Books Books: Domestic Fiction Books: Under 18 & YA

Not Your Average Jo

I’m excited to bring you the Not Your Average Jo by Grace K Shim Book Tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Book Tours.

About Not Your Average Jo

Not Your Average Jo book cover

Title: Not Your Average Jo 

Written by: Grace K Shim

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: March 12, 2024

Find it: Goodreads : Amazon : B&N : IndieBound

From the author of THE NOH FAMILY, a second standalone YA novel that follows a Korean American teen as she navigates the treacherous world of nepo babies and cultural appropriation that is the Los Angeles music scene. Perfect for fans of Mary H. K. Choi, Maurene Goo, and Emiko Jean.

Riley Jo is a teenager who knows what she wants. Born and raised in Bentonville, Arkansas, this Korean American girl has her sights set on being a musician. So when her parents are surprisingly cool about her attending the prestigious Los Angeles-based arts-focused boarding school her senior year of high school, she jumps at the chance. This is her moment to make her indie rock dreams a reality!

Things at Carlmont Academy start out strong: She joins a band, and they set out to make plans to perform at the annual spring concert—with a chance to land a record contract. Another student, Xander, decides his school project will be a documentary about the band leading up to their first show. But not everything goes how Riley Jo imagined. She is soon sidelined when her other bandmates feel she is “too Asian” to be their lead singer, and they choose her classmate Bodhi Collins for the role instead.

Bodhi is rock music royalty,

with a dad who is a famous music exec. And he’s got the “all-American rock star look.” Her classmates suggest she try making K-pop, but her heart is in indie rock. Riley Jo decides to take matters into her own hands and writes an original song to showcase her talent. But Bodhi takes the credit…and given his connections, the band lets him.

Xander captures all of this in his film, which he leaks in order to show the truth behind the band. Riley Jo decides to sign up for the spring concert and perform on her own . . . but will she finally be able to take center stage?

Review for Not Your Average Jo

Riley has a dream – living a life of music. She makes a deal with her mom that furthers her deepest wishes. This 17-year-old, Korean American girl, will do whatever it takes. 

Elise and Aerie join the cast of characters, each unique. While Riley is hard working, Elise has a fun and unusual personality. Griff and Xander enter stage left and add another layer to the story. Don’t get me started on Bodhi. 

There are several life lessons addressed within the pages; work hard to reach the stars, stand up for yourself, belonging, and Asian racism addressed in a way that makes you feel the unfairness. I found the music industry politics to be both interesting and disgusting. The hashtag and LOL’s got old quick – too overdone. Nonetheless, it is an inspirational and enjoyable story. 

About the Author

Grace grew up in Tulsa Oklahoma as one of two Korean-Americans at her high school (her sister was the other one). Today, Grace writes books with Korean-American protagonists that she wished she had read about as a teen.

When she’s not plotting (the writing kind, not the world domination kind), you can find her wearing a Korean sheet mask, baking French macarons, and unintentionally killing house plants & succulents. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and three kids.

Website : Twitter X : Instagram : Goodreads 

Not Your Average Jo book tour header

Not Your Average Jo Book Tour

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