For a wave of Korean American young adult novelists, Korean pop culture is a touchstone

When Kat Cho began writing what would become her debut novel, “Wicked Fox,” she knew three things: She “wanted a strong Korean girl to be the lead” and wanted to draw inspiration from Korean mythology and the intricate world of K-dramas, both of which she grew up on.

“I had all of these ideas based on old Korean mythology because, when I was a little girl, my parents would leave these mythology books on the shelves and say, “This is for you to read,’” Cho said. “So in between reading ‘The Baby-Sitters Club,’ I would read these myths.”

“Wicked Fox,” which was released by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on June 25, draws on the myth of the gumiho, or nine-tailed fox. A fantasy novel set in contemporary Korea, the book follows the teenage Gu Miyoung, a secret gumiho who has to consume the energy of men to survive. Gu Miyong is a typical teen, peppering her dialogue with references to Korean pop culture.