The diaspora feels are strong in I Guess I Live Here. If you also love stories with strong family secrets – this is for you! I Guess I Live Here is a story about Melody’s complicated relationship with her family and her Korean identity. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Melody always wanted to get to know the Korean side of her Korean American heritage better, but not quite like this. Thanks to a tiny transgression after school one day, she’s shocked to discover that her parents have decided to move her and her mom out of New York City to join her father in Seoul–immediately! Barely having the chance to say goodbye to her best friend before she’s on a plane, Melody is resentful, angry, and homesick.
But she soon finds herself settling into their super luxe home, meeting cool friends at school, and discovering the alluring aspects of living in Korea–trendsetting fashion, delectable food, her dad’s black card, and a cute boy to hang out with. Life in Seoul is amazing…until cracks begin to form on its shiny surface. Troubling family secrets, broken friendships, and a lost passion are the prices Melody has to pay for her new life, but is it worth it?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I Guess I Live Here Now is a book that captured my entire heart. I instantly fell in love with Melody. The ways in which she feels dropped in Korea without knowing anyone and the reasons why. Her journey to figuring out the why of their return is compelling. It’s a discovery not only born of secrets, but also in ambitions diverging. Everything is new for her. And while her family has never truly supported her interior design dreams, the actual split between security and ambition is even more heightened.
When she emerges in Korea, the life waiting for her is so drastically different than she could have imagined. It’s one of wealth, social status, and performance. With the new addition of living with her father, the diaspora feelings, the ways she’s grown up in the US, is even more pronounced. It makes her feel even more betrayed by her mother because of their close relationship without secrets. The ways it was just us against the world. Except her mother seems to have been hiding even more than she imagined.
How the differences marked between her and her Korean peers is even more startling. How it feels for her to be in Korea, the place she is supposed to call her homeland, but how it feels so foreign to her. That feeling of not knowing where she belongs and having to find a space in the middle for herself? Got me in the feels. In many ways, all her budding friendships are feeling this lack of acceptance, struggling with family complexity and secrets of their own.
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Suffice it to say, the mystery of what happened propels one through I Guess I Live Here Now. But what resonated with me deeply is Melody and her parent’s conflict over her ambition. This idea that her interior design passion isn’t secure enough. That it’s just a hobby. And to watch Melody try to figure out how to communicate with them, to unpack the mystery of what happened, was an emotional journey to witness. Overall, just watching her carve our her own space, her pieces of home away from home, is heart warming.