Frank loves Joy. Joy loves Frank. At least, that’s what they tell their parents . . .
Frank Li is caught between his parents’ expectations and his own California life. Frank’s parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank – he must only date Korean girls. But Frank has fallen for Brit, who is smart, beautiful and white. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love – or himself – at all.
Title: Frankly in Love
Author: David Yoon
Genre: YA, Romance
This book follows Frank Li as he begins to delve into the world of high school dating. But with parents who are pretty opinionated and a whole host of obstacles thrown in his path, Frank realises that there’s a lot more to life than pleasing your family.
This book is David Yoon’s YA debut and it really didn’t disappoint! I laughed, I cried and felt pretty much everything in between. When I picked up this book I thought it was just going to be a straight YA romance (which there’s nothing wrong with!) but there’s far more to it than that. Family dynamics, illness, loss, dating and coming to the realisation that you need to make the most of life are just a handful of the things that are covered. I really enjoyed the variety in this book as it made the plot resemble the rollercoaster of life, ups and downs and a lot of memories. There’s a lot of cultural representation in this book which I really appreciated – it’s so brilliant to see more and more diverse YA! – and it was interesting for me to read about another culture from an author who belongs to it.
As for what I disliked about this book, there were a few things. The middle of the book began to annoy me a little when Frank couldn’t seem to make up his mind about what he wanted and went behind Brit’s back to see Joy. I’m never a fan (in fiction or in real life) of a person essentially cheating on their partner because it’s easier than facing the truth. I know that it’s a fairly common way to advance a plot and introduce a new relationship but I’ve DNFd books because of it before.
However, because of this, and Frank’s confusion about what to do, it meant that the characters were well fleshed out and seemed plausible. The idea of being young and impulsive is a feeling that many of us know so I was able to push through it. Yoon excels at making his characters real so despite being annoyed at Frank’s actions I couldn’t help but want everything to work out for him and continued to champion him until the end.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys John Green or Nicola Yoon and is a fan of the friends to lovers trope! But, even if that’s not your thing, there’s a lot more to this book that I think a lot of people will enjoy.
Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d love to know!