Review: The Anti-Fan and the Idol: A My Summer In Seoul Novella by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 146 pages
Publisher:  1001 Dark Nights Press (July 5, 2022)

From Make it or break it…

Or maybe just break them?

Ai-Ri has been training under YK Management in Korea for two years without any results. She doesn’t fit the typical mold for a successful K-POP idol image, literally down to her blood type. She has six more months before college entrance exams which means she only has six months to make it as an idol before her dreams are crushed.

Things take a turn when two of the most famous male idols break away from their group and decide to form their own co-ed group, a rarity.

And wonder of all wonders, they need one more girl.

It would be the perfect opportunity, except she hates them.

They are arrogant, entitled, rich little snobs who want the world to worship the ground they walk on. To make matters worse, the only reason they came to her was because they are desperate, which means she needs to prove herself even more.

Tempers and personalities collide when she’s forced to either accept the position or give up on her dream.

But what happens when you suddenly go from anti-fan and enemy number one to stuck in a love triangle between two boys you were born to hate but are somehow falling in love with? And will the group survive the heartbreak that follows when she finally makes her choice?


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me preface this review with two things. 

One - I am NOT a fan of K-Pop. In fact, I declined the invitation to review the first book in this series for that very reason. So if you ARE a fan of K-Pop take my review with a grain of salt and give this novella a try if you feel it's something you would enjoy. 

Two - as stated above, I did NOT read My Summer in Seoul, however, I had NO TROUBLE understanding this one, its characters, or what was going on as it stands on its own perfectly. So if you haven't read the first one, don't let that deter you. 

Now on to my thoughts on this story. To begin with, This book bills itself as an enemies-to-lovers with a love triangle. And while it's true that both Ryan and Haneul were once complete jerks to Ai-Ri in the past, they also cross lines in the present (such as Ryan pinning her to the door with his body before they even ask her to join their group), so it is interesting to see as how they move past that in order to make the group a success. However, there is NO love triangle in this book. Ryan and Ai-Ri are the main couple, and while Hanuel does approach her a couple of times in ways that are designed to make Ryan jealous, there is never anything between Hanuel and Ai-Ri. I know this will work in FAVOR of the book for those who don't enjoy those types of romances, so I feel it should be pointed out in case anyone was thinking about skipping this one because of that. 

Moving on, I absolutely HATE it when an author makes it a point to point out that their female character is "bigger" than the other girls. I get it, the rules are much different in Korea, but we are given nothing else to go off of. Was she a size 4 and everyone else a size 0? Was she a size 8? A size 24? Was she TALLER than the other girls? Honestly,  I don't think weight should ever be brought into a story. Let us imagine the characters for ourselves not automatically give us an idea of a character's weight. See, body dysmorphia is a real thing, and when a book such as this one talks about Ai-Ri being "bigger" than everyone else, her clothes were still "falling off" of her. This could potentially upset people who do suffer with eating disorders (and although I appreciate the author including resources for those that do at the end of the book, it's still a bit disheartening to see). Of course, all worries about her being "bigger" also go right out the window the minute the boys deduce that the girls aren't eating because they "can't afford to" and start feeding them take-out. 

There is also mention of depression and suicide, but because this a novella, it feels like those topics are glossed over. There is just enough that could potentially upset people who struggle with these things (again a huge thank you to the author for providing resources for those in need at the end), but they are also little more than a footnote to the overall story used to explain why certain characters act the way that they do. I feel like because this was a novella, there were a lot of heavy topics covered in a short span of time. 


There are also some quotes in this story that are the hard-hitting kind that stay with you. Two of my favorites were, "maybe it's through pain, bleeding, and suffering that you mourn and are finally able to look at the sunrise and smile", and "life is too short not to accept something different, something scary. Something that may change your life forever". 

It was these hard-hitting quotes along with the way the author choose to end this story that made this one more enjoyable for me. But again, as someone who is not a fan of K-Pop this is probably to be expected.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
                                    The Anti-Fan and the Idol is available on

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