

If you’re like us, there’s a chance you’ve dreamed about working in the music industry, maybe even K-POP. In your head, things are all sunshine and roses but Scandalized reminds us that not everything is a walk in a park. Filipina roadie Fi Legaspi is working in Seoul as the road manager for one of the hottest K-POP bands, and she’s living a dream until she finds herself amidst a scandal with a witch-hunt of angry fans. When things get too much, Fi is in need of the comfort of her home and much to her surprise, not the person she had been pining over for years. Her career is in jeopardy along with her heart and now she has to make the decision to walk away from the life she has built and loved or decide if it’s something worth fighting for. Scandalized has a strong focus on Korean fan culture and how things can tend to go too far. It’s a great reminder that when heated fandoms are quick to throw blame, the anger is directed at an actual person who also gets affected by this. It highlights the flaws within the entertainment industry and how we, as fans, can play our part.

Content warning: Mentions of self-harm, death threats, cyberbullying.

Get the book here.

Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho
Image Source: Disney Book Publishing Inc.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to go to prom with your bias? Once Upon A K-Prom will let you live that dream vicariously through the world of Elena Soo. Being someone who lives in the shadows of her family and friends, Elena is someone who is full of uncertainties in her life, except for the fact she does not want to go to her high school prom. But when superstar K-POP idol Robbie Choi shows up at her house with a proposal to prom, Elena is pretty taken back. Robbie happens to be Elena’s childhood best friend, one with who she made a pact as a kid to go to prom together. Being a successful idol, Robbie seems nothing like her sweet, charming, and goofball of a best friend she once knew and even loved. And who would want to make prom memorable for the boisterous fans, antis, and paparazzi anyway? Even if Robbie is still kinda cute. Once Upon A K-Prom is the dream that we never want to wake up from and is like the perfect fanfic that allows you to live the best of Y/N in Elena’s shoes.

Pre-order the book here.

XOXO – Axie Oh

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP XOXO By Axie Oh
Image Source: HarperCollins

Jenny is a cello prodigy who transfers from Los Angeles to an elite arts academy in South Korea, and to her surprise, a boy named Jaewoo, who she once met at her uncle’s karaoke bar back home, is a fellow student. But not just your typical student: he’s a member of one of the world’s biggest K-POP bands, with a strict dating ban enforced by his company. A forbidden romance that jeopardizes everything that she has spent years working for and planning, Jenny needs to decide just how much she is willing to risk for love. For anyone who enjoys the forbidden love trope, XOXO is one that will hit you in the feels with the adorable blossoming romance between Jenny and Jaewoo and thrill you with the rule-breaking. Not to mention, the supporting characters are just as loveable!

Content warning: Sick family member, mention of deceased parent.

Get the book here.

Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Image Source: Simon & Schuster

This book is a bit different from the others on the list because rather than focusing on K-POP itself, it follows the tale of two Korean-American students running Korean beauty businesses. Given how so many of us K-POP fans love ourselves some K-Beauty and many of us even run small businesses, it definitely feels like a book we had to include in this list!

Valerie and her cousin, Charlie, have become entrepreneurs creating V&C Beauty, the most successful student-run enterprise. For every sale, Valerie becomes one step close to achieving her dream of taking her halmeoni to her dream city of Paris. But when new kid Wes steps onto the scene selling K-POP branded beauty products, it could be the only thing that helps pay for the music school tuition he dreams of that his parents refuse to pay. This spells competition for Valerie as Wes becomes V&C Beauty’s biggest competitor. Cue Valerie and Wes going head to head in the attempt to take the crown as the best business in school, while pressing down any feelings for each other on the way. The competition gets hot and intense, and it’s clear that only one Korean business can make it to the top. This is such an exciting book for suckers of the enemies-to-lovers trope that love a bit of rivalry and is sure to get you shipping the OTP, whether they intended to have feelings for each other or not.

Content warning: Hospitalization of family member, toxic relationship among secondary characters.

Get the book here.

Play it by Ear by Tara Frejas

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP Play It By Ear by Tara Frejas
Image Source: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Taking place in the same universe as Scandalized, Play It By Ear is the second installment of Frejas’ Backstage Pass series, though you don’t necessarily need to read the first before this one (but the cameos of characters definitely make it more exciting, if you ask us!)

Jo Yihwan of EGP hesitantly takes the place of his bandmate, Steven Bae, in a reality TV talent contest and knows he’s in it to win it while representing his band. When Yihwan meets his valorous teammate and trainee Ha Yoojung, he unexpectedly feels magnetized by her radiant personality as the competition progresses. And little did he know that she had a major secret that could jeopardize them winning that grand prize. An awkward meet between the pair ignites something exciting and they make one heck of a team together. Similar to Scandalized, we see a lot of reality highlighted from the Korean entertainment industry, which is a great reminder of how not everything is perfect amongst the smoke and mirrors. Play It By Ear has the right amount of romance without derailing from the plot and gives us white knuckles as we hold onto the rollercoaster ride it takes us on, but we love every moment of it!

Content warning: Mentions of sexual assault.

Get the book here.

See Also

Comeback by Lyn Ashwood & Rachel Rose

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP Comeback by Lyn Ashwood & Rachel Rose
Image Source: Ashwood & Rose Llp

Told from two alternating perspectives, Comeback follows the stories of Emery Jung and Alana Kim, two people living in different worlds until one day they both collide. Emery, also known by his stage name M, is living the dream as an idol in the rising K-POP group NEON until a slip up has major consequences. Meanwhile, Alana is dealing with grief following a tragic loss and flees to her family in Korea, leaving her love of music behind. But everything changes when she literally runs into M. The pair have to unite in order to stop a scandal that could jeopardize the success of NEON, igniting a new friendship full of love and healing. But with fame and love not being the best pairing, will things end up going their way?

Full of growth, healing, and emotions, Comeback is a beautiful story with some real strangers-to-lovers content that will pull at your heartstrings. There’s also plenty of bromance and great friendships that are truly just as admirable.

Content warning: Mentions of suicide, grief.

Get the book here.

Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP  Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence
Image Source: Hatchette

Stepping away from idol stories is Eight Pieces of Silva. Becks and Silva are stepsisters and total opposites, but they have a mutual love of K-POP (relatable!). When their parents go to Japan on their honeymoon, Becks and Silva are home alone, until Silva disappears. Going into the privacy of Silva’s room, Becks finds the first of eight clues that piece together the secrets of Silva’s life. Fueled by mystery, secrets, loss, family complications, and a bond over K-POP, Eight Pieces of Silva is definitely something many of us can resonate with, in the sense of how things we are a fan of can often bring comfort to us during hard times. With great POC and LGBTQIA+ inclusion, this book is definitely one that will feel the most realistic and relatable. Not to mention the gripping mystery you can’t help but want to solve!

Content warning: Focus on deceased parent, grief, cancer, anxiety.

Get the book here.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP   Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Image Source: Macmillan

In a fast-paced thrill of a one-day romance, aspiring journalist Jack runs into K-POP superstar Lucky in a luxurious hotel and their whirlwind of a journey together starts. Jack makes a rookie mistake as a paparazzo and fails to recognize Lucky. All he sees is a hungry-looking, PJ-wearing girl who is on the hunt for a hamburger. To Lucky, this is her once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to temporarily escape the pressure of her career, explore the city of Hong Kong, and grab some good food. But will Jack realize her true identity and take advantage of the situation to benefit his career? Or is he willing to put feelings and friendship first and foremost? Giving very much Roman Holiday feels, this thrilling and expeditious story is invigorating and enjoyable, filled with lots of cute moments and that feeling of being spontaneous. Imagine spending the day with your bias? Sign us up, please!

Get the book here.

Stay With Me by Tara Frejas

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP  Stay With Me by Tara Frejas
Image Source: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Stay With Me is the third book in the Backstage Pass series and serves as a supplemental read to the first two books. When Fi gets injured in an accident, her boyfriend insists for her to move in with him until she recovers. Having become quite the independent gal since her move to Seoul and working at the entertainment company, Fi hesitantly takes Gabe’s offer. Will living together be the make or break of the relationship?

This novella is short, sweet, and is that quick fix of the characters we grew to love from the series. Seeing the relationships blossom and take on new challenges is exciting and gives us that little bit more from the OTP, and we love how it fits so seamlessly between Scandalized and Play It By Ear.

Content warning: Car accident.

Get the book here.

K-POP+ reading = a match made in THP heaven!

These K-POP Novels Are A Must-Add For Your TBR List The Honey POP  BTS RM Namjoon reading GIF
Image Source: GIPHY

Have you read any of these books? Do you know of more K-POP-inspired novels? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!

Need more K-POP content? We gotchu!

Wanna grow your TBR list? We got the recs!

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