New Release Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Crushed on by kelly, on September 19, 2019, in New Releases, Reviews / 4 Comments

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!

New Release Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love, #1)

by David Yoon
on September 10, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 432

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 »

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.

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4 responses to “New Release Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    I’m even more happy that I read it as an ARC before all the marketing hype. I loved this emotional book and gave it 5 stars.

    • I didn’t read it all that early, but I feel like I picked it up because I wanted a light romcom, and it really swayed my opinions, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the impactful discussions on racism throughout the whole book, and I just wish it was marketed it that way more, because I love deep contemporary books. I tried to get across my point that it was a good book, but some things bothered me.

  2. cyborgcinderella

    I’m so glad you were so honest about this Kelly! I definitely think this book was let down by a dishonest publishing/media campaign.

    • It definitely had the wrong message, I now feel better because other readers are also saying similar things…I thought maybe I was alone, and not getting the romance or the comedy…