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Bright

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The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Shine! Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl in this knockout series from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend, fashion icon, and founder of the international luxury brand, Blanc & Eclare. Couture gowns, press parties, international travel. Rachel Kim is at the top of her game. Girls Forever is now the number-one K-pop group in the wo The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Shine! Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl in this knockout series from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend, fashion icon, and founder of the international luxury brand, Blanc & Eclare. Couture gowns, press parties, international travel. Rachel Kim is at the top of her game. Girls Forever is now the number-one K-pop group in the world, and her fame skyrockets after her viral airport styling attracts the attention of fashion’s biggest names. Her life’s a swirl of technicolor glamour and adoring fans. Rachel can’t imagine shining any brighter. The only thing that’s missing is love—but Rachel’s determined to follow the rules. In her world, falling in love can cost you everything. Enter Alex. When Rachel literally falls head over designer heels into his lap on a crowded metro, she’s tempted to give up her anti-love vows. Alex is more than just heart-stopping dimples and adorably quirky banter. He believes in Rachel’s future—both in music and in fashion. But the higher you rise, the farther you have to fall. And when a shocking act of betrayal shatters her world, Rachel must finally listen to her heart.


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The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Shine! Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl in this knockout series from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend, fashion icon, and founder of the international luxury brand, Blanc & Eclare. Couture gowns, press parties, international travel. Rachel Kim is at the top of her game. Girls Forever is now the number-one K-pop group in the wo The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Shine! Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl in this knockout series from Jessica Jung, K-pop legend, fashion icon, and founder of the international luxury brand, Blanc & Eclare. Couture gowns, press parties, international travel. Rachel Kim is at the top of her game. Girls Forever is now the number-one K-pop group in the world, and her fame skyrockets after her viral airport styling attracts the attention of fashion’s biggest names. Her life’s a swirl of technicolor glamour and adoring fans. Rachel can’t imagine shining any brighter. The only thing that’s missing is love—but Rachel’s determined to follow the rules. In her world, falling in love can cost you everything. Enter Alex. When Rachel literally falls head over designer heels into his lap on a crowded metro, she’s tempted to give up her anti-love vows. Alex is more than just heart-stopping dimples and adorably quirky banter. He believes in Rachel’s future—both in music and in fashion. But the higher you rise, the farther you have to fall. And when a shocking act of betrayal shatters her world, Rachel must finally listen to her heart.

30 review for Bright

  1. 5 out of 5

    sara ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

    october 2021?? this is almost as bad as waiting for a snsd comeback lmao

  2. 5 out of 5

    joana

    "Shine" at least felt like a book. "Bright" feels like Jessica just wanted to rant about her life and call it a day. The 6 year time jump between the two books is so confusing too. Like, I obviously didn't expect the two books to feel the same, but I at least thought they were going to have similar ya cute romance vibes, and Bright isn't that. Actually, I'd say you could even read Bright not having read Shine, because they both feel like completely different stories. All of the members of Girls F "Shine" at least felt like a book. "Bright" feels like Jessica just wanted to rant about her life and call it a day. The 6 year time jump between the two books is so confusing too. Like, I obviously didn't expect the two books to feel the same, but I at least thought they were going to have similar ya cute romance vibes, and Bright isn't that. Actually, I'd say you could even read Bright not having read Shine, because they both feel like completely different stories. All of the members of Girls Forever have such one dimensional personalities. The most developed one is Mina and she sucks a lot (I thought maybe we would get some insight about how maybe her father being a little controlling and expecting a lot of her was what led to her being so competitive, but no). I wish we could've seen more of them (I cannot even diferentiate them. They're not present enough for me to remember anything). We don't get enough moments of them interacting to understand why Rachel feels betrayed or in the need to help them. And, on the topic of Rachel: she's such a Mary Sue. All of the Girls Forever girls treat her so poorly and for some reason she's still helping them and trying to be nice. I'm not saying people like this don't exist, but considering Rachel is obviously a self insert, it just feels like Jessica is trying to get us into her side and see her as this amazing person who never did any wrong (I'm saying this as a Jessica fan). Jessica probably didn't realise how unlikeable Rachel ends up being. Not only that, but as I said on my review for Shine, a lot of the other girls' complaints about her were valid (not the way they articulated them: I don't support bullying, but they were not wrong on seeing what was clearly unfair treatment). Jason not being in the book at all was so weird too, specially considering he was one of the main characters on Shine. And, again, there's just so many unbelievable things happening on this book. I can only suspend my desbelief to a certain extent. If this book was just a little bit of lighthearted silliness like the first one, I think it could be a solid 2 stars (not a good book, but okayishly fun). Bright just feels like Jessica complaining about how life was unfair to her for 200 pages straight. I liked a little bit of the banter between Rachel and Alex, though. A lot of their interactions were cringey (okay, maybe just their first meet is cringey, but it left an impression), but I liked some of the other ones. And I think that this is all I like about Bright. I'll still buy a copy when it gets translated in my country though because I want a Jessica Jung photocard lol.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ This was perhaps the most misogynistic book I've read in a long time. The running theme is that girls are a) petty; b) snide; c) always jealous; and d) manipulative or manipulated; e) really really shallow and stupid. Boys, of course, are sweet but dumb and their only fault can be naivete. The story itself is just a long Mary Sue of wish fulfillment by Jessica Jung: "if I could have the perfect job, it would be as bot More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ This was perhaps the most misogynistic book I've read in a long time. The running theme is that girls are a) petty; b) snide; c) always jealous; and d) manipulative or manipulated; e) really really shallow and stupid. Boys, of course, are sweet but dumb and their only fault can be naivete. The story itself is just a long Mary Sue of wish fulfillment by Jessica Jung: "if I could have the perfect job, it would be as both an idol in the world's biggest K-Pop group and a fashion designer (and everyone will be amazed at my talent). My perfect boyfriend would be Korean American, from an Ivy League School, work in the fashion industry in a powerful position, and be incredibly handsome and without girls all over him that I'd have to fight off." Most of the characters come off as shallow or ridiculously unrealistic. Story: Five years after her debut, Rachel feels she is doing well in the group. But she'd also really like to start a fashion line of purses. Then she meets Alex - a young and very wealthy financier whose clients are from the fashion industry. With his help (read: connections), she can get her Rachel K. purses into important stores. Unfortunately, her bandmates in Girls Forever are jealous of her new line and want to kick her out of the group. The truly remarkable aspect of the book is how many ways Jung finds to make her bandmates look stupid, petty, or vicious. Jealousy of boyfriend, of her younger sister getting success, of her fashion line, even of how she doesn't get caught breaking rules as much as the others (e.g., with boyfriends). It was an endless parade, included all the other girls in the group, and I was getting whiplash reading how each girl tries to screw her over. Rachel does not have one friend anywhere, female or otherwise. It made the corporate greedy executives look boring in comparison when they tried to screw her over too. Apparently, the only female you can trust is either family (sister/mother) or a much older mentor. Of course, since this is wish fulfillment, she finds the perfect boyfriend who does nothing but support her and create opportunities. At least in the previous book, she fought her own battles. Here, she has a Prince Charming to pave the way for her newfound talent in fashion design to show to the best designers. Meanwhile, she spends most of the book being a patient angel and not doing anything mean to her bandmates while they try to destroy both of her careers, sabotage her, steal from her, injury her on purpose, and leak stories to the press to ruin her reputation. The first book was just ok - I wanted more about the inside of the K-Pop industry but it ended up being more about Jessica Jung's personal grievances and how female idols are treated differently than male. This second book is just a Mary Sue with a heavy misogynistic theme. In both books, their lives are shallow, they act on impulse, and there is little to no thought processes going on in anyone's heads. It's enough to make you give up faith in the next generation. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

  4. 5 out of 5

    breana / milkyboos ♡

    i was hoping that since this was a sequel and the “characters” have grown up since we last saw them that 1) jessica jung’s writing/storytelling skills would have improved and 2) there would be interesting and complex character development neither of my hopes came to fruition and i was left instead with the same one dimensional characters who all have extremely uninteresting conflicts with the mc that all left me feeling underwhelmed two whole books spent in this world and i couldn’t care less abo i was hoping that since this was a sequel and the “characters” have grown up since we last saw them that 1) jessica jung’s writing/storytelling skills would have improved and 2) there would be interesting and complex character development neither of my hopes came to fruition and i was left instead with the same one dimensional characters who all have extremely uninteresting conflicts with the mc that all left me feeling underwhelmed two whole books spent in this world and i couldn’t care less about what happened to rachel (though obviously we all KNOW what’s going to happen even though this is supposedly “fiction”) i WISH this was a one star review because i’m angry or upset or disappointed because at least that would mean i felt something about this book. rather, i felt nothing reading it, felt nothing after it, and that is categorically worse.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    lol why would you write a book that is basically about you and make yourself come off as such an entitled unselfaware jerk ???? confusing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yeganeh

    For every hater, I try to look instead to the beacons of light that guide me back to myself. I let my gaze drift over to the large window in Alex’s living room where beams of daylight are streaming through. For a second, they remind me of my fans lighting up the darkness, reminding me why I’m onstage in the first place, and giving me the strength to keep going. I just need to look to them, and I know there will be a path forward. The title comes to me first. “Golden Sky.” A tribute for my fans, w For every hater, I try to look instead to the beacons of light that guide me back to myself. I let my gaze drift over to the large window in Alex’s living room where beams of daylight are streaming through. For a second, they remind me of my fans lighting up the darkness, reminding me why I’m onstage in the first place, and giving me the strength to keep going. I just need to look to them, and I know there will be a path forward. The title comes to me first. “Golden Sky.” A tribute for my fans, who shine brighter than any star. This one’s for you. with Love, J

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abbi

    Shine attempted to tackle the infrastructures of K-pop and how they stifled the young women training to be packaged as “idols”. Bright, on the other hand, attacks the women themselves, insisting that they are the problem, intrinsically catty and unwilling to get along with each other in vicious pursuit of their careers. It’s not that I expected Jessica Jung to be K-pop’s muckraker but this is a book that feels like it was only published as fiction because the author lacked the chutzpah (and lega Shine attempted to tackle the infrastructures of K-pop and how they stifled the young women training to be packaged as “idols”. Bright, on the other hand, attacks the women themselves, insisting that they are the problem, intrinsically catty and unwilling to get along with each other in vicious pursuit of their careers. It’s not that I expected Jessica Jung to be K-pop’s muckraker but this is a book that feels like it was only published as fiction because the author lacked the chutzpah (and legal clearing) to expose the truth. So instead, we get a trite “woe is me” narrative that toes the line of fact and fiction and callously invites its readers to connect the dots. And it doesn’t help its case that the writing is terrible to boot. Bright picks up far from where Shine left us. Rachel Kim has already debuted alongside her fellow DB Entertainment trainees in a nine-member girl group called Girls Forever. Despite years together, it seems no sense of camaraderie has built among the eponymous girls. What has grown is their popularity as they have ascended to the top of the charts and become the top girl group in Korea. Yet, Rachel finds herself wanting more and soon songwriting and fashion design become her creative outputs. When she meets Alex Jeon sparks fly and he encourages her to follow her dreams much to the chagrin of both her company and bandmates. Spoiler alert: not unlike Jessica Jung herself, Rachel Kim inevitably gets kicked out of the band. The book invites us to read its real-life counterparts into it (right down to it all falling apart on 9/30) and I think this is its primary failing. It is tepid tea meant to move numbers by feeding our hunger for gossip instead of offering compelling plotting or character. Everything bad that has ever happened to Rachel Kim is purely driven by bitter bandmates who seemingly only exist to sabotage her thriving career. Unfortunately, this lacking characterization afflicts Rachel’s inner circle as well from her sister whose only trait is being the little sister and her boyfriend who encourages her burgeoning fashion career by having all the right connections yet has little else to him. Perhaps having a middling cast of extras could be forgiven if Rachel herself wasn’t so tiresome. It isn’t that Rachel isn’t flawed: she makes no attempt at befriending her bandmates, she puts on blinders while they struggle, and she misses schedules, but all of this is to be either excused or passed over because it’s Rachel Kim and only Girls Forever would dare be critical of our protagonist. Ultimately, this renders the novel's apex flat: how can we empathise with Rachel's betrayal by her DB/GF "family" when she hardly believed in it to begin with? Perhaps these failings could be forgiven if the book was written more deftly but I constantly found myself recoiling as characters delivered wooden dialogue in between laborious exposition. Often, characters state what is obvious to the reader. While one would hope a deep love for fashion would bleed through in Rachel’s gushing about Balenciaga bags and her designs, there was a stiffness in how this is put across. The Devil Wears Prada is an obvious influence but this novel distinctly lacks anything as punchy as Miranda Priestly’s iconic statement on cerulean blue. Instead Jung writes of bags that “transform from day to night, just like [Rachel] transformed from normal girl into K-pop superstar”. Groundbreaking.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    This one was super cute! I'll admit, I don't have the mental capacity to write a full review for it (AP exams are butchering my soul), but this was a super fun read. I definitely preferred it to the first, the romance was much more enjoyable. And I grew to like Rachel way more. Her fashion journey was super interesting, and I'd love to see more of it. Not sure if this one left the door open for another in the series, but I'd love to see this continued. Thanks to Turn the Page Tours for providing This one was super cute! I'll admit, I don't have the mental capacity to write a full review for it (AP exams are butchering my soul), but this was a super fun read. I definitely preferred it to the first, the romance was much more enjoyable. And I grew to like Rachel way more. Her fashion journey was super interesting, and I'd love to see more of it. Not sure if this one left the door open for another in the series, but I'd love to see this continued. Thanks to Turn the Page Tours for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Estrela

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The drama was more interesting in this book, but the cat-fighting makes me cringe. Again, I understand that this is Jessica's experience since this novel is her way of getting around SM's NDAs. But this is still a fictional story, a story with many misogynist tropes. Let us begin with how Jessica conveys the story by having a man named Alex being her best supporter for her career and never having any quarrels with him. Even if Alex was empathetic towards Rachel, with her being an idol and having The drama was more interesting in this book, but the cat-fighting makes me cringe. Again, I understand that this is Jessica's experience since this novel is her way of getting around SM's NDAs. But this is still a fictional story, a story with many misogynist tropes. Let us begin with how Jessica conveys the story by having a man named Alex being her best supporter for her career and never having any quarrels with him. Even if Alex was empathetic towards Rachel, with her being an idol and having to hide their relationship. Would Alex not at least show some frustration over her being often aloof due to her anxiety about being with him? Such as when she left his Hong Kong apartment early before eating the oxtail soup or when she responds with "I love... this wine." when he confesses to her. Alex is practically a Gary Sue with how he is just a yes man for Racheal. I am not saying Alex needs to betray Racheal like the eight Girls Forever members did, but it is pretty sexist how he is perfect compared to her "unsupportive" female members. Additionally, the story does get into how immoral DB (aka SM) is. But that gets generally ignored with how the story blame's most of Racheal's troubles on the other eight members of Girls Forever. Alex's character made a good point about how the DB executives could have given the ultimatum to the other members instead. Am I supposed to believe that SM supposedly got pressured by Girl's Generation members to kick out Jessica? And not because they were mad at her for making a lot of profit with Blanc & Eclare? These could be just things Jessica exaggerated from what happened since it is still a fictional story. And if Jessica wrote it exactly how it happened, she would get hit with a lawsuit. But she could have at least not made it so misogynist? Even if what the Girls Forever member did to Racheal is what happened to Jessica with SNSD, this novel unleashed unnecessary misogynist attacks on other members on Twitter. Much of it was from people who do not care about Jessica, who did not even read this novel but screenshots and never have and will not support her solo work. There are ways to write about relational aggression between women and girls without it being misogynist and it being criticism instead. Jessica probably should have brought in a sociologist who focuses on Women's Studies because it is clear this is an issue she can not write well. Overall the novel was entertaining to read. I did enjoy engaging with the gossip and speculation. But as I said in my review for Shine, people who are not interested in that will find this novel terrible for reasons I mentioned above.

  10. 4 out of 5

    very strong contender for worst thing i read this year

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany (Read By Tiffany)

    would I recommend this? no. would I recommend this if you’re a nosy Kpop fan who wants inside tea on Jessica leaving Girl’s Generation? maybe…but only if you are willing to sit through 300+ pages of a self-insert Jessica rant. there’s a blurry line between what’s real and what’s fiction, but if you’re reading this book, you’re 100% envisioning everything as fact from Jessica’s perspective. all the other characters are one dimensional, and major celebrity events in the book parallel real life so c would I recommend this? no. would I recommend this if you’re a nosy Kpop fan who wants inside tea on Jessica leaving Girl’s Generation? maybe…but only if you are willing to sit through 300+ pages of a self-insert Jessica rant. there’s a blurry line between what’s real and what’s fiction, but if you’re reading this book, you’re 100% envisioning everything as fact from Jessica’s perspective. all the other characters are one dimensional, and major celebrity events in the book parallel real life so closely that i’m surprised she hasn’t been sued. while I empathize with Jessica getting kicked out of GG, Rachel as a main character was honestly…annoying. call it…”i’m sorry you all hate me for being the most talented” energy. i could honestly understand why her fellow members were frustrated. she was showing up late to practice, events, “humble” bragging about her travels, etc. were her members’ actions always justified? definitely not, but i could genuinely see why they felt jessica wasn’t making the group a priority. the writing itself is better than in SHINE, but the odds of this book being ghost written are so high that it doesn’t feel appropriate to critique the writing. the audiobook narrator did a great job tho. in the words of @milkyboos, “how are you going to write a self-insert and make me root AGAINST you?”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Putri Amalia Handayani

    guys pls ignore my rating because it’s completely biased i think. up until before i read this book i was an ot9, but umMmMmM this book changed my opinion😔 i feel uncomfortable throughout the book. idk what i expected but this isn’t it, shine was okay but this???😔 kinda confused bc i hate the main character here and the main character is basically jessica so????? does that mean i hate jessica?😔 i mean rachel was like framing the 8 girls to be the villain and she was all kind and mature it’s reall guys pls ignore my rating because it’s completely biased i think. up until before i read this book i was an ot9, but umMmMmM this book changed my opinion😔 i feel uncomfortable throughout the book. idk what i expected but this isn’t it, shine was okay but this???😔 kinda confused bc i hate the main character here and the main character is basically jessica so????? does that mean i hate jessica?😔 i mean rachel was like framing the 8 girls to be the villain and she was all kind and mature it’s really annoying tbh. in all years of me reading, i’ve never read one book where the main character is as annoying as her. but again this might be biased ok pls ignore my rambling bYEEEEE

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Much more interesting than the last book, but there are an odd amount of typos for a traditionally published book. Not that it affected the rating, it was just odd to see.

  14. 4 out of 5

    eugenia

    this was very entertaining but ultimately i have no idea why she would choose to tell thousands of people all this

  15. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

    I really want this one to come out soon! I really liked the first one (:

  16. 5 out of 5

    plainzt

    I've read the book solely for SNSD/ Girls Generation gossip. I skipped through some parts, especially Rachel's inner monologues and thoughts. They are preachy, unnecessarily long, and overused, interrupting the flow of the story. When it comes to events there were not any surprises for me. I wish the best for all the girls. They survived in that horrible industry. I hope they can make peace one day. I've read the book solely for SNSD/ Girls Generation gossip. I skipped through some parts, especially Rachel's inner monologues and thoughts. They are preachy, unnecessarily long, and overused, interrupting the flow of the story. When it comes to events there were not any surprises for me. I wish the best for all the girls. They survived in that horrible industry. I hope they can make peace one day.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This was so hard to digest. First of all Jessica's writing has gotten much better since the first part and you can see how much effort she put into this. Secondly onto the plot. It broke my heart to read what happened to Rachel (i.e. Jessica). The pain, the betrayal, the sadness... all of it felt so real. My heart breaks for Jessica to know just what she has been through. I know a lot of the things here are fiction and altered to make the book interesting but the coincidences just can't be denie This was so hard to digest. First of all Jessica's writing has gotten much better since the first part and you can see how much effort she put into this. Secondly onto the plot. It broke my heart to read what happened to Rachel (i.e. Jessica). The pain, the betrayal, the sadness... all of it felt so real. My heart breaks for Jessica to know just what she has been through. I know a lot of the things here are fiction and altered to make the book interesting but the coincidences just can't be denied. Jessica is so strong and I truly believe she deserves the whole world. Her story is of love, betrayal, friendship, and growth. She truly is one of the strongest women ever and does not deserve to be treated like she is by the industry. I wish Jessica well in all her future endeavors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Ong

    I'll pretend that this sequel did not exist. 😶 I like Shine and this one was not what I expected for a sequel. Main Character got more annoying. Pure misogynist. Romance was off, bring back Jason! No excitement or whatsoever. Repetitive words that annoys me personally. 😶 Though there's bits and pieces that I like --- the family, her one friend, and the cover of this book. I'll pretend that this sequel did not exist. 😶 I like Shine and this one was not what I expected for a sequel. Main Character got more annoying. Pure misogynist. Romance was off, bring back Jason! No excitement or whatsoever. Repetitive words that annoys me personally. 😶 Though there's bits and pieces that I like --- the family, her one friend, and the cover of this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    M.L. Sexton

    Thank you to Simon Teen and Storygram Tours for this ARC. This book is the true definition of jo matter how loyal and supportive you are, people will still screw you over when you are doing even an ounce better than them. Rachel’s group mates and record label really failed her just because her fashion bags were doing well and she was gaining popularity. In the end, she was the winner. Her record label took two huge opportunities away from her and gave them to her group mates. I did have an issue Thank you to Simon Teen and Storygram Tours for this ARC. This book is the true definition of jo matter how loyal and supportive you are, people will still screw you over when you are doing even an ounce better than them. Rachel’s group mates and record label really failed her just because her fashion bags were doing well and she was gaining popularity. In the end, she was the winner. Her record label took two huge opportunities away from her and gave them to her group mates. I did have an issue with how weak Rachel was. She let everyone run over her and still tried to make things right instead of standing up for herself. I would’ve loved to have seen more of a backbone from her.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steph Carr (LiteraryHypeWoman)

    Once again, I'm obsessed with a Jessica Jung book... aaaaaand question how much of it is her real story. This picks up 5 years after Shine, when Rachel's group has made it big, but she's starting to think outside the group too. Bright is full of drama and strong emotion. I just want to hug Rachel and slap girls forever, okayyyyy . Once again, I'm obsessed with a Jessica Jung book... aaaaaand question how much of it is her real story. This picks up 5 years after Shine, when Rachel's group has made it big, but she's starting to think outside the group too. Bright is full of drama and strong emotion. I just want to hug Rachel and slap girls forever, okayyyyy .

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I definitely loved Shine better. This book really just makes me want a memoir! Give us a memoir, Jessica! Please!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm a Sone, so I was pretty conflicted the entire time I read this. Little bit ranty. If you're going to have a ghost writer, at least get a good one. And if you're going to tell a based on true events fictional story, just tell an entirely true biography of it. That I could have handled better no matter the content. I also don't know how to feel that she uses my name for her character, she wasn't easy to sympathize with. Oddly, even though I blame Tyler for so much, his character, Alex, was one I'm a Sone, so I was pretty conflicted the entire time I read this. Little bit ranty. If you're going to have a ghost writer, at least get a good one. And if you're going to tell a based on true events fictional story, just tell an entirely true biography of it. That I could have handled better no matter the content. I also don't know how to feel that she uses my name for her character, she wasn't easy to sympathize with. Oddly, even though I blame Tyler for so much, his character, Alex, was one of the better characters. This was so poorly written. End rant. Regardless, between the controversy but also bad writing, I couldn't put it down.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thindbooks

    *this arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* This was an okay read which takes a couple of years later after Shine and features Rachel falling in love. I have to say that I enjoyed the whole plot of this book taking a couple of years later. The writing was good but I wish we had kind of a recap of what happened before in the book to a couple of years later. The pacing was okay and the main conflict in this story was how Rachel wanted to be on her own and find her *this arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return* This was an okay read which takes a couple of years later after Shine and features Rachel falling in love. I have to say that I enjoyed the whole plot of this book taking a couple of years later. The writing was good but I wish we had kind of a recap of what happened before in the book to a couple of years later. The pacing was okay and the main conflict in this story was how Rachel wanted to be on her own and find her true self in some way. This book is also in Rachel’s POV but I wish we also got the other characters POV just to see how they are doing with the fame. Rachel is a great character and I enjoyed her development in the book. She is an easy, likable character and I feel that most readers can feel connected to her. There are many side characters in this book and some who betray her to her spot. I really wanted to read their povs too just to know what they are going through because they also have their own stories. There is romance in this book which is friends to lovers but honestly I didn’t really care for it. The romance felt forced and just there. The ending was okay but I kind of skimmed the last couple of pages. The story was overall okay but honestly I would have been fine if there wasn’t a second book. I felt that Rachel’s story ended perfectly fine in the first book and this book could have been more about the other singers or her sister. Overall not a bad read especially those who loved the first book and wanted more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    Okay, so, basically, there's this girl in this super famous nine-member girl group under a huge company, except at the height of their success, she starts to rethink how her life as an idol conflicts with other things she'd like to do, like pursue fashion and relationships..and then she writes this book. Cards on the table, I loved reading this book. When I read Shine back in 2020 I wanted a shoddily-disguised one-sided retelling of the SNSD fallout, and that's exactly what Bright is. Jessica Ju Okay, so, basically, there's this girl in this super famous nine-member girl group under a huge company, except at the height of their success, she starts to rethink how her life as an idol conflicts with other things she'd like to do, like pursue fashion and relationships..and then she writes this book. Cards on the table, I loved reading this book. When I read Shine back in 2020 I wanted a shoddily-disguised one-sided retelling of the SNSD fallout, and that's exactly what Bright is. Jessica Jung is really fucking bold to slap an "all similarities to real people or events are entirely coincidental" on this one when Rachel laments the media calling her an "ice princess" in the first paragraph. And, look, we'll never know exactly what went down when Jessica left/was removed from SNSD, but I'm certain it's not this, because real life is never this black and white. Let's forget that this is, in essence, a memoir and review it as a book of fiction, since that's what it was marketed as. As a novel, Bright absolutely fails at characters. I was trying to think of a better way to say that but this book just fails at having characters. Every single one is so one-beat, they're just names slapped onto archetypes and caricatures of reality, the most disappointing of which is definitely Rachel. Shine's cast genuinely had more nuance, which surprised me, because Shine's cast felt flat at the time. But, no, this time, we're presented a Rachel who can do no wrong, who is a little awkward or harsh at times, but who is never truly flawed and definitely never at fault because the entire world around her is cruel and petty and out to get her, even when they seemingly have no reason to feel that way. Mina, in Shine, went through an arc and then tragically regressed because she couldn't shake her father's expectations - Mina, here, makes a few Freudian slips about the pressure her dad puts her under, and then is just flat and mean and nasty, all the time. The fact that none of the girls make an appearance after Rachel (surprise) is unjustly and suddenly booted from the group tells you everything you need to know about how much forgiveness they get. This is clearly a red flag on a memoir side but also makes the latter half of the plot feel grossly unrealistic, because what does Rachel have that places her so far above literally every other character? She can't struggle, she can't fail, all she can do is tell the reader the sage life lessons she's learned that puts her so above everybody else, because she is Jessica Jung. (On the line of the flat characters being bad for the book - yeah, Alex is dreamy, and serves his role as a love interest who can act as Rachel's support. But can you name three personality traits of his? I'm happy Jason wasn't the love interest this time, because his sudden heel-face turn in the first book frustrated me, but his character in Shine was a really interesting chance to look at double standards in the industry. There's a little bit of those kinds of discussions in Bright (i.e. DB strongarming other companies' groups out of the spotlight, Akari's being forced to get major plastic surgery and the trauma around it), but everything is so centered on Rachel getting booted from GF, the characters aren't given time to have unique flaws or traits that impact the story. I wonder if that's because in Shine, the cast are all teenagers, and here, they're adults. There's a sense of stagnancy in them all - like they're fully-formed, with designated general vibes but no real quirks or messy feelings influencing their behavior or getting in the way of the clear-cut, pre-set story that Jessica wants to tell.) To the book's credit, Jessica is still doing some of the things that impressed me in Shine. Obviously, no current author has more insider info about being a kpop star than Jessica, but the world she paints is glamorous and indulgent and exciting. There's travel and fashion and lavish secret dates. Yeah, Alex is boring, but with the way he treats Rachel, he's a successfully dreamy love interest. I'm always impressed remembering Jessica is actually writing YA fiction, since she still feels so removed from that world, but the romance storyline is perfectly YA. Total successful fantasy fuel, and there's a lot of power in doing that well. Structurally, this book is actually super impressive - the way that events flow into each other and trigger other events and is tight, engaging, and feels almost too convenient at times. There's not a lot of scenes that just end - most of them pull really heavy weight plot-wise, twisting midway through to cue up another major plot point. It comes across as very intentional and well-handled. I read the bulk of this book today and that's because its flow was so strong, and it kept my attention so well. I usually let my scenes breathe too much and things end up dragging or coming out of nowhere, so this book felt like sort of a well-oiled machine to me. In the end, though, that top review that calls this not even a book made me laugh because like. Yeah. No, this isn't really a book. The fact that Jessica wrote a book about a member of a famous nine-member girl group who gets a boyfriend and pursues fashion and leaves the group is hard to wrap my head around. It's literally so undeniable, and then on top of that, she makes her self-insert character a perfect angel who can only win and her members cruel, disloyal monsters who turn on her at the drop of a hat. And maybe the members of SNSD really did bully her in that time! But it's hard to believe what she's saying here when nobody but her is given any grace, any nuance, or any agency. God I'm so happy this book exists.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    If you have little to no familiarity with the kpop world or this author, this is another light (if slightly more dramatic) kpop YA romance book which shows the juicy world behind the scenes of the kpop company industry. However, for anyone even with a brief knowledge of the author's time in SNSD, this is clearly a juicy tell all disguised as a fiction book, so lets proceed with a review on that basis. First of all I gave this three stars mostly because I'm obsessed with the guile you would need t If you have little to no familiarity with the kpop world or this author, this is another light (if slightly more dramatic) kpop YA romance book which shows the juicy world behind the scenes of the kpop company industry. However, for anyone even with a brief knowledge of the author's time in SNSD, this is clearly a juicy tell all disguised as a fiction book, so lets proceed with a review on that basis. First of all I gave this three stars mostly because I'm obsessed with the guile you would need to do something as iconic as pull a fanfic style stunt of publishing your own account of your acrimonious exit from your extremely famous kpop group in the style of a YA book. It is probably one of the top ten things to do on the level of fun juicy drama. The first book in my opinion approached the narrative with a much more "clearly fictional tale based on realistic elements and knowledge by the author of the kpop industry." This book appears to be much the author's own life story and events, especially culminating in the end of her kpop career. While she touches on other juicy debacles (the company's treatment on artists who have left, and it's power over what opportunities artists are avoided while within it, dating as an idol) it's clear the main element of this book focuses on her relationship with her other group members. While I'm not convinced each member of real life has a fictional character here on a 1-to-1 ratio, she clearly knew what she was doing have the fictionalised group have 8 other members. While I'm sure some aspects are still fictionalised, this is a clear departure from the first book in the sense I feel like Jessica and her editors very much want you to read into things, such as her group dynamics, her sister "Leah", her romance with "Alex", her fashion line, and the very date "Rachel" posts her infamous social media post. The book never loses it's slightly quirky protagonist narration, and much is focused on her pretty bland romance with Alex, however it's clear at certain points we are meant to feel the real hurt behind the words. If this was, as I can only assume, an attempt in some way for Jessica to tell her side of things, it does work on that level. It sadly dispels myths possibly more hopeful fans of the group would have had about how her departure went down, and relationship with her former members. It's pretty interesting in that despite her being happy to callout her former company time and again in this book, she leaves the blame almost solely at her own ex-members doors in regards to her departure. However I have to wonder how much of a service this does to the author herself. The character "Rachel" often doesn't come out well either, and I'm not sure if this is with the editor's acknowledgement - she often has a slightly oblivious stance to things, a sort of "Everyone just hated me for being so popular and talented!" While there are scenes that are able to show the unravelling relationship between her and independent members rather than as a huge monolith, it does somewhat seem like its written from a certain warped (if understandably hurt perspective.) TLDR - This is a juicy tell all for kpop fans who enjoy reading between the lines to see some fun drama, but it's probably difficult reading for anyone who did care for this group. I'd take what's on the page with a pinch of salt as the real trick here has been blurring the fictional and reality so finely it'll be difficult for anyone to truly unpack (which may have been the aim, given some legal arrangements I'm sure the author herself is under.) The romance is "meh" but this may just be because I'm not a fan of who it's actually based on. It's certainly a more mature and "real" book than Shine, but I won't be sated until we get a reality style reunion episode with all 9 girls...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Oh Jess, I really wanted to like this book I really did. I honestly felt the relationship parts between Rachel and Tyl--Alex was really cringy. There was too much about that trying to make him look good and not enough story. In the beginning, I thought I would be happy with the time-skip, but I actually feel we needed a middle book to learn about the girls of Girls' Gen--Forever. The personalities are very superficial and we don't really get to know anyone, even Rachel is a bit surface personalit Oh Jess, I really wanted to like this book I really did. I honestly felt the relationship parts between Rachel and Tyl--Alex was really cringy. There was too much about that trying to make him look good and not enough story. In the beginning, I thought I would be happy with the time-skip, but I actually feel we needed a middle book to learn about the girls of Girls' Gen--Forever. The personalities are very superficial and we don't really get to know anyone, even Rachel is a bit surface personality only. I read this book wanting to know more about what led up, happened during, and happened after 9/30 -- but I mostly got what we already knew about the situation. Jess, you said we would know the truth and we still don't really know anything. The only thing I didn't really know was that it was SNSD's parents who may have stirred the pot and got Jessica kicked out of the group. I actually had a lot more sympathy for SNSD in this book than Jessica until the end -- it was cruel how things came to be and they should not have given her an ultimatum, but I could also see where they were coming from when it came to the sponsors. When Jess first told the girls about B&E, they probably were all very supportive -- but their parents probably made them aware of sponsors they could lose by a conflict of interest due to Jess's brand, but that is NOT on Jess. Sloppy on SM...I mean DB's part. I'm still frustrated we don't know which girl represents which member of SNSD or if they're just a mish-mash. At first I didn't think Sooyoung, Yoona, Sunny, or Tiffany could be the baddest eggs of SNSD, because there was "evidence" of them being with Jess at one point or another after 9/30... I think Jiyoon could be Hyoyeon or Sooyoung -- both were Jess's roommates at one point and had bf scandals in the group. Eunji could be Yoona or Sooyoung -- said to have the most Korean-beauty face. Featured in Vogue. Double date with a famous actor. Yoona is the face, but Sooyoung got caught dating back in 2014 as well. Sunhee could be Seohyun or Sunny -- she's the youngest and hosts a radio show. Unconventionally pretty. Mina I think could be Tiffany, due to being the member in SNSD that had a private room like Lizzy did. I also think Tiffany would be the one with drug access over the other members haha. BUT! If Rachel's worst enemy was Mina --- why would Tiffany have played Jess's song at her concerts in the US? Yeah unsure. Lizzie I think could be Taeng. She's bubbly, has a sibling trying to get into DB. I'm not sure. Lizzie and Mina also got to be in a duet together -- like Tiffany and Taeng in TTS. Yongeun is a level-headed member, but super mad when JRachel is late to her fan cafe event. The last of my notes consist of what I remember happening via reports back then -- still can't tie things in with certain members. Lizzie and Yongeun move out (Seohyun, Yoona, Yuri, and Sooyoung also move out) Per Dispatch's first article that got immediately deleted -- SNSD and their parents forced Jess out. A Chinese Taeyeon fan posted 2 days before the incident that the girls were wanting Jess out of the group. Fans also claimed that Sooyoung, Taeyeon, and Yuri were the ones who wanted Jessica out the most (Mina, Lizzie, Eunji?). Sooyoung allegedly said that if Jess went to the China fanmeeting, that the other 8 would not go. This essentially happens in the book as well via Mina/Lizzie. Fans stated Yoona and Seohyun wanted Jessica to stay. Reports that maybe Sunny and Yoona were in a recenter bday video with Jessica. Also, Sooyoung and Jessica were tagged by a mutual friend at the same time in LA and same locations -- but different posts after 9/30. It's all speculation and as you can see I've been obsessed with this since 2014 and I honestly feel like these past 2 books threw me back into it and down the rabbit hole. Jess. Please give us some concrete answers. It's been 7+ years and I'm still not over it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaikaku_

    Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Jessica since god knows when but I also gotta be honest and say that this is a pretty awful book. There are several problems which make this an awkward narrative. First off is the time skip which does Rachel no favours. In following her story from Shine to Bright, her accomplishments just don’t feel earned. We were told that she’s incredibly successful and that both radio and Vogue wants her but we don’t know why. Everything just feels like it’s handed to her o Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Jessica since god knows when but I also gotta be honest and say that this is a pretty awful book. There are several problems which make this an awkward narrative. First off is the time skip which does Rachel no favours. In following her story from Shine to Bright, her accomplishments just don’t feel earned. We were told that she’s incredibly successful and that both radio and Vogue wants her but we don’t know why. Everything just feels like it’s handed to her on a silver platter and on top of making her character motivations unclear, it also makes it hard to feel invested in her disappointment when they get taken away from her. All things considered, Rachel comes off as a bit of a dilettante who moved on quickly from K-Pop to Fashion, as much as she insists that both is important to her. Second is the HUGE amount of characters. A common complain Shine got was that it had way too many characters and on top of giving them a lot less room to grow here, Jessica throws in the rest of her group mates, an international celebrity mentor and a new love interest. You can barely tell anyone apart and they all end up being nothing more than a cluster of named but insubstantial stars orbiting around the centre of the universe. Given that a huge part of the book is about how the world is against her, the lack of character development for the supporting cast makes her come across as rather narcissistic. That said, one character does get developed pretty substantially and that's Alex which isn't that much of a problem until you realise who Alex actually is based on which the next problem with the story. Lastly, there is a lot of internalised misogyny going on. Despite Shine’s focus on feminism, there is an utter lack of meaningful relationships within women in this story. Are the girls really all of her problem or is it the system, the industry? Further compounding this is Alex’s work as a fashion investor. With his help and support, her successful transition into the fashion industry seems handed to her. Aside from being awfully convenient, Jessica unwittingly posits men as the solution to all of her problems. Ok so this novel was definitely going to blur the lines between fact and fiction but it's so poorly done that novel basically reads like a circle-jerk. Further to feeling grossed out by how we're force-fed into thinking whoever Alex is based on as a romantic lead (who could really be all that in real life but really, we don't want to know!), Rachel cannot be her own character cause she is constantly justifying Jessica's actions in the real life. It's actually weird how the story's "villain" (i.e. Mina) feels a lot more developed and complex than the main character despite how little lines she actually got. The overall effect of this is that I'm just not sure how much Jessica has grown from the traumatic experience of being kicked out from something that she undoubtedly loves as the novel just come across as rather... petty? To read more of my thoughts, please check out my blog: https://nicandhisantihegemonicthought...

  28. 4 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    Rachel Kim is back in Bright, the YA sequel to the k-pop sensation Shine. 🎤 It’s been five years since the end of Shine and Rachel Kim is at the top of her game as a k-pop star in the group Girls Forever. Her part time passion with fashion starts taking the forefront, edging out the group as her top priority. Add in a secret new boyfriend, Alex, and Rachel’s life starts to seem unmanageable. When the group gives her an ultimatum it’s up to Rachel to decide what she wants most for herself and her Rachel Kim is back in Bright, the YA sequel to the k-pop sensation Shine. 🎤 It’s been five years since the end of Shine and Rachel Kim is at the top of her game as a k-pop star in the group Girls Forever. Her part time passion with fashion starts taking the forefront, edging out the group as her top priority. Add in a secret new boyfriend, Alex, and Rachel’s life starts to seem unmanageable. When the group gives her an ultimatum it’s up to Rachel to decide what she wants most for herself and her future. 👜 I’ve been waiting for this sequel ever since I read Shine last year. It was by far my favorite K-pop book I’ve ever read. However, the sequel was not at all what I thought it would be. Shine was a young adult book and with the time jump this puts Rachel in her 20s, which I thought would make it harder for teens to relate to until after I read the book and realized most of the girls were still acting like they were in middle school. The catty and petty group stuff was definitely out of place for 20-something women. Also Jason is completely out of the picture, when he was such a prominent figure in book 1. It reminded me a lot of the second book in the American Royals series because it just didn’t jive with the first book at all. I’m so bummed this didn’t live up to my expectations, but everyone has their own opinions and maybe it will work for you. Bright releases in May. CW: theft, alcohol

  29. 4 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ saoudia! ˎˊ˗

    yes i gave the first book 2.5 generous stars. yes i am excited to read the sequel. 🧍🏾‍♀️

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven Ng

    THOSE BITCHES...but I get their POV, does Jessica know she comes off as an unlikeable Mary Sue?!

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