For her debut young adult novel, Shine (out Sept. 29 on Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), former Girls’ Generation member Jessica Jung offers a glimpse into the competitive K-pop world — and in this scene, the idol worship that comes along with it.
“You’re…Jason…Lee,” I stammer as I struggle to my feet. Even before shooting to stardom with DB, Jason was famous for his YouTube K-pop covers. After one of his videos went viral, Mr. Noh himself flew to Toronto and convinced Jason to move to Seoul, where he quickly became Korea’s most beloved pop star. Being half-white, half-Korean actually works for him here, with everyone from preteens to stalker fans to ahjummas [married women] praising him for his big, double-lidded eyes and olive complexion, as if he handpicked his genes himself. Somehow his foreigner status gets him voted “Korea’s Sexiest K-pop Star,” while mine gets me mandatory Korean culture lessons.
“Oh, so you’ve heard of me?” He arches an eyebrow, his smile widening. He’s definitely got the smile-like-the-world-is-your-friend thing down — for him, the world probably is.