New Release Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Frankly in Love by David Yoon released this week and I am thankful for Penguin Random House for giving me the opportunity to read an early copy of the audiobook in exchange for my honest opinions.
Before you read any further or my review, one thing needs to be clear – Frankly in Love is not a rom com, but a deep book that is worth the read, I just feel like so many people are expecting a light read, and it may be light at times, but not a rom com. Find out more below!
Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love, #1)by David Yoon
on September 10, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and 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 maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.
Frankly in Love may be hyped as the biggest release of the fall, it may already be optioned for adaptation, and you may think this is going to be a light fluffy romantic comedy. If these are your preconceptions, like mine were, let me try and adjust that so you go into knowing what book you’re reading. But I really think you probably want to read this book!
So first and foremost, this book is about Frank Li and his life as a second generation Korean-American. This book tackles deep subjects such as racism, friendships, familial obligations, and just trying to get through your senior year and into college. Yes, there is a fake dating scheme that may turn into something more. Yes, there are laugh out loud moments, but this book is so much more serious than a rom com.
Secondly, I think this book tackles racism in a very concise way. This book challenged my white privilege in a way no other book has in the past. I deeply felt the racism Frank deals with in his life so succinctly, it really impacted me. This book is a hard look and absolutely powerful representation of the pressures of being a second generation born Korean American.
I have some very spoilery thoughts as well and … View Spoiler » There is cheating…and there is no happy ending in the fake dating scheme. Gosh this mad me mad. Like OK I can get over the cheating, because its a big romantic moment and the kiss scene is just perfect. But ugh cheating. Right? Then you go through all of this fake dating, real dating, getting physically assaulted, and then in the end they don’t end up together because of their families being mad at each other? WHAT? You dated because ‘your parents are racist to other races’ (not a quote but not really my words) and then you break up because your parents are now mad at each other. After all that?! No. Also, fucking sad, sad ending. So SAD. « Hide Spoiler
I really do recommend this book. I read a lot of books that challenge me and that are outside of my norm. I prefer to read books about characters that are nothing like me so my mind is expanded through the experiences I read on the page. I just think this book had a weird marketing plan, and I wish it was touted as the heavy hitting, emotional book about life that it is. It is hard to go into a book expecting a romcom and getting a sad and emotional story, and not much rom or com.
I had to rate this 3.5 stars, and I will round down to 3 on the sites that don’t allow for half stars. Mostly it is because I can’t help but think the publishers, and editors may have failed this book. It most certainly has been touted as a rom com, and many people are expecting that book, like I was, it definitely skewed my thoughts as I was reading the book. I also think this book is too long, there were too many tangents, and some superfluous plot points that could have been cut and still been a very impactful story.
I mean these are of course just my thoughts and I am one person, maybe it was funnier to others, maybe I was too caught up in the deeper aspects of the story…but that was my take away.
Frankly In Love is a deep, meaningful, book that captures our racist world in a way I never read before. For the empathy alone I think people should read this book, just know what it is before you have unrealistic expectations.