Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on September 10th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
“Laughter is the music of the deep cosmos connecting all human beings that says all the things mere words cannot.”
Frankly in Love is such a stinkin’ cute book. I can’t tell you how much this book lifted my spirits. It made me fall in love with YA contemporary romance again!
In Frankly in Love, high school senior Frank Li is a Limbo—his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing.
His parents have one rule when it comes to romance—date Korean. But this proves to be complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful, and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating plot leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love—or himself— at all.
Gorgeous cover and blue sprayed edges aside, I loved this book. I cried, I laughed, and I smiled like an idiot while reading this book. It exceeded my expectations of it being a fun but unmemorable YA contemporary.
I actually read the first chapter and almost DNF’d it. There was a lot of telling instead of showing.
It just felt like a huge info dump that was going to lead nowhere. I also found some of the use of slang to be incredibly cringey.
But once I powered through the first chapter, the story began to pick up and I knew I was going to love it. Yoon has a very similar writing style and humour as the Green brothers. There are several witty one-liners and philosophies on life and love that elevated this book above all the other coming-of-age teen romances.
Humanity’s greatest strength – and also the reason for its ultimate downfall – is its ability to normalize even the bizarre.
All these characters felt very authentic. You can tell that Yoon committed to creating characters that were complex.
I love how Frank is nerdy and talks unabashedly about his love of gaming. HIs ideal week is hanging out with his best friend Q to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Joy and Brit aren’t just there to be love interests. They are both intelligent and witty in their own right, and this makes them even more attractive to Frank.
This is a book filled with heart and a lot of frank discussions about racism. I was shocked by how many lines I highlighted when I found something relatable. We talk about racism against different minority groups, but we never talk about the rampant racism within minority communities.
There was also a lot of realistic depiction of what it means to struggle with the expectations of your parents and the American reality you live in especially if you’re second-generation. Frank’s relationship with his family is strained, but I appreciated the honest portrayal of how culture and age plays into perception. And bias and antiquated thinking can be overcome if you work at these relationships with empathy.
If you’re a fan of Jenny Han or the Green brothers, I think you will enjoy this. It’s definitely going to make a very cute Netflix movie!
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