Monday, July 12, 2021

Guest Post with Axie Oh - XOXO

Photo Content from Axie Oh

Axie Oh is a first generation Korean American, born in NYC and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California – San Diego and holds an MFA from Lesley University in Writing for Young People. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her puppy, Toro.


Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperCollins (July 13, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063024993
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063024991

Praise for XOXO

“A dreamy dose of K-pop idols and secret romances.” —Maurene Goo, author of Somewhere Only We Know

“With fun K-drama vibes, XOXO delivers a lot of heart and warmth in its protagonist who stays true to herself to the very end.” —Lyla Lee, author of I’ll Be the One

“When it was over, I immediately wanted to read it for the first time again.” —Kasie West, author of The Fill-In Boyfriend

“Simply put, this book made me happy. I guess you could say . . . I’m just a big fan.” —Emery Lord, author of The Map from Here to There

“A handwritten letter to falling in love and opening yourself up to the world. A delicious treat!” —Aminah Mae Safi, author of Tell Me How You Really Feel

“A feel-good, page-turning, swoony read!” —Gloria Chao, author of American Panda and Rent a Boyfriend

“A sparkling story of self-discovery—I was utterly charmed.” —Sarah Kuhn, author of I Love You So Mochi

“An utterly delightful love song dedicated to the intersection between dreams and romance." —Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running with Lions

“Immensely fun, funny, and romantic.” —Emma Mills, author of Lucky Caller and First & Then

"K-pop helps a cellist develop musically and emotionally in this novel filled with humor and theatrics. Themes of responsibility, regret, and reconciliation weave through the intergenerational dynamics in Jenny’s family, adding dimension and depth." —Kirkus Reviews

"Oh’s narrative reaches an enjoyable clip that is both accessible to readers unfamiliar with K-pop and pleasing for fans of K-dramas as well as anyone who enjoys a breezy contemporary romance." —Publishers Weekly

Hi, Axie here! Part of the fun of writing a book set in Seoul for readers who might already be familiar with K-dramas and K-pop is including little inside jokes and easter eggs. This is actually a common aspect of K-dramas, wherein the drama writer will often put into the script little parodies and plays on words to amuse and delight viewers. With that spirit in mind, I wanted to share five Easter Eggs in XOXO!

1. BULLETIN, the tabloid in XOXO
  • a. The big tabloid in Korea that’s known for breaking the news on “scandals” in the Korean entertainment industry, including “dating scandals,” is called DISPATCH. When coming up with my own tabloid for XOXO, I put the word “dispatch” into thesaurus and voilĂ , BULLETIN was born.
2. 95D, a boyband in XOXO
  • a. Besides XOXO, there’s another fictional K-pop band in the novel called 95D or 95 The Dream. When coming up with the name for this band, I wanted to playfully tease at the acronym names that a lot of older K-pop groups had, specifically the OG of K-pop boy bands: H.O.T., which stood for High-Five of Teenagers. And so, 95D or 95 The Dream was born, which stands for 9 High-Five The Dream.
3. Catch Me If You Can, a variety show in XOXO
  • a. Running Man is one of the most popular variety shows in South Korea. In the show, the cast, which often features celebrity guests (many K-pop stars have guest starred in episodes), must complete a variety of games and puzzles in order for their team to win, gaining prizes and, more importantly, bragging rights. The games are often physical in nature, and include running around urban settings, hence the name “Running Man.” In XOXO, Jaewoo goes onto a show called Catch Me If You Can, which is a direct reference to Running Man.
4. EBC & Joah Entertainment
  • a. EBC is my fake broadcasting network in XOXO which is a play on the three biggest broadcasting television networks in Korea: KBS, SBS, and MBC. As for my entertainment company, instead of having initials for a company name, like SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment (which are all initials of the founders’ names), I named my company Joah, which has several meanings in Korean, one of which is “I like (you).”
5. Characters that are only mentioned once
a. If a character appears in the book, but isn’t a main character, they’re usually a nod to something or someone. Sometimes it’s personal, like the three women getting their hair permed in the opening chapter who are named after three of my mom’s best friends. While during the “2 Days & 1 night” portion of the book, the MC’s who host the talent show are named Sung Minwoo and Lee Yuri. This is a reference to Lee Minwoo of Shinhwa and Sung Yuri of Fin.K.L—two idols from popular 90’s K-pop groups—except I switched their last names. I also reference in passing two actors named Lee Jae Won and Lee Tae Ra at the end of the book, who share the same names as the couple in my debut novel, REBEL SEOUL!

I hope you enjoyed these Easter Eggs! Read XOXO and see if you can discover more! XOXO, Axie

Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

You can purchase XOXO at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you AXIE OH for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of XOXO by Axie Oh.
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