By David Canfield
January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM EST
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Credit: Courtesy of Jessica Jung

We’re getting closer to the publication of Shine, the debut book from K-pop superstar Jessica Jung. EW exclusively announced the novel last fall, the first of a two-book deal Jung signed with Simon Pulse, and now we can provide a first-look.

As the novel begins, Korean-American teenager Rachel Kim has been in the recruitment eyeliner of DB Entertainment, one of Seoul’s largest K-pop labels known for churning out some of the world’s most popular stars, for six years. The rules are simple: Train 24/7. Be perfect. Don’t date. But as the dark scandals of an industry bent on controlling and commodifying beautiful girls begin to bubble up, Rachel wonders if she’s strong enough to be a winner, or if she’ll end up crushed — especially when she begins to develop feelings for K-pop star and DB golden boy Jason Lee.

Inspired by Jung’s own experiences in the industry, it’s one of the most anticipated teen tales of the year. Glasstown Entertainment, the producing and book-development company founded by authors Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer, has already sold Shine in several foreign territories and is currently developing the project for the screen with Matt Kaplan of ACE Entertainment, the team behind Netflix’s smash adaptation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Jung has shared with EW the official cover for Shine, as well as a first excerpt. Read on below. The novel publishes Oct. 6 and is available for pre-order.

Credit: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Excerpt from Shine, by Jessica Jung

One

Head up, legs crossed. Tummy tucked, shoulders back. Smile like the whole world is your best friend. I repeat the mantra in my head as the camera pans across my face. The corners of my lips turn up in a perfectly sweet “don’t you want to tell me all your secrets” pink-glossed smile.

But you probably shouldn’t. You know how they say three can keep a secret if two are dead? Well, that couldn’t be truer for my world, where everyone is always watching and your secrets can actually kill you. Or, at least, they can kill your chance to shine.

#

“You girls must be thrilled!” The interviewer is a middle-aged man with oily, slicked-back hair and fair skin. He might have been handsome if his garish hot-pink satin tie and red shirt combo weren’t so distracting. He leans forward eagerly, his eyes gleaming at the nine girls seated before him, a sea of perfectly tousled beach waves and unblemished faces glowing from years of skin-brightening face masks, choreographed down to the angle of our sleekly crossed legs and the descending order of our pastel rainbow-hued stilettos. “Hitting No. 1 at all the music shows, and with your debut music video no less! You’re one chart away from an All-Kill! How do you feel?”

“We couldn’t be more excited.” Mina jumps in eagerly, flashing her perfect teeth in a beaming smile. My face muscles ache as I stretch to match her.

“It’s a dream come true,” Eunji agrees before loudly popping her gum and blowing a huge strawberry-scented bubble.

“We’re so grateful for the opportunity to do this together,” Lizzie chimes in, her eyes practically glowing under layers of silvery eye shadow.

The interviewer’s eyes light up, and he leans in conspiratorially. “So you all get along? I mean, nine incredibly beautiful girls in one group. That can’t always be easy.”

Sumin gives a soft, effortless laugh, pursing her perfectly lined bright-red lips. “Nothing is ever ‘always easy,’” she says. “But we’re family. And family comes first.” She links arms with Lizzie sitting next to her. “We belong together.”

The interviewer flutters a hand over his heart. “Just precious. And what do you love about working together?”

His eyes travel slowly over the group, finally landing on me. “Rachel?”

**

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