"I loved, loved, LOVED this book." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
"Big-hearted, honest, hilarious, and achingly romantic." —Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at The End
"This is a classic in the making." —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Warcross
"This book is pure joy." —Deb Caletti, Printz Honor Recipient for A Heart in a Body in the World and National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
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 girlwhich 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.
In this moving debut novel—featuring striking blue stained edges and beautiful original endpaper art by the author—David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.
|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
David Yoon grew up in Orange County, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Nicola Yoon, and their daughter. He drew the illustrations for Nicola's #1 New York Times bestseller Everything, Everything. Frankly in Love is his first novel. You can visit him at davidyoon.com.
Read an Excerpt
Mom-n-Dad work at The Store every day, from morning to evening, on weekends, holidays, New Year’s Day, 365 days out of every year without a single vacation for as long as me and Hanna have been alive.
Mom-n-Dad inherited The Store from an older Korean couple of that first wave who came over in the sixties. No written contracts or anything. Just an introduction from a good friend, then tea, then dinners, and finally many deep bows, culminating in warm, two-handed handshakes. They wanted to make sure The Store was kept in good hands. Good, Korean hands.
The Store is an hour-long drive from the dystopian perfection of my suburban home of Playa Mesa. It’s in a poor, sun-crumbled part of Southern California largely populated by Mexican- and African-Americans. A world away.
The poor customers give Mom-n-Dad food stamps, which become money, which becomes college tuition for me.
It’s the latest version of the American dream.
I hope the next version of the American dream doesn’t involve gouging people for food stamps.
I’m at The Store now. I’m leaning against the counter. Its varnish is worn in the middle like a tree ring, showing the history of every transaction that’s ever been slid across its surface: candy and beer and diapers and milk and beer and ice cream and beer and beer.
“At the airport,” I once explained to Q, “they hand out title deeds by ethnicity. So the Greeks get diners, the Chinese get laundromats, and the Koreans get liquor stores.”
“So that’s how America works,” said Q, taking a deeply ironic bite of his burrito.
It’s hot in The Store. I’m wearing a Hardfloor tee shirt perforated with moth holes in cool black, to match my cool-black utility shorts. Not all blacks are the same. There is warm black and brown black and purple black. My wristbands are a rainbow of blacks. All garments above the ankles must be black. Shoes can be anything, however. Like my caution-yellow sneakers.
Dad refuses to turn on the air-conditioning, because the only things affected by the heat are the chocolate-based candies, and he’s already stashed those in the walk-in cooler.
Meanwhile, I’m sweating. I watch a trio of flies trace an endless series of right angles in midair with a nonstop zimzim sound. I snap a photo and post it with the caption: Flies are the only creature named after their main mode of mobility.
It makes no sense that I’m helping Mom-n-Dad at The Store. My whole life they’ve never let me have a job.
“Study hard, become doctor maybe,” Dad would say.
“Or a famous newscaster,” Mom would say.
I still don’t get that last one.
Anyway: I’m at The Store only one day a week, on Sundays, and only to work the register—no lifting, sorting, cleaning, tagging, or dealing with vendors. Mom’s home resting from her morning shift, leaving me and Dad alone for his turn. I suspect all this is Mom’s ploy to get me to bond with Dad in my last year before I head off to college. Spend father-n-son time. Engage in deep conversation.
Dad straps on a weight belt and muscles a hand truck loaded with boxes of malt liquor. He looks a bit like a Hobbit, stocky and strong and thick legged, with a box cutter on his belt instead of a velvet sachet of precious coins. He has all his hair still, even in his late forties. To think, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Seoul and wound up here. I wonder how many immigrants there are like him, working a blue-collar job while secretly owning a white-collar degree.
He slams his way out of the dark howling maw of the walk-in cooler.
“You eat,” he says.
“Okay, Dad,” I say.
“You go taco. Next door. Money, here.”
He hands me a twenty.
I say Okay, Dad a lot to Dad. It doesn’t get much deeper than that for the most part. For the most part, it can’t. Dad’s English isn’t great, and my Korean is almost nonexistent. I grew up on video games and indie films, and Dad grew up on I-don’t-know-what.
I used to ask him about his childhood. Or about basic things, like how he was able to afford a luxury like college. He grew up poor, after all, poorer than poor. Both my parents did, before Korea’s economic supernova in the late eighties. Dad said he would go fishing for river crabs when food ran low. Lots of people in the sticks did.
“Tiny crabby, they all crawling inside my net,” he told me. “All crawling crawling crawling over each other, they step-ping on each other face, try to get on top.”
“Okay,” I said.
“That’s Korea,” he said.
When I asked him what that meant, he just closed the conversation with:
“Anyway America better. Better you going college here, learn English. More opportunity.”
That’s his checkmate move for most conversations, even ones that start out innocently enough like, How come we never kept up with speaking Korean in the house? or Why do old Korean dudes worship Chivas Regal?
So for the most part, he and I have made a habit of leaving things at Okay, Dad.
“Okay, Dad,” I say.
I grab my phone and step into the even hotter heat outside. Corrido music is bombarding the empty parking lot from the carnicería next door. The music is meant to convey festivity, to entice customers inside. It’s not working.
Buzz-buzz. It’s Q.
Pip pip, old chap, let’s go up to LA. It’s free museum night. Bunch of us are going.
Deepest regrets, old bean, I say. Got a Gathering.
I shall miss your companionship, fine sir, says Q.
And I yours, my good man.
Q knows what I mean when I say Gathering.
I’m talking about a gathering of five families, which sounds like a mafia thing but really is just Mom-n-Dad’s friends getting together for a rotating house dinner.
It’s an event that’s simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary: ordinary in that hey, it’s just dinner, but extraordinary in that all five couples met at university in Seoul, became friends, moved to Southern California together to start new lives, and have managed to see each other and their families every month literally for decades.
The day ends. Dad changes shirts, trading his shop owner persona for a more Gathering-appropriate one: a new heather-gray polo that exudes success and prosperity. We lock up, turn out the lights. Then we drive forty minutes to the Kims’.
It’s the Kim family’s turn to host the Gathering this time, and they’ve gone all out: a Brazilian barbecue carving station manned by real Brazilians drilling everyone on the word of the night (chu•rra•sca•ri•a), plus a wine-tasting station, plus a seventy-inch television in the great room with brand-new VR headsets for the little kids to play ocean explorer with.
It all screams: We’re doing great in America. How about you?
Included among these totems of success are the children themselves, especially us older kids. We were all born pretty much at the same time. We’re all in the same year in school. We are talked and talked about, like minor celebrities. So-and-so made academic pentathlon team captain. So-and-so got valedictorian.
Being a totem is a tiresome role, and so we hide away in the game room or wherever while outside, the littler kids run amok and the adults get drunk and sing twenty-year-old Ko-rean pop songs that none of us understand. In this way we have gradually formed the strangest of friendships:
• We only sit together like this for four hours once a month.
• We never leave the room during this time, except for food.
• We never hang out outside the Gatherings.
The Gatherings are a world unto themselves. Each one is a version of Korea forever trapped in a bubble of amber—the early-nineties Korea that Mom-n-Dad and the rest of their friends brought over to the States years ago after the bubble burst. Meanwhile, the Koreans in Korea have moved on, become more affluent, more savvy. Meanwhile, just outside the Kims’ front door, American kids are dance-gaming to K-pop on their big-screens.
But inside the Gathering, time freezes for a few hours. We children are here only because of our parents, after all. Would we normally hang out otherwise? Probably not. But we can’t exactly sit around ignoring each other, because that would be boring. So we jibber-jabber and philosophize until it’s time to leave. Then we are released back into the reality awaiting us outside the Gathering, where time unfreezes and resumes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First I want to thank Bookish First for the opportunity to read and review this book. This book was amazing. I loved that it showed how no ones family is perfect. They all have issues. Frank trying to teach his parents how to not be racist, was interesting. But he does it in a respectful way. I really loved the fake dating trope. I thought it was fun! Joy and Frank made it work with out it being confusing to the reader. The way it was written made it seem very believable. Frank and Q's friendship was amazing! I love how they were always there for each other and were not afraid to show it! The way they texted each other was so funny! I loved "old Chap" it was gold! Frankly In Love is one of my favorite books of the year. This book was real! It was heartfelt and beautiful. The characters were so real. You couldn't help but love them all. Even his parents were lovable. I had high hopes for David's book because I love his wife's books. And I will tell you right now that it wasn't a disappointment! David and Nicola Yoon are now both auto buys!
Frankly In Love had me laughing out loud and choking back tears on public transit. I was personally interested in this book, because I've been in mixed race relationships in the past; this book didn't disappoint! Since I wasn't familiar with the book before reading, I had no idea it was a debut novel. When I found out, I was seriously impressed! I read the entire thing in one sitting, which is unusual for me. I was so eager to find out how the story would end, or how certain characters would react to different plot points. It was a really enjoyable read! I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA- especially if you have experience in a mixed race relationship.
The story is mainly about high school life. There were a lot dealing with the main character being the best in everything. For example, The PSat and SAT being the focus for the main character future. Also, the mom and dad wanted their sibling to succeed. I felt like the story was good, but I wanted more in-dept explanation in this story. however, i believe that the story needs a little work. The work the story need is plot development. High school setting should not be the main focus. The story should explore other setting elements. for example, the community setting. the community setting can set the story in a realistic perspectative. Overall, I recommend people to read this author work because of the expectation of being a bright teenage. Also, the high school drama is the main aspect of this story.
Frank Li is Korean, but he is also American. Though his parents adhere to the traditional way of living and expect him to marry a nice Korean girl, Frank is attracted to Brit Means, a white girl. Frank's friend Joy is dating a Chinese boy, which is also against her parents' wishes. Together they come up with a plan to fake a dating relationship in front of their parents and date who they want in secret. As they spend more time together, Frank and Joy find that they have more in common than they thought. Through a series of unforseen events and circumstances, they will have to make a decision about their relationship that just might change their lives. Honestly, this book was unexpected for me in many ways. I was expecting a light hearted romance with mishaps, drama, and comedy, but this book was so much more than that. The racism displayed by all kinds of people, including Frank's parents, was shocking and awful, yet relevant. I wish Frank would have spoken up more when his parents were saying such horrible things. The stakes are quite high at some points in the plot, and the subject matter was so serious and even sad. The writing was effective and the characters were so realistic that they could have existed in real life. I believe there are some important lessons to learn about life, love, and relationships in this book, and I ended up marking a few quotes that touched my heart at the end. The insta-love was a little too much for me, and I didn't care for the excessive use of profanity, especially the f-bomb. Nevertheless, I do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA and doesn't mind controversial content. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley's Bookish First program. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
“We’re all part of it whether we want to be or not. Everyone is part of the problem, and everyone is part of the solution, and that’s what makes everything so infuriating. I think all I really want to say is I wish things were simpler. But I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. It hurts a little more each time.” Do you do what is right or do you do what is easy? Frank Li does a little of both. He is funny, sweet, & loyal. But most importantly, he wants to be in love. Frank wants to be in love so bad that he falls head over heels in love with the first girl that shows him any kind of attention. It was quick. Straight up instalove. And then he falls in love again with another girl. Come on Frank. Don’t be that guy. Get it together. He is just a confused kid who tries too hard to please everyone including his parents. And frankly, () I was annoyed with him and his parents several times while reading this book but ended up loving everyone at the end. It reminded me of those 80’s teen movies that were really popular back in the day. I loved all the corny jokes and the realistic portrayal of friendships. We are all perfectly imperfect people and that’s okay. We learn. We grow. We become better. Frankly In Love is ultimately a story about speaking your truth and loving unabashedly. A easy read that looks at parental biases and expectations. I have an idea of where this story is going and so I’ll pick up the next book to see if I’m right. I hope I am because it would be the perfect ending to this little tale.
Prior to reading this book, I was not overly familiar with korean culture and did not know much about how the families work and what their expectations are for their children's future. I loved Frank Li and thought he had a good strong personality and was extremely funny. I could picture the "Gatherings" with his family and really felt for the estranged relationship that he had with his sister Hanna. She was disowned when she married a black man. Frank is expected to conform to the expectation that he will one day marry a korean woman and that he will only ever date korean girls. There is a problem; he likes a white girl. He has a korean friend that has the same predicament. She is dating a chinese boy. They run interference for each other and end up falling in love. However, then his dad has an argument with her father and she is no longer good enough. There was so much humor in this book and I found the characters very endeering. Thanks for the ARC, BookishFirst!
"America, this is Korea. Korea, this is America. Everyone good? Can I go do my thing now? Good." If you're thinking of picking up Frankly in Love because of the adorable book trailer and the promise of fake-dating content, you should adjust your expectations going in. The sweet, tropey romance between Frank and Joy constitutes about 20% of the book (and that's generous). I say that up front because I don't want readers to be disappointed that they aren't really getting the book they were promised. If you let David Yoon tell the story that he came to tell, you're in for a treat. Frankly in Love may not be the romance you might be expecting. It is, however, an outstanding YA debut: a loving look at identity, family, and the messiest parts of growing up. In my full review of the book, I talk about how much I loved Frankly in Love's nuanced handling of some difficult or painful racial and familial dynamics. The book is really about Frank's relationship with his parents, which is inseparable from his complicated relationship with his Korean heritage. In that respect, I think the book was a complete success. That story is raw and compassionate and complex and hopeful. I was pretty disappointed in the romance element--not only because there was so little of it, but because it really fails the female characters and makes Frank seem devoid of empathy in an out-of-character way. That said, I'd strongly recommend putting this one on the TBR. This probably won't make the list of my absolute favorites of 2019, but if you're only going to read a few YA titles this year, Frankly in Love should be on the list. I received an eARC of this title from the publisher at no charge in expectation of an honest review. No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own.
After being given the opportunity to read the first couple chapters, this is was what I wrote for my “first impression” of Frankly in Love by David Yoon: To be completely honest, what really drew my attention to Frankly in Love was the typography on the cover. The cover design is AMAZING! Unfortunately, it just not the type of genre that I can really get into. But I enjoyed the first look and the writing was relative and very conversational. I received an ARC of the book and figured “why not” and started reading it. Well... I fell in love with the writing, the plot and, most of all, the characters. I couldn’t put it down. The story was original — definitely belonging to the Young Adult genre, but so beautifully written and mature that anybody would enjoy it. The honest and down to earth subjects of racism, culture, family, love, friendship, gender and coming of age were a pleasure to read. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you will fall madly in love with Frankly in Love! ❤️
Thank you so much Putnam for the arc! Absolutely wonderful! Relatable, funny, heartfelt. I sobbed, I laughed. I connected with Frank so much! David Yoon’s writing flows, keeps you stuck to the book. It’s a page turner for sure. The plot was something I’ve experienced in my culture. I loved learning about the differences yet similarities cultures can have with regards to raising children. It was so funny, I fell in love with the characters! Especially Frank! Favorite contemporary of the year... ALL THE STARS!
Frank Li is a Korean-American high school senior and he just fell in love. The only problem is that she isn’t Korean. Knowing that his parents won’t approve of him hanging out with a white girl, Frank comes up with a plan to pretend to date family friend Joy, another Korean-American who currently has a Chinese boyfriend, so that they can both sneak out to see their real partners. What could go wrong? Frankly in Love was an adorable YA read. Frank and his friends easily felt like they could’ve been my friends and I in high school. It’s so fun to read about characters that are worried about SAT scores and college admissions, who go to museums and play stupid dance games and try new foods with their friends. This book contains a lot of important musings on race and I only wish that we had seen the characters actually talking to each other about these things more instead of just Frank’s thoughts. I know that there are high school kids having these conversations with each other and Frank and his friends were presented as incredibly smart so I wondered why they never actually addressed these things with each other on the page. Thanks to Penguin Teen and Bookish First for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Good, but Sad I won a copy of this book from BookishFirst. I really enjoyed reading this book. I have never read a book with a Korean-American narrator, and it was interesting to read from his perspective. Frank Li is hilarious. I liked how his relationship with his parents eventually evolved over time. I thought that how he described his parents' racism and reactions to his friends (who were different races) was hilarious. Frank's interactions with his friends are funny. Each group of friends have their own dynamics (Apeys, Limbos, etc.) that can often be hilarious. The last quarter of the book got a bit sad with Frank and his friends graduating and going to college, Frank's parents making up with Hanna, and Frank's father succumbing to cancer. All together, this was a really good book.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes I include are from the ARC and may not be included in the finished copy. ”You're so great, you make that wall in China feel like a chain-link fence." "You're so cool, global warming's scared of you. " I was over the moon when I received a review copy of literally the most anticipated YA contemporary of this year. Let's take a moment to first drool over the cover which I wanted to eat on more occasion than one. This is a coming-of-age story of Frank Li, a Korean American high school kid wading through the typical tribulations of high school along with some unforeseen curve balls that life is bound to throw. David Yoon's writing has a very fresh voice and is in fact unlike any other I've read before. Apart from having lighter fun moments, and a great friendship between Frank and his "top-chap" Q, the book also delves into themes of racism and the insecurity and pang of not knowing where you truly belong. That said, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed and I'm sure it's the insane amount of buzz that this book has been generating that's to blame here.
Frankly, I am in love with David Yoon’s debut novel!! This book is an anthem for any of us remembering or currently going through living in a household where there is a generational, cultural or communication gap. Though the Korean culture is the focus in this book, I find that everyone has something they can relate about. This book is for any of us who have lived through parents that have their own set of beliefs and are extremely unaccepting to other cultures other than their own. This is me reliving my most memorable decade of my living existence. Frankly, this was my life too! Frankly In Love beautifully addressed issues of first loves, love of parent and family, grief over loss, acceptance and understanding each others’ differences. The relationship between Frank and his family especially with his father had me in tears. Frank and the store, Frank and his really smart friends especially his best friend Q, and Frank with his first loves Brit and Joy, are what makes this book so amazing and truly enjoyable. This read gave me a lot of laugh out loud and unforgettable moments that kept me glued to this book no matter what, for the days I was devouring this! I was yelling “YES!”, slapping my hands on the table, shaking the book, and texting my friends and family about some of the situations described in the book. Every page is just as exciting as the next. The book explored and did try to attempt to be inclusive of races - learned lots of Korean quirks. But I have always been fascinated with the Korean culture so much living in Los Angeles, being first introduced to the cuisine, Kdrama, Kpop, that I even made the decision to go to Seoul and Busan for our family’s spring break trip (BTS had nothing to do with it). So when this book came across my radar I knew I had to read this. This book checks all the boxes for what makes an exceptional Contemporary YA novel and I am not surprised at all that this book will be picked up as a movie. This book just reinforced my love for the YA genre and this book was not short in giving a brilliant exploration to growing up as a teen in America.Thank you @Davidoftheyoon for an amazing and brilliant novel. Thank you PenguinTeen for the ARC copy of this amazing book for an opportunity to read and review.
I was SO excited for Frankly in Love as I love a good fake dating rom-com and the hype has been real for this debut. Plus, I love Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything and love that her husband is also writing YA now too! I loved how strong the voice in Frankly in Love is as it really stands out. Frank Li is very much a nerd, and I love how clearly this is made. Also, the way his voice is written is just so funny. What stood out the most, though, is all of the timely topics that are covered. David Yoon touches upon racism, immigration, family, culture, and identity. While I was expecting more of a rom-com, this novel definitely focuses more on these tough topics. Thank you, Bookish First, for sending me a copy to read in advance!
I received this as an arc from bookishfirst. This was a novel that focused on self discovery, young love, and the cultural differences we might have. It was a cute book, that had deeper messages that wasn't just a love story. Would recommend highly to anyone!
This will be your new favorite book! Have you ever watched the previews of coming attractions in a theater and known right away -hey, I want to see THAT one? That was my reaction to some preview pages many months ago of the novel 'Frankly in Love,' and the book did not disappoint. Just like another recent, enjoyable coming-of-age novel ( 'Darius The Great is Not Okay,), this one has touching moments, laugh-out-loud moments and extremely emotional moments. I found myself telling my family members that they just had to listen to a certain part as I read it out loud. However, the whole is better than the parts. First person narrator, Korean-American high school student Frank Li is struggling to be the teenager he wants to be as he lives under the prison-guard watchful eyes of his Korean parents. They came to America for opportunities to create a better life, but by golly, they are determined to prove to their son that nothing is better than Korean traditions. Mother and Father Li drag Frank with them to Korean-exclusive dinner parties where teen children are expected to socialize and form special bonds. Readers of all ages will relate to Frank's dilemma of trying to enjoy as much freedom as possible while feeding his parents as few details as necessary to escape. While I enjoyed every chapter in this book, I had the sensation that the book may have originally ended with chapter 36 - "Life is But a Dream." Something about chapter 37 and un-numbered chapter 38 "After We End," seemed like later additions. As if an editor might have suggested that readers could possibly wonder why a character was so important and perhaps it would be better and more all-inclusive to suddenly add a surprising twist; this way readers will know definite outcomes rather than be left guessing. Readers of any nationality and almost any age will sympathize with Frank as he attempts to navigate his social life with some harmless guile and in the process temporarily wins his parents' approval. Some websites are recommending this book for ages 14-17, but this book defies an age niche. This is a don't miss read. Occasionally I wish there were an extra star, and I would use it for this novel: Frankly in Love .
This book adeptly captures the teen voice, particularly how teens don't just have one maturity level, even within a single person. They can be making stupid jokes one second, but when the conversation shifts, drop all pretense and expose deep vulnerability to a trusted friend. Maybe they're blinded by early love, but their eyes are wide open to injustice and toxic viewpoints even within their own families. Frankly in Love is funny, heartfelt, honest and engaging. Offers openings to discuss race, heritage, class, sexuality, familial/cultural expectations, gun violence, racism from a variety of perspectives, and how different people have different ideas of what happiness and contentment look like. A love story, but not a romance.
It’s that time of year when high school seniors are sweating their SAT scores and getting accepted to their dream school. It’s also a time of crushes and first loves. For Frank Li it’s all of these things and more. He’s the child of Korean immigrant parents who fiercely cling to all things Korean even going so far as to bestow upon their son a name with seven letters for good luck. He feels like he’s a child of two worlds, caught in the middle of two cultures. When he falls for a girl who is not from their tribe, he has to hide their romance from his very racist parents. I thought this was a fun read even though it deals with a very serious topic. The author shows how prejudice is wrong and hurtful and uses humor to diffuse a sensitive subject. Frank is a great character whom I grew to love and admire as I watched him grow and mature over the course of the story. He is smart, funny, a loving son and devoted best friend who grows up a lot over the course of one summer. Mostly funny, sometimes sad, this is a good YA read about family, racism and first love. 3.75 stars
I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Frankly in Love by David Yoon. This story about Frank Li and his senior year experiences completely pulled me in from the very first page. The detailed, descriptive, and often colorful writing style held my attention and the wonderfully developed characters in this story totally captivated me. Quite “Frankly” I fell in love with Frank, his friends and surprisingly even his parents. This is a beautifully written story of self discovery, young romance, friendship, and family. This coming of age story is thoroughly entertaining and I highly recommend it! It is definitely an outstanding story that I believe will be enjoyed by readers of all ages! Frankly in Love is David Yoon’s first novel. It is a stand-alone Contemporary YA book that is written from a first person point of view and is divided into three sections. It explores subjects such as cultural differences, racism, violence, illness, death and grief. I also feel it gives a very realistic view of a high school teenager’s life, in particular their expectations, stresses, and experiences throughout their senior year. Finally, it depicts the challenging transition from high school senior to college freshman. This story follows the main character Frank Li through his senior year of high school as he struggles to rise above the cultural conflict of being a first generation Korean American teenager and deals with his heartfelt frustration of wanting to love freely. ~ “We all just want to love who we want to love.”~ Frank Li is beginning his senior year of high school. In many ways he is a typical high school “nerd”. He’s taking multiple AP classes, preparing for the SAT’s and applying to colleges. He loves hanging out with his best friend “Q” and enjoys socializing with his friends from his AP classes known as the “Apeys”. However, Frank is very different from most of his friends because he is also a Korean American. His parents, who immigrated to America, firmly hold onto their Korean customs and beliefs. Although Frank was born and raised in Southern California and can barely speak Korean, his parents expect him to follow many of their Korean traditions. Most importantly, they expect him to marry a nice Korean girl. Brit Mean is one of Frank’s Apey friends. Frank considers her intense, funny and a nerd just like him. She is the girl of his dreams but she’s not Korean. When Brit suggests they be partners on a calculus assignment everything changes. Frank and Brit become close and decide to date but this presents a huge problem for Frank. How will he date Brit and keep it a secret from his very intrusive parents? How can he possibly tell Brit his parents are racists and will never approve? When he finds out that Joy Song, one of the Limbos, is in a similar circumstance they come up with a plan. The plan is “to pretend date each other” to keep their parents off their backs. This plan sounds like the perfect solution! It makes their parents happy and also allows them the freedom they seek to date others. As Frank and Joy are thrown together by the circumstances of their plan, they become very close and are surprised by how much they enjoy each other’s company. Soon Frank begins to question the wisdom of their plan. I would like to thank G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for YA & Penguin Teen publishers for receiving an ARC through BookishFirst for my honest review.
"People who let themselves learn new things are the best kind of people." I'm not usually a huge fan of any books that fall under the Contemporary genre, YA or otherwise. However, I absolutely enjoyed Frankly In Love. The main character, Frank Li, is adorable and hilarious. This book is so much more than a story of Frank Li in love. The author, David Yoon, touches on some extremely important topics affecting today's youth including racism, parental pressure, diversity, inclusion, culture, customs, and more. The reader is easily able to understand the struggles that Frank and his group of friends faces, even if we can't personally relate to them. If you're not a young adult, I still recommend giving this book a read, especially if you enjoy the Netflix/Canadian show Kim's Convenience. Side note...I am dying to try barley tea now, as this is the second book I read in a row where it's mentioned multiple times. Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this from #BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.
This novel turned out to be so much more than a teen boy trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in. It's a story about friendship, family, sacrifice, priorities, racism, first love, and clash of cultures and economic hierarchies. The author has expertly dealt with tough issues in an authentic and sensitive way. What I loved about this debut novel: 1) The point of view character Frank is flawed, lovable, intelligent, and sensitive 2) The family dynamics go deeper than just Korean culture verses American culture; the author explores what it means to sacrifice for family, including keeping secrets to protect others 3) The diverse characters represented, not only in race, but also in sexual orientation 4) The humor, sarcasm, wit, and private jokes characters share 5) The raw emotions from elation to grief that I felt while reading I highly recommend this debut novel and will seek more by this author.