*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Title: Frankly in Love
Author: David Yoon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Not only does Frankly in Love have a cool and enticing cover, it’s also one of the sweetest and most compelling stories I’ve read in a while. Frank Li is an adorable protagonist who, as a Korean-American, is looking to find his identity and a bit of romance in a world torn between two cultures. His parents expect him to find a nice Korean girl to settle down with, on threat of being disowned, but his heart is open to the world around him and he falls hard for Brit who is definitely not Korean. To hide this new found love, Frank and his friend Joy Song, concoct a elaborate plan to pretend to date to appease their parents while still pursuing the forbidden relationships outside of their cultural group. What could go wrong?
Frank is absolutely endearing. He’s so pure and awkward in all the right ways. I know teenage me would have crushed on him hard. He’s funny and light-hearted in a way, dear readers, that will have you gushing as you move through these pages. He’s a teenage boy so his plans are often ill-thought out and reckless, but his intentions are true, even if they’re a bit dumb at times. In a good way!
There’s a lot of family and friend drama causing turmoil throughout. Franks sister is estranged and it’s often painful to watch Frank try to reconcile the difficult relationship she has with their parents, especially as things start to get touch in so many different ways. It’s also a struggle to see friendships strain and sometimes fail as differences become to great to surmount. What’s wonderful about this story though is the capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation throughout. The characters, even minor ones, experience great growth and learn from the mistakes they make. They are all so obviously human, thus are intrinsically flawed, however they do not fully turn a blind eye to these shortcomings and that leaves room for development. It’s encouraging. And with Frank leading the charge, your heart will absolutely warm to each and every character throughout.
10 out of 10 would recommend Frankly in Love. This story brought me so much joy. It deals with some difficult topics, but it was by no means heavy boots. It made me laugh and smile. It’s definitely a keeper for the collection.