I really wanted to like this.
Honestly, anything KDrama and KPop would be a huge draw for me, and Flip The Script looked like a promising queer romance between two young KDrama actresses who were supposed to be rivals in a TV show. What’s not to get excited about?
My initial problem came with the setup. I had to suspend my disbelief and accept that a) a TV producer would ask his two drama leads to fake date each other for ratings after the pilot episode’s ratings tanked, causing a sponsor to back out, b) the idol actor would immediately say yes to a fake dating setup and even agree to go out in public with his co-star to make the farce more believable, and; 3) a new lead actress would be added to a show that’s already filmed around ten episodes because the fake dating plan didn’t deliver the ratings the producer wanted.
I don’t know about you, but any KDrama and KPop enthusiast who’s been around for as long as I have will tell you these things DO NOT JUST HAPPEN. Media play is possible, yes, but it was set up so casually in this story that it made my brain go haywire. Seriously…an idol??? Immediately allowing himself to be fake-romantically involved with his co-actress just for ratings? In a world of rabid sasaengs? And have I mentioned they are minors?
Also, adding a new main character to a drama more than halfway through the show might be something that can happen in Philippine showbiz, but KDrama casting is pretty tight because their scripts are locked in for a certain number of episodes. Main leads are announced usually before a script reading happens, and huge, last minute decisions to change the script or add new actors usually only occur in light of some deep, unavoidable circumstance (like a scandal).
Anyway, there were a lot of other things that made me go WHAT THE— while reading this book, but as a romance author myself, one of my main gripes is that it gave me the main pairing too late. I almost wanted to DNF it when I still hadn’t “met” the MC’s love interest 12 chapters in (of 36). I felt like the book wasted too much time on the MC and her on-screen partner-slash-fake-boyfriend in the first 1/3 of the book that it didn’t really build the main pair up so well. I wanted to root for them, but the love story just ended up being blah for me. (Or maybe my brain kept refusing the worldbuilding that I couldn’t properly get into the romance.)
And don’t get me started on the evil drama producer’s nonsensical decisions. Please. Everything the main PD did felt so contrived just to be able to throw conflict in the mix, and they didn’t even make sense in the context of the TV industry. So ridiculous I just laughed it off and ranted about it to my friends so I can get it off my chest.
Finished: September 15, 2022
Read on: Scribd
What I liked: Hana and Minji go on a date in the middle of the book where they were wearing hanboks and they go to a hanok village. That was cute. And the queer solidarity among the main characters was something I appreciated too.
What I disliked: Apart from the things mentioned above? The book got too explain-y, it even explained what the honorific -ssi is. (And it wasn’t even fully correct!) The narrator also mispronounced some Korean words and spoke in a somewhat flat tone at times, which got me tuning out.
Content/Trigger Warnings: power-tripping, homophobic producer who makes questionable decisions, (semi)-forced outing