IT’S FINALLY OUT! One of my most anticipated releases of 2019! Ever since I heard that my fave, Nicola Yoon’s, husband was having his debut novel published, I’ve been super excited to get my hands on it. Then when I heard that Frankly in Love was all about fake dating and had Korean-American representation, I was praying to the bookish overlords to receive a sneaky ARC in the mail.
Finally, I had the chance to read it, and quite frankly, it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. This book is swoon-worthy, heartfelt, and so incredibly real. Frank’s voice is unique and engaging, and I loved every single moment I spent with him. Trust me when I say that this book is completely and utterly worth every ounce of hype it’s been receiving.
But if you’re still not convinced, find out ten reasons why you’re going to fall in love with 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”–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.
1. It has the “fake dating” trope.
The “fake dating” trope is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE tropes, right up there next to “bad boy with a heart of gold” and “enemies to lovers”. Holy crap, I just adore those kinds of books. And it was really well done in Frankly in Love! Sometimes it’s a little worrying heading into books when you know they have the “fake dating” trope because it can be hard to pull off at times, but David Yoon wrote the relationships PERFECTLY and I was just so happy with the way things turned out!
2. The romance is super cute.
HEART EYES FOR DAAAAAYS. Seriously. The romance in this book is so well written, and the first half of the novel especially is totally adorable. I really liked the way the two different love interests and their relationships with Frank Li were written and expanded on throughout the novel. This book had me swooning, gushing, and yelling at the characters to just say how they feel! I freaking loved it.
3. It has Korean-American representation.
HECK. YES. I’m so here for all the different kinds of representation in YA, and I’m so happy we finally have another novel with Korean-American representation on our shelves. While I can’t personally vouch for the rep, it felt really real and authentic, and I really loved that. I loved getting to know Frank Li’s family and learning more about the Korean culture through his family’s interactions with each other and their family friends.
4. It will make you want to eat some kimchi.
I had no idea what kimchi was before reading Frankly in Love, but now I’m DESPERATE to try it. I seriously just need to head out to a Korean restaurant and try ALL OF THE DISHES. There were quite a few references to food in this book, so make sure you have a snack at the ready for these times when those hunger pains will hit you out of the blue. Oh man, my mouth is watering right now. I NEED TO ORDER SOME KOREAN TAKEOUT, STAT.
5. It talks about the nuances of racism.
I’ve read quite a few books that talk about racism in the last couple of years (and I’m sure we’ve all read The Hate U Give by now), but Frankly in Love tackled it from a different angle. This book discusses how some communities can be prejudiced towards other communities and minorities, and that racism can exist everywhere. Racism is a really major topic in the book—and it’s what prompted the idea of the fake dating in the first place—and I felt as though it was discussed in a really in-depth and respectful manner.
6. The writing style is fresh, engaging and funny.
I felt like it’s been a while since a book has really captivated me from the first page, but I instantly knew Frankly in Love was going to be a book I adored. Frank’s voice is just so authentic and honest, and he’s really quite humorous at times. Connecting with him felt like an immediate thing, and I loved spending time with Frank so much so that it was actually somewhat sad to turn the final page of this gorgeous novel. I’m already excited to get my hands on David Yoon’s next book. What an incredible debut!
7. It discusses the expectations and pressures teens face in a realistic way.
Frank has high expectations, and his parents have super high expectations of him as well. Wanting to do well in high school and get into a good university is something that a lot of teens experience, and I could personally really relate to the pressures that we place on ourselves and have weigh us down from other people as well. I thought it was also interesting the way in which academic pressure was discussed as being something that’s expected from some communities more than others, and how Frank coped with that. It just felt really honest and relatable.
8. It will hit you right in the feels.
OOF. I was soooo not prepared for that. The first half of this book is super sweet and all about fake dating and Frank Li’s love life, then it really takes a darker turn in the second half. In the later part of the book is when it really delves into themes of the effects of racism, illness, and death, and I had no idea Frankly in Love was going to be anything other than an adorable contemporary. I did love how this book isn’t just a fluffy read though—it’s powerful and moving, and you’re definitely going to need a pack of tissues handy.
9. The parents play a major role in the narrative.
Parents so rarely play an active role in YA stories (if they’re even alive at all), so it felt really refreshing to read a book where the role of the parents in our protagonist Frank’s life was significant. Although they did frustrate me at times and there were moments when I just wished I could reach through the pages and shake them, I still loved having them there in such a major way. Can we get some more YA with present parents, please?
10. Nicola and David Yoon are a YA power couple.
These two are just the CUTEST. Step aside, Mary and Percy Shelley, this writer duo has absolutely stolen my heart. If you read and adored Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star or Everything, Everything, then you definitely have to give Frankly in Love a go. And if you haven’t read Nicola’s books yet, you really do have to add them to your TBR! Maybe we might even get a co-written novel one day…? I WOULD LOVE TO GET MY HANDS ON THAT. Just putting that out into the universe. Please and thank you.
Have you had the chance to read Frankly in Love yet? What was your favourite aspect? Was it on your TBR? I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of Frankly in Love in exchange for an honest review!