Lin, Alice. Fireworks. Underlined, 2022. ISBN 978-0593565353 320 pp. $9.99
In this dramatic, friends to lovers teen romance, Kai went from the boy next door and Lulu’s best friend to Kite, a K-pop superstar in the band Karnival. When Kite moves back from Korea on medical leave, Lulu tentatively resumes their friendship, trying to hide her massive crush that goes beyond typical fangirl due to their deep history. Lulu has a close family and tight circle of friends–they make a LOT of cupcakes.
The story moves back and forth in time, both plot wise with inserts of current news clips and blog posts and fan comments, and past emails. The dates usually appear at the end, instead of the beginning of each segment, making the timeline sometimes confusing.
The drama is high, from stories of crazed Fireworks (the name for Karnival’s fanbase) to the real reason Kite left the band to relationship drama. In a side plot, Lulu is mad at her father, who had an affair and started a new family and missed her graduation. Korean culture details (food, music, family values) elevates the story; I was grateful to have a digital copy so I could easily look up unfamiliar terms, like sasaeng (an obsessive, stalkery fan).
As the plot takes place over the summer, there is a requisite Fourth of July scene featuring fireworks. The ending was unsatisfying–unless a sequel is in the works.
I received an advance review copy of #Fireworks via #NetGalley.