Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo: A Cute & Fluffy Romance about a K-Pop Star & Paparrazzo

I love Maurene Goo’s romantic comedies, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, you need to!

They’re absolutely adorable and so cute and fun and bubbly, and I love all of her heroines! So I was very excited to get a chance to read Somewhere Only We Know, and even preordered a copy for myself! (Which I’m rarely able to do, but I just had to for this!)

I was definitely really excited for this Roman Holiday inspired novel, and Somewhere Only We Know was a sweet and fun 24-hour romance that builds a romance through sight-seeing around Hong Kong.

However, there were a few parts that didn’t click with me completely, and I did want a little more from Somewhere Only We Know.

By the end, I found Lucky and Jack to be adorable!

I admit that I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked them and their relationship in the beginning, but by the end, I thought Lucky and Jack were really cute and definitely a good fit!

They’re one of the couples that grow on you—you have to spend more time to decide whether you’re going to like them. I did end up liking them and finding them endearing, and the ending is just as cute as you’d expect!

Goo does a good job of not pushing them too quickly, and it didn’t seem like insta-love or rushed, despite this being a 24-hour novel (okay, not exactly 24 hours, but close!).

Stakes mixed in with all sorts of amazing sights and experiences.

This was probably my favorite part, but Goo does a really good job of building the tension, given the fact that Jack is secretly a paparazzo who needs this scoop in order to keep doing what he loves, photography.

I thought the way Goo mixed in Jack’s building betrayal was done really well, and it helped balance the story and keep it from giving you a toothache because it was sweet.

Plus, all the amazing sights and delicious food? Lucky can EAT and we get to read about so much—bao buns and stinky tofu and so much more. I was practically drooling the whole way through and wished that I was eating everything along with them.

Such a lovely setting, and it helped develop that slow romance that made this so sweet.

I wanted a little more questioning and analysis about the K-pop aspect.

Okay, this is one of the things that I actually was kind of so-so on about this.

I wanted Goo to dive a little further into the world of K-pop, and although she mentions some elements, I thought a lot of it was glossed over. Particularly the way K-pop can appropriate black culture, as well as other elements in the industry that aren’t perfect.

Although Lucky is primarily pop and doesn’t rap etc., I think that was still something that should have been addressed in a book about K-pop, and I was kind of looking for more from the story and how it dealt with this element.

K-pop is definitely complex, and it just felt like Goo skimmed over some parts of it, which wasn’t what I was hoping for. She still mentions things like eating disorders and other issues, but I think Goo did give a very light + glossed over portrayal of the industry. It was meant to be fluffy and light, and for me, it ended up coming across as a little bit false.

I wasn’t entirely hooked on Lucky & Jack.

This was the main part of why this isn’t my favorite Goo novel. Although I loved Lucky and Jack in the end, it took me a while to warm up to them. At first, they felt a kind of underdeveloped, and remained that way for a large chunk of the book.

I just wasn’t as invested as I wanted to be.

Overall, a cute read for Maurene Goo fans!

I was definitely really excited, and although this was not my favorite Maurene Goo book, I’m still really excited for whatever she writes next!

I’d recommend if you’re someone who’s interested in (1) fluff, (2) a really light & sweet & diverse romance, or (3) all the Maurene Goo books. It’s a good read to decompress with, despite some of my issues with it.

3.5 stars

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A K-pop sensation, Lucky is about to make her American debut that will make or break her international career, but in the nights before her debut, she goes out on a wild adventure across Hong Kong, all because she wanted a cheeseburger.

In the process, Lucky meets the charismatic Jack and pretends to be just a regular girl, but Jack has his own secrets. He works to photograph famous people as a paparazzo, and although Jack doesn’t know it’s Lucky at first, he eventually finds out that it’s her as they spend more and more time together, and starts to take pictures of her to sell once they part ways.

Seeing the sights of Hong Kong brings Lucky and Jack closer together, but with Jack’s secret and Lucky’s need to leave, their budding love might blow up in both of their faces.

Content Warning: slightly-extreme dieting (no stance taken, although this book mostly shows Lucky getting to eat & she doesn’t have an ED, her manager does kind of limit what she’s eating & she’s just kept on a specific diet, so something to watch out for if you have an ED)

add to goodreads here

Thank you so much to Nikole @ A Court of Coffee & Books for sending me her ARC to honestly review!

Have you read any of Goo’s novels? What did you think?

15 thoughts on “Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo: A Cute & Fluffy Romance about a K-Pop Star & Paparrazzo

    1. YOU DO . THEY’RE AMAZING. I personally recommend starting with THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL, but I realize that Clara is unlikeable to some, so if you’re not up for unlikeable female characters, then go for I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE <333

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I really enjoyed I Believe in a Thing Called Love. That was just so full of feel good adorableness and the K Drama aspect of it was fantastic. This one sounds like a nice read too, and I could use the decompression lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes omg this is definitely closer to IBiaTCL than The Way You Make Me Feel and is PACKED with all the fun fluff, so definitely pick up if you want decompression! (v glad you enjoyed Desi though—I love her)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maurene Goo easily has the best book covers. I have clearly been missing out because I never knew she had more than one book out already. Which book would you recommend as a starting point? I am ready for cute contemporaries. Let all the fluff begin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES OMG HER BOOKS ARE SO PRETTY AND AESTHETIC

      I have soon to be 3 when this preorder comes in, and the colors are SWOONS.

      my personal fave is The Way You Make Me Feel, but I realize that some people don’t like it because Clara is an unlikeable female protagonist (she grows though!) so if you’re not up for that, start with I Believe In a Thing Called Love! they’re all great, though!

      Like

  3. I am not sure if this particular novel is for me, but the light-heartedness of these types of contemporaries is something I’m looking for, so which of Maurene Goo’s other books would you recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I personally suggest THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL, which I feel like you’ll like more than other people do? People dislike that one bc Clara is unlikeable, but her being unlikeable and stubborn is what makes her likeable to me. She’s a bit brash and doesn’t make the right decisions, but in the end, she learns and grows and this is definitely my fave Maurene Goo (still lighthearted, but a lot more complex and less fluff).

      I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE is also cute–more second hand embarrassment cute awkward scenes. Slightly less coming of age than The Way You Make Me Feel, but you can’t really go wrong with this one either!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! I’m definitely a bit sad about that portion, but still had fun! Thank you, Kelly! I hope it’s still satisfying for you if you read!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great review, Vicky!! This book is probably my favorite of the ones she’s written. I really appreciated how the romance didn’t feel like insta-love despite it occurring over a span of 24ish hours. I also LOVED all the food representation too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fab review. I agree on the kpop part of the story being a little light. I’ve been into kpop for 8 years now and whilst I agree with you that Goo could’ve delved into the darker sides of being an idol she also could have gone into more of the kpop experience as a whole, the good parts too. It felt a bit thin in that regards, there didn’t feel like much to actually show that side of Lucky’s life. If that makes sense

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you! and yes–i’m not super educated on kpop, but I did think it would have played a bigger role onto lucky’s life (the good and the bad) that totally made sense ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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