Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Publisher: Putnam/Penguin Teen
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Rating: 4.5 Stars ⭐️
Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?
Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California. Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
Disclaimer: First and foremost I would like to thank David Yoon and Penguin Teen for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way sways my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.
Frankly in Love was everything that I needed. I am a first generation (half) Korean American, and although my expectations on love were much different as my mom married my white dad and left Korea for him, there were so many times where I felt connected to Frank and his experience within the colliding cultures.
I loved this book. I found myself laughing, aching with pain, drooling from the food (Frank ordered my fave dish at a restaurant, Mul Nengmyeon!!!), and connecting to the story most of all. The feeling of not knowing where I belong – not being Korean enough for the Super Koreans, not being white enough to not be targeted racially by others… it was a hard time growing up. I really appreciated the realness of this story, how I could put myself in Frank/Joy’s shoes and truly FEEL my life in that moment. Finding representation that’s true to me and not built on stereotypes was refreshing and honestly… heartbreaking.
The reason I gave it a 4.5⭐️ and not 5 – Could be considered spoilery:
This book was phenomenal, While I loved and adored this book, as an adult reader, instalove isn’t my favorite trope. It’s hard for me to remember that side of me from high school, even though I know that’s exactly what teenagers are like. I also didn’t think that the twist with Frank’s bff Q was handled in the best way possible. I felt as if Q was such an important character and that his relationship with Frank was strong enough for him to handle the truth.
Overall, this is a perfect YA contemporary for me. I felt emotionally invested in the characters, I miss them now that I’m done reading. If you like instalove, POC MCs, and realistic issues, then definitely check this out!
You can pre-order this book at AMAZON, or search any retailer online or book store closest to you! Available September 10, 2019!