Book Reviews

Review: The Band by Christine Ma-Kellams

If you’ve been watching the rise of K-Pop bands in the US and are fascinated by their lives and what it takes to be in the spotlight, check out The Band. It’s a story about power, influence, and celebrity culture. Keep reading this book review of The Band for my full thoughts.


Sang Duri is the eldest member and “visual” of a Korean boy band at the apex of global superstardom. But when his latest solo single accidentally leads to controversy, he’s abruptly cancelled.

To spare the band from fallout with obsessive fans and overbearing management, Duri disappears from the public eye by hiding out in the McMansion of a Chinese American woman he meets in a Los Angeles H-Mart. But his rescuer is both unhappily married with children and a psychologist with a savior complex, a combination that makes their potential union both seductive and incredibly problematic.

Meanwhile, Duri’s cancellation catapults not only a series of repressed memories from his music producer’s earlier years about the original girl group whose tragic disbanding preceded his current success, but also a spiral of violent interactions that culminates in an award show event with reverberations that forever change the fates of both the band members and the music industry.

In its indicting portrayal of mental health and public obsession, fandom, and cancel culture, The Band considers the many ways in which love and celebrity can devolve into something far more sinister when their demands are unmet.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Band is a literary fiction book about the fandom culture. It begins with an escape and turns into something more. An exploration of culture and music. Of what we would do when everyone is watching. And when no one is. The Band is quick paced, with a hint of an edge. As someone who leans towards deep character introspection, it was a little light. But it’s more about the clashes of these two character’s lives. What would happen when they collide.

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How isolated both of them feel in different ways. All the ways we can feel alone in a crowd at our birthday. And how we can feel alone in our own families. This one incident introduces these cracks in their relationship, the pressure points, and the memories which will not be forgotten. All the things people read into what we do. The secrets we think they’re hiding. The Band is a book dedicated to characters. To the pieces of ourselves we try to hide. Find The Band on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


Do you have a favorite K-Pop band?

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