YA Meets Kdrama: Racing Savannah

A group of us lovers of both young adult fiction and kdrama had a brilliant idea on Twitter, a way to bring our two loves together. We’ll be alternating through our five blogs with one post a week in our new feature YA Meets Kdrama.

Kdramas cast since my last post:
Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, cast by author Rachel Carter
John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the War Began, cast by Laura J. Moss
Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, cast by Katie M. Stout
E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks, cast by Corey Wright

Recently I read Miranda Kenneally’s fourth Hundred Oaks novel (but they’re companions, so I’m cool skipping to book four for casting) and loved it. If you haven’t read any Miranda Kenneally and you love YA contemporaries with all the feels and kissing, get on that. Also, the process hasn’t gotten far enough for changing character names to Korean ones. Deal with it. I did that once and it was exhausting.

Also, all of the thanks to Meg (Cuddlebuggery) for this freaking amazing banner. She’s so boss.


After her widowed father got his girlfriend Cindy pregnant, the family moved to a horse farm in the country where all three of them would work. Daughter Savannah has her sights set on a job working with the horses…and maybe on the forbidden but gorgeous son of the farm’s owner. Savannah proves to be a bit of a horse whisperer, but does she have the guts to survive the dangers of horse racing and romance?

Park Shin Hye casual
Park Shin Hye dance
Park Shin Hye as Savannah
Kim Hyun Joong casual
Kim Hyun Joong dance
baek sung hyun flannel
baek sung hyun suit
Jo Bo Ah casual
Jo Bo Ah dress
Jo Bo Ah as Vanessa
Kim Myung Soo casual
Kim Myung Soo so fancy
L as Colton
Yoon Ji Yi cutting glance
Yoon Jin Yi dress
Yoon Jin Yi as Kelsey
Oh Man Suk casual
Oh Man Suk
Oh Man Suk as Savannah’s Dad
Chae Rim silly
Chae Rim
Chae Rim as Cindy

About the Cast:
For Savannah, I wanted an actress who’s tiny but doesn’t look too like she wouldn’t have some strength to her. Park Shin Hye has a lot of spirit and the kind of girl next door charm that makes her such a good romcom lead. She can look down to earth. The two pictures show her more casual look, which she would be in most of the time, and a dress she might have found for the school dance they went to.

Jack was actually pretty tricky to cast. I wanted someone who looks both rich and flirty, but also like he might know his way around horseback riding. Also, he’s described as having hair that curls a bit, which is really tricky to find in kdrama. Kim Hyun Joong can do it, but the hairstylists will have strict orders to not do stupid things with his hair.

With Rory, I looked for a guy who’s attractive, but also a bit of a goober. Baek Sung Hyun will look good in the plaid prints of the country guy, but also dresses up nice for the party scenes.

Vanessa needs to be gorgeous, but also incredibly sweet, so that you don’t even mind how pretty she is.

Kelsey, on the other hand, needs to be beautiful and she’s a cheerleader which makes me think imbued with perk, but she also needs to be able to deliver a cutting glance. This actress looks all sweetness, but she was good at dismissing people who didn’t interest her inΒ A Gentleman’s Dignity. She’ll probably be an antagonist at the beginning of the show, but grow to be friends with Savannah by the end.

Colton is, to my interpretation, gay. This actor looks adorably in suit jackets, so that would be a quirk of his character, a sign that he just slightly doesn’t fit in out in the country, though he’s totally accepted. Also, I look forward to L getting bored and going to sleep at all occasions. :-p

Oh Man Suk is maybe slightly young to play Park Shin Hye’s dad, but it’s close enough. He played one of the few characters I liked in What’s Up? and he can play both the nice guy and the angry one, which Savannah’s dad sometimes has to be. I think he could be a good slightly overprotective but also somewhat hapless father.

For Cindy, mostly I just wanted someone who looks friendly, the right age, and like she can handle working as a maid…when she’s not pregnant. Her role in Oh! My Lady made me think she would work for the part.

15 responses to “YA Meets Kdrama: Racing Savannah”

  1. Alyssa says:

    I love the YA Meet Kimchi posts! I’ve been watching k/j dramas for about 7 years all by my lonesome, so I love seeing all the love that they get now. Its what led to my love of kpop and jpop.

    I’m not watching Heirs because of all the bad reviews I’ve read but I love Park Shin-Hye. I hope she challenges herself for her next role. Hope you’ve watched Shut Up Flower Boy Band because I loved Jo Bo Ah and L in that. I LOVE Chae Rim (watch Dal Ja’s Spring!!) and need a new drama from her.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ha, I’ve gotten into kpop in the last few months thanks to Heartstrings/CNBLUE.

      Awww, bad reviews? That makes me sad. I really wanted to watch that one, and it comes highly recommended, but from the person who told me to watch Big, so our taste isn’t identical. And, yes, I have seen Shut Up Flower Boy Band. One of my favorites for sure, and very much not like most of the other dramas I’ve seen.

      • Alyssa says:

        I liked Heartstrings, I loved the musical performances in it. I love CN Blue’s album First Step, there are some really great songs on there. I got into kpop through DBSK after watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal starring Yoochun.

        I also loved Park Shin-Hye and Yonghwa in You’re Beautiful. Big was really bad but the writers of that also wrote four of my all-time favorite dramas (Delightful Girl Choonyang, You’re Beautiful, My Girl, & Master’s Sun). If you haven’t seen any of those shows, they’re all really good romantic comedies.

        • Christina Franke says:

          Oooh, I haven’t watched any of those yet, but I’ve been personally recommended Master’s Sun by a friend of mine (not the Big one lol), so I bet I’ll love it. Basically all I want out of kdrama is romantic comedy. They manipulate my feels so well.

          Next up I’m watching To the Beautiful You, since I just reread Hana Kimi. Not sure what I’m watching after that.

          • Alyssa says:

            I love a good k-drama romantic comedy, all I need is a hot guy and a good plot. My Name is Kim Sam-Soon is a really good one, which has a Bridget Jones-like main character. I also love My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Goong.

            I’ve watched the Japanese and Taiwanese Hana Kimis but I couldn’t get into the korean version. I think it was because they played it too straight instead of the zaniness of the manga. I see it’s on Netflix now so maybe I’ll try it again. If you haven’t seen Hana Yori Dango (the Japanese version not Boys Over Flowers) you definitely need to. It’s a perfect shoujo manga adaption to watch.

            • Christina Franke says:

              I’ve seen Hana Yori Dango, both the Japanese and the Korean. I do agree the jdrama was a bit better, but I just do not love that series. Though I’ve read it twice, watched the anime, the jdrama and the kdrama. I don’t know WHY I did that to myself, but I did. X_X

  2. Kim W. says:

    I love Miranda Kenneally’s books, but I haven’t read Racing Savannah yet. Seeing this makes me want to read it even more (so I should do that soon!) and meeting the new characters. Also, that banner is gorgeous, Meg did a great job with it! I LOOOOOOOOOVE Park Shin Hye’s white dress. I want it.
    Kim W. recently posted…November book haulMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      You should! Racing Savannah is tied with Things I Can’t Forget for my favorite. It’s hard to choose, since I love them in really different ways. πŸ™‚

  3. Ellis says:

    WOW. Meg really is boss. (She already was before, but this banner is just glorious.) BOSS MEG.

    Ooh, yes. Park Shin Hye is a great choice. The picture on the left captures Savannah’s casualness perfectly. The one on the right is exactly how she’d look at the wedding. I like this Jack. I like him a lot more than novel Jack. Damn, Rory. Please hook me up with one of your cousins. (Seriously, the black suit is killing me. KILLING ME.) Ugh. (Good ugh.)

    All of these are spot-on. Jo Bo Ah in her blue dress just screams Vanessa. Obviously she’s stunning but she looks so sweet and exactly like she gets underestimated all the time. I felt so sorry for her when Rory’s mom started telling her all the prejudices she had about her. She was mean. I don’t expect this from a Whitfield. (Though there was that part in Stealing Parker where Will says being with her would have been a waste. I know he was angry but come on. Bad Will.) Jo and Baek would make a couple so disgustingly gorgeous that all the other couples start to weep because of inferiority. Just like in the book then.

    Hahaha, I only read your commentary after already typing this. Um, so I agree. Sorry for rehashing your words. They speak truth.
    Ellis recently posted…Review – Breaking the WrongMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Isn’t it? I’m always terrified when people design things for me, because I hate having to say I don’t like them, but I LOVED this immediately. Hurrah. πŸ™‚

      Yeah, I wanted to make Jack a bit more swoony, though let’s not pretend I won’t be all about Rory, whether he’s being all sexy man in a suit or goobery. I don’t even care. I want both Rorys. Or a Whitfield. I’ll take that Whitfield cousin Savannah turned down. Please? PLEASEEEEEEE.

      Vanessa’s the beautiful girl you want to hate because it’s not fair for someone to be so pretty, but you can’t hate her because she’s also genuinely a wonderful person. Oh, yeah, that part was sad. πŸ™


      • Ellis says:


        (His cousin got back together with his ex, though. That’s why they stopped dating. However, 7999 more to choose from.)

        (Vanessa wins so hard over her brother. I really didn’t like Ty. I loved when he started freaking out over Jordan at the end of CJ and JJ just was all “Man, stop crying!” It cracked me up.)
        Ellis recently posted…Review – Catching JordanMy Profile

  4. Katie says:

    I’m so down with this casting. I love Shin Hye! Also, I really need to hurry up and read a Miranda Kenneally book!
    Katie recently posted…2014 Releases I’m Dying to ReadMy Profile

  5. This makes me so excited to pick up this books. I think Park Shin Hye is spot on. I haven’t read the book yet but your description of Savannah is what I would say Park is like πŸ™‚
    Mari @ TheSirenicCodex recently posted…Discussion: How Impactful is the Author On The BookMy Profile

  6. Meg says:

    As I haven’t read this book or watched drama (YET, both are queued up and ready to go as soon as I have a minute. It is frustrating as you have made them both sound amazing.) I don’t have much, or really anything, to say. There’s no point to this comment, but sometimes leaving pointless comments is fun and therefore they are no longer pointless. WHAAAA?

    As to your kind words re: banner, aww shucks *kicks dandelion* ‘Twas much fun and if you want me to do more, I promise to properly read the email this time πŸ˜€

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