Title: The Noh Family
Author: Grace K. Shim
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: May 3rd, 2022 (Kokila)
Synopsis: When her friends gift her a 23-and-Me test as a gag, high school senior Chloe Kang doesn’t think much of trying it out. She doesn’t believe anything will come of it – she’s an only child, her mother is an orphan, and her father died in Seoul before she was even born, and before her mother moved to Oklahoma. It’s been just Chloe and her mom her whole life. But the DNA test reveals something Chloe never expected – she’s got a whole extended family from her father’s side half a world away in Korea. Her father’s family are owners of a famous high-end department store, and are among the richest families in Seoul. When they learn she exists, they are excited to meet her. Her mother has huge reservations, she hasn’t had a great relationship with her husband’s family, which is why she’s kept them secret, but she can’t stop Chloe from travelling to Seoul to spend two weeks getting to know the Noh family.
Chloe is whisked into the lap of luxury, but something feels wrong. Chloe wants to shake it off – she’s busy enjoying the delights of Seoul with new friend Miso Dan, the daughter of one of her mother’s grade school friends. And as an aspiring fashion designer, she’s loving the couture clothes her department store owning family gives her access to. But soon Chloe will discover the reason why her mother never told her about her dad’s family, and why the Nohs wanted her in Seoul in the first place. Could joining the Noh family be worse than having no family at all?
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After finding out through a DNA test that she has a whole extended family in Korea on her dad’s side, Chloe is excited to meet them since it’s always just been her and her mom and they seem equally eager to meet her. Her mom isn’t too happy about this since she’s never had a great relationship with them, but Chloe is insistent on it and sets off to spend two weeks in Seoul. Turns out, the Noh family is extremely wealthy and owns a high end department store, and Chloe is thrust into a life of luxury. Though her grandmother is extremely welcoming, and she’s having a great time exploring Seoul with her new friend Miso Dan, she can’t help but begin to feel that something isn’t quite right. But the Nohs have many secrets and their reasons for wanting to know Chloe may not be what they seem.
Truth be told, it’s the cover of this book that caught my eye at first, and though I’ve never watched any K-dramas, the plot was too intriguing to pass up. This was a fast paced story right from the beginning and such an easy one to read too! The narration flows smoothly and between the family drama, secrets and the setting of high society Seoul, it was a thoroughly entertaining story. The characters were fine, but my focus was more on the plot with this one. Chloe was an interesting protagonist and her arc did have a lot of growth, especially with her decision at the end.
The plot twists, on the other hand, I found to be highly predictable. It was overwhelmingly evident that something was off by the 40% mark and I think some facts were revealed a little too early in the plot as it lessened, if not completely removed, the shock factor when everything came together later on. It also felt very ridiculous that it took Chloe as long as it did to catch on and even more silly that she was willing to trust so much in people she had literally just met a few days ago. I mean, the facts were right there even if you weren’t paying attention, and she was either being wilfully ignorant or just dumb.
Although I expected the ending to be perhaps a bit more dramatic than it was, I suppose it was realistic, if a little anti-climactic. I guess it does leave some room for a sequel, but this story feels complete even without it. I would definitely love to read more books like this. Overall, this was a really interesting read and I would highly recommend it!
The Noh Family releases on May 3rd, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.