Book review: Frankly in Love

Sneak Peak

FRANKLY IN LOVE tells the story of Frank Li, a Korean American high school senior in Southern California. His parents emigrated from Korea and expect Frank to live up to their traditional expectations, which include dating a Korean girl. There’s just one problem: Frank’s fallen in love with Brit Means, a white girl in his AP Calculus class. Frank knows his parents won’t approve of Brit, so he turns to Joy Song, a family friend who’s in a similar situation with her Chinese-American boyfriend. Frank and Joy’s plan to fake-date each other sounds like the perfect solution, until life takes an unexpected turn, making Frank wonder if he knows anything at all about love, his family, or himself.

My Thoughts

What a roller coaster ride! I loved how this heart-felt coming of age story subtly tackled the crazy world of first love, identity, family dynamics, and more complex and confronting issues of racism, and touched so many emotions in such a short space. Before I dive too deeply into it, I have to warn you that it is a novel that requires patience and dedication, because the first quarter of the novel was quite slow, overly descriptive and quite bluntly nearly lost me. I think readers who aren’t fans of romance could really lose themselves in this one with how beautifully it explores rough topics that are unfortunately the reality for so many. I don’t normally like reading from a boys perspective, but Frank’s character voice was so geeky, awkward, gold-hearted, yet had such a void of vulnerability that makes him so relatable and feel as if you’d get along with him if you were to ever meet him. I also really loved this personal mental journey that grew with Frank as he started to make sense of the world- this whole mental storm cloud of I’m not Korean enough, but I’m not American enough either. Frank grows up with openly racist parents who have narrowed his dating pool down to “pure” Koreans, which leads to him to stringing along his parents with a dating facade when he falls in love with Brit- a blond, white, down-right American. Frank can’t push the envelope with his blossoming romance with Brit, because his older sister, Hanna, was disowned for choosing her heart over the “the tribe”. I don’t want to spoil it too much further, but the last few chapters were full of curveballs that even a crystal ball couldn’t see coming, because the storyline seems blandly obvious and predictable- they fake date, and accidently fall in love blah blah blah, but this story sinks its teeth into so many complex and tender paths that slap you right in the face and leave your mouth agape. I’ll leave the surprises for you to explore yourself, but I really suggest you stick it out, be patient with the dillydallying intro, because the juicy romance and personal growth is yet to come.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Published by Written in the Stars

Love to read & review romantic heart-jerkers

3 thoughts on “Book review: Frankly in Love

  1. I have been hearing so many good things about this one and having read another David Yoon’s book, I have high expectations. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

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