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BOOK REVIEW: I Guess I Live Here Now By Claire Ahn

BOOK REVIEW: I Guess I Live Here Now By Claire Ahn

Have you ever dreamed of visiting or even living in Korea? We at THP know we have! From trying delicious street food to visiting popular tourist attractions and hidden gems, there’s so much to do! But believe it or not, not everyone is willing to go to Korea, especially not 16-year-old Melody Lee in I Guess I Live Here Now. We’re thrilled to review Claire Ahn’s debut novel, so here are some things we love about this book!

I Guess I Live Here Now cover
Image Source: Penguin Random House

Content Warnings: homophobia

Summary: Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she’s shocked to discover that her parents have decided to move her and her mom out of New York City to join her father in Seoul—immediately! Barely having the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before she’s on a plane, Melody is resentful, angry, and homesick.

But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxe home, meeting cool friends at school, and discovering the alluring aspects of living in Korea–trendsetting fashion, delectable food, her dad’s black card, and a cute boy to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing…until cracks begin to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships, and a lost passion are the prices Melody has to pay for her new life, but is it worth it? 

Diverse Characters

Diverse books are always a pleasure to read, and I Guess I Live Here Now gives us a great story with Asian-American representation. Melody is strong-willed and rebellious in her own way. She fights for what she wants, but she’s also aware of the right time to do so. She doesn’t fall into gender stereotypes, and neither do her friends, Soph and Yura. We also get to read about Melody’s friend Kimbeom, a gay character whose father demands that he needs to fix himself or risk blemishing their family’s public image.

The Romance

What’s a YA novel without a heart-fluttering love story? Melody’s adorable budding relationship with her classmate gives us so many butterflies, from their flirty interactions at school to the subtle (and not-so-subtle) PDA when they’re out with friends. We love when a romance has nice pacing, especially in the time when Melody hesitates going from friends to something more than friends. And these sweet moments give us a buffer for the struggles Melody faces trying to understand her parents and getting her parents to understand who she is.

Image Source: GIPHY

How Relatable It Is

I Guess I Live Here Now also does an amazing job of depicting how children of immigrants can think and feel when it comes to their parents’ and even grandparents’ expectations. Once Melody and her parents start living together again, much of the conflict happens from the pressure of living the life they want for her. Melody doesn’t want to disappoint them or be ungrateful toward them. At the same time, she wants to pursue her own dreams and be her own person. Those types of conversations can be so difficult, and Ahn describes them very accurately. We really love the honest narration and getting to know Melody’s inner dialogue.

The Food Descriptions

And we can’t forget about all the food descriptions that make our mouths water! As if our need to hop on a plane to Korea wasn’t urgent enough, Ahn draws us in even more. We get to experience the taste of authentic Korean cuisine alongside Melody, that we don’t usually get to read about. There’s sweet and savory ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes), soondae (blood sausage), samgyupsal (grilled pork belly), and of course, ramen noodles and convenience store kimbap. We’re already preparing our list of things to try!

I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn is out May 24th and is available for preorder here!

See Also

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Have we convinced you to read I Guess I Live Here Now yet? Let us know what you think on Twitter @TheHoneyPop or on Facebook and Instagram!

Need more book reviews and recommendations? We’ve got plenty!

Want to find books with more K-Drama vibes? Click here!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CLAIRE AHN:
INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

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