7 Books About K-Pop That Should Be on Every Fan's Reading List

7 Books About K-Pop That Should Be on Every Fan’s Reading List

While K-pop has been around for decades, it’s become especially popular in recent years. Groups like BTS and Blackpink are always at the top of the music charts. Seeing as K-pop is on everyone’s mind right now, it’s no surprise that a lot of authors have drawn inspiration from the K-pop industry and fan culture to pen their latest stories. So many books about K-pop focus on aspiring idols chasing their dreams and learning what it really takes to survive in the K-pop world. There are also stories about forbidden love between K-pop idols, as well as K-pop stars unexpectedly falling for non-famous people.

For those who prefer nonfiction, there are also plenty of books about K-pop dedicated to real-life groups. They often document stars’ journey to fame — from their humble beginnings as trainees to their experiences as full-fledged K-pop idols. So if you’re eager to learn more about the industry, here are 16 books about K-pop that you’re sure to love.

"How to Speak K-Pop" by Jungho Park

“How to Speak K-Pop” by Jungho Park

“How to Speak K-Pop” ($12) is a guidebook that helps you learn and understand the most popular Korean words and phrases used in Korean popular culture. In addition to the definitions, the book provides the pronunciations and cultural backgrounds of the words as well. It even gives you real-life examples of how slang could be used among K-pop fans or in your favorite Korean dramas or movies.

"Once Upon a K-Prom" by Kat Cho

“Once Upon a K-Prom” by Kat Cho

Elena Soo and Robbie Choi are childhood best friends who promised each other they’d go to prom together. However, after Robbie moves to Korea and becomes a famous K-pop idol, Elena thinks they’ll never see each other again. That all changes when Robbie shows up at her door hoping to fulfill their childhood promise. Although she wants nothing more than to accept his invitation, Elena can’t help but hesitate due to Robbie’s legion of fans and the paparazzi that constantly follow him. Read how the story ends in “Once Upon a K-Prom” ($12).

"Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS" by BTS and Myeongseok Kang

“Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS” by BTS and Myeongseok Kang

“Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS” ($24) documents the past decade of BTS’s career, from their time as trainees to becoming the world’s biggest K-pop stars. The group’s success story is told through interviews with all seven members of BTS, which were conducted by journalist Myeongseok Kang. The book also features unreleased photos of the group and over 330 QR codes that’ll take readers directly to all the videos, songs, and blog posts mentioned by the members throughout the interviews.

"XOXO" by Axie Oh

“XOXO” by Axie Oh

“XOXO” ($11) centers on an aspiring cellist named Jenny who falls for a cute boy named Jaewoo after spending a magical night with him in Los Angeles. Jenny is forced to say goodbye to him when he returns home to Korea. However, when she begins attending an elite arts academy in Seoul, Jenny is surprised to run into Jaewoo at her new school and is even more shocked to learn that he’s actually a famous K-pop idol. Because his company forbids him from dating, Jenny must choose whether she should follow her head and forget about Jaewoo or follow her heart and give their love a chance.

"K-Pop Confidential" by Stephan Lee

“K-Pop Confidential” by Stephan Lee

“K-Pop Confidential” ($11) follows a Korean American girl named Candace Park who has always dreamed of becoming a K-pop idol. One day, she decides to audition for a music label that represents SLK, her favorite K-pop group. However, with so many people competing for a spot in the company’s new girl group, Candace never expected to actually be one of the lucky ones picked. When she’s asked to become a trainee, Candace excitedly moves to Korea to follow her dreams — but quickly realizes that there’s more to being a K-pop idol than just fame and glory.

"Fireworks" by Alice Lin

“Fireworks” by Alice Lin

“Fireworks” ($10) is about a 17-year-old girl named Lulu Li whose neighbor and childhood friend Kite Xu grew up to become a member of the K-pop group Karnival. After it’s announced that Kite is taking a break from his group for unknown reasons, Lulu is surprised to learn that he’s returned home and wants to reconnect with her. The two eventually develop feelings for each other, but Lulu questions whether they can make a relationship work with the pressures of fame looming over them.

"I'll Be the One" by Lyla Lee

“I’ll Be the One” by Lyla Lee

In “I’ll Be the One” ($11), Skye Shin is determined to become the first plus-size K-pop idol. After nailing an audition for a major televised K-pop competition, Skye joins the show and tries her hardest to turn her dream of debuting into a reality. Although Skye learns that being in the spotlight isn’t easy, especially with everyone having an opinion on her body, she’s able to rely on her new friends, including fellow competitor Henry Cho, for support.

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