Everything Belongs to Us, Yoojin Grace Wuertz

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher *

Author: Yoojin Grace Wuertz
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 368
Format: DRC
ISBN-10: 0812998545
ISBN-13: 9780812998542
Publisher: eBook | Hardcover | Audiobook
Everything Belongs to Us

4 stars

Seoul, 1978. At South Korea's top university, the nations best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind.
For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn't be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin's parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father's world as possible, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty.
But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever.

This book was an interesting read. I do not often read books based in the east and honestly do not know that much about the history there. This book made me curious about the situation in South Korea in that period.
The story is a bit tricky. Jisun the rich privileged one tired of being that person and Namin the really poor one with just one goal to get a better life. Meeting at age 12 and becoming best friends. The way they reacted to the others life was a bit weird especially as they seemed to wanted to switch their position on the social ladder. The balance in this situation was really thin and I could easily understand if someone would find it annoying.
For me that balance came in form of Sunam. His family was balancing in the middle and though he did want to try his best he was not overambitious as Namin and neither wanted to be a martyr. I did find him a bit boring as a character. Not really having an opinion. Sometimes even weak in his motivation and decision but for the balance between the two ladies he was doing a fine job.
At first Namin is easiest to understand and relate too. She is poor and working hard but I had a hard time with her decisions and motivations. Jisun is trying to hard to give up her life and in the beginning it is difficult to understand why and what she wants to achieve. Slowly her story becomes clearer and it is easier to understand.
I am not sure I would say this story is predictable with the two characters being on opposite sides and eventually both crossing to the other side. There are enough moments that made me wonder if they would really take that step to achieve their goal. But the most interesting part of the story for me was not the struggle of the two woman but the whole social and political game that was surrounding them.
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