Today, I’m a part of the blog tour for Katie M. Stout‘s debut novel, HELLO, I LOVE YOU. Thank you so much, Katie for sharing your fan casting for HELLO, I LOVE YOU right here on Hollywood the Write Way and thank you St. Martin’s Griffin for having me as part of the tour! First up, get to know Katie below with a quick bio! Then Katie takes the floor as she shares her vision of her characters. Finally, at the end, check out my review of the book! Here we go!
Katie M. Stout is from Atlanta, Georgia, and works for an international charity that sends her to fun places like Spain and Singapore. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking an unhealthy amount of chai tea and listening to Girls’ Generation, Teen Top, and all her other favorite K-pop tunes.
Photo Credit: Brenna B Photography
HELLO, I LOVE YOU
I had a ton of fun fancasting my characters! Some of them were casted very early on in my brain while I was writing – I actually had two singers in mind while I was writing the rough draft of the book!
While these are who the characters look like in my head, I love hearing other people’s thoughts. I’d love to hear who you think Grace, Jason, Sophie, and everyone else looks like, so hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr with your picks!
Grace – Lily James
I’m a Lily James fan in general. (I mean, how can you not love her as Cinderella?!) Plus, I think she has the perfect hair for Grace. And girl’s got attitude, which totally fits my sassy, broken protagonist.
Images Via: Tumblr
Jason – Jung Yonghwa
Yonghwa was actually the first character I casted in my head. I knew while I was still rough drafting that he was who Jason looked like. Actually, if you’ve ever seen the Korean drama Heartstrings, you may recognize some of the outfits I describe Jason wearing as ones he wore in that drama. I just loved those sweaters and colorful shoes so much!
Sophie – IU
Sophie is another character I knew early on who I would cast. IU has been one of my favorite KPOP singers since I saw her in the drama Dream High, and I think she perfectly embodies Sophie’s sweetness and charm.
Yoon Jae – Ok Taecyeon
I wanted Yoon Jae to be really striking, where you turn your head when he walks by. I also wanted him to have a little bit of a baby face. Really, there’s no one else I could choose for him besides Taecyeon, who’s both super hot and super cute. And really, he’s perfect for the character I would have chosen to date if I were Grace. 😉
Tae Hwa – Seungri
Seungri is one of the hottest guys in KPOP, I think (despite his scandals). And I had to choose someone great for Sophie, who’s probably my favorite character in the whole book. Really, I maybe had too much fun looking for good pictures of him…
Wow! Three of the above casting choices were totally how I imagined them in the book! That’s awesome! Thanks so much, Katie for stopping by the blog to share your fan casting! It was a pleasure having you!
HELLO, I LOVE YOU
HELLO, I LOVE YOU by Katie M. Stout
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Received from Publisher
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Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.
Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.
HELLO, I LOVE YOU is a sweet contemporary romance where the romance creeps up on you which is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t typically read contemporary let alone contemporary romance though it has its issues and they’re not just about the story…
I liked seeing that two rock star families from across the world collided and seeing the parallels among them was quite fun. I loved the incorporation of Grace’s letters to her brother. I do wish we had gotten more from Grace’s family but completely understand why that wouldn’t have worked given the direction and focus of the story. I found that all of the characters really jumped off the page and really stood out individually which is not easy to execute well. Really loved the attention to detail and the voice. I also really loved the dynamics between the characters and not just between Grace and Jason, though of course that was definitely one of the most captivating growing relationships. Friendships though were just as important in this book which was great to see. I really liked the pacing with the romance relationship though. A slow burn. Realistic. Very much appreciated.
I enjoyed following the journeys these characters went on and found the setting of Korea to be quite refreshing. But yes, there were a number of cultural markers that were cliché and yes, at times I found myself growing tired of Grace’s repetitive POV as the outsider in Korea (as being a minority myself, I know there was so much more that could have been tackled here in regards to being an outsider) and WOW, Grace shamelessly really wasn’t the poster child for an American wanting to embrace another culture. She admits in the end that she’s scared and I believe that fear is tied up in so many things, not just in what she loves and has lost. It’s a harsh reality, Grace being so cut off from the world while purposefully living in another country and all of this will rub many people the wrong way. Rightfully so. Its problematic showcasing a privileged girl going out of her way to become the minority and then complain about it the entire time.
I thought Korea would be my escape, the place my past couldn’t find me. But I was wrong. I have no more places to run.
There is a really intriguing, captivating story here about longing for what we often see as unattainable while we miss the beauty in what’s right in front of us or try to show others that same beauty… and facing what we’ve been running from all along. Facing it because it’s worth it. She’s worth it but it takes our main character quite some time to figure that out and even as she does, it might be too little too late for the reader because it comes near the end and there’s no time to unpack all of this. She needs to stop punishing herself and sabotaging her present and future, especially in this experience of running away and experiencing a brand new way of life. There’s a lot of baggage here with Grace and it’s so fitting that her name is Grace because that’s what she needs to extend. In more ways than one.
Speaking of intriguing… I’ve got to admit, I know nothing about KPop. I’ve always been curious but after reading this book, now I’m more intrigued and may check out some KPop soon. Any suggestions? Anyway, long story short, this is a quick airplane read that will have you wanting to book a trip to Korea with your loved ones to see what it’s really about…maybe even planning to attend a KPop concert while you’re there. You won’t completely connect with the main character, who is still a very naive and privileged young adult. Though it is definitely an interesting character study to that individual. The story flowed, the pacing was on point, the secondary characters were awesome, and the setting was visually pleasing. But the main character will make your head tilt. If you like contemporary romances, check this out at your local book store but read what you can at the bookstore before you buy it!