What’s an ultimate bias you may ask? Amongst Korean pop music, or K-Pop, fans, an ultimate bias is your favorite member out of all the groups you love to listen to (as opposed to just a bias, which is your favorite member in any K-pop band). K-Pop has recently exploded in the United States, with groups like BTS, Girls’ Generation, or Blackpink becoming household names. K-Pop combines styles from Western music, such as hip-pop, rap, and R&B, as well as with their own unique South Korean pop and rock influences.
One of my favorite parts of K-pop, or any pop culture influences, is seeing them in the books I read. Diverse authors and diverse experiences are what makes young adult books so amazing! Not to mention when you have great albums to listen to while you read! Below are some of my favorite K-Pop or K-Drama books along with a fun album for you to listen to while you read! Don’t forget to check out the Spotify playlist to go along with these reads here!
K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee
Candace Park has always wanted to sing above the crowd. However, with Korean parents on her tail, she believes she’ll never leave the orchestra she hates to be in. That all changes when she auditions to become a K-pop trainee with one of the biggest labels in the world for their first ever girl band. Candace thought auditioning would be the hardest part, but the real difficulties happen when she gets to Korea and the training begins.
Album: The Album by Blackpink
Shine by Jessica Jung
In this book written by a former K-pop band member (Jessica Jung was a part of Girls Generation for seven years until going solo), follow Rachel Kim in the trainee life at DB entertainment. The other trainees believe she’s a snob and a manager’s pet (like a teacher’s pet). However, all Rachel Kim wants more than anything is to debut and to show everyone one of her fellow trainees wrong. However, after making a huge mistake, she worries that might never happen.
Album: Girls’ Generation by Girls’ Generation
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
On paper, Desi Lee looks like an exceptional Stanford bound candidate. However, she has one glaring flaw. She’s a flailure (a flirting failure). While that kind of thing doesn’t go on college applications, Desi wants the new boy to like her back. She turns to her father’s love of Korean drama and creates a mathematical formula in order to win over the new guy!
Album: Bingle Bangle by AOA
I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Skye Shin is not what any of the judges expected on the talent competition to become a K-pop idol trainee. First off, she sings and dances amazingly. However, her body type is not ideal for being a K-pop idol, or so says a judgemental judge. Skye Shin has heard all her life that she’s simply too big. You know what’s really big? Her ambition, drive, and talent to become the best, body positive, k-pop idol she can be!
Album: Feel Special by TWICE
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Jihoon has never believed in the fairy tales his Halmeoni told him as a child. That is, until he’s attacked by a goblin in the woods and a nine tailed fox girl saves him. Miyoung is a gumiho, a girl with the spirit of the nine-tailed fox living within her. In her rash decision to save Jihoon, she loses her fox bead, her gumiho soul, and must figure out how to retrieve it. As she searches for answers, fate seems to push Jihoon into her path.
Album: The Perfect Red Velvet by Red Velvet
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Lucky has it all. She’s a K-Pop Queen about to make her debut in America, famous beyond her wildest imagination. But all she wants right as she’s falling asleep is a hamburger. Jack has very little to his name. Despite working for his father, he’s also taking pictures for a tabloid to help pay the bills. All he wants is a lucky break. When these two find each other in this 24 hour, whirlwind romance, sparks will fly!
Album: Red Moon by MAMAMOO
Comeback: A K-Pop Story by Lyn Ashwood and Rachel Rose
Emery Jung is living every idol’s dream. His K-Pop group NEON is on the rise again, until an unexpected face returns to life. From a time before he was famous, Emery’s feelings for the girl get in the way, making a vital mistake at the height of their comeback. Alana Kim is trying to forget a tragedy. She’s hoping by staying busy as an assistant to LilyRed, an all girl K-Pop group, she can keep her head above the waters. However, a chance meeting with a boy from her past may force her to face her fears and to understand herself.
Album: DNA by BTS