I received an advanced listening copy from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since I saw the trailer on Penguin Random House’s Instagram. I thought it would be a nice, fluffy read with fake dating, one of my favorite tropes. Read on to find out what I thought of the book.
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.
Frank Lee is a second generation Korean-American. Knowing his parents won’t be okay with him dating Brit Means (not Korean, not part of the tribe), he starts a fake relationship with family friend Joy Song (who herself is dating a Chinese-American classmate). Like with any book with the fake dating trope, shenanigans ensue.
I started reading this book for the fluff that I thought it would offer. But Frankly in Love is so much more than the fake dating trope it’s marketed as. It confronts the mentality of second generation American kids, racism in the Asian American community, and so much more.
This book offers a fairly accurate representation of immigrant culture, wanting to stick to your tribe despite moving to a foreign country for a global experience, and Asian parenting. In fact, I was able to relate to this Korean-American parenting more than the Indian-American melodrama that When Dimple Met Rishi portrayed.
It took me a long time for me to finish this book because some of the topics were too heavy for me. And I had no interest in Frank’s relationship woes after a particular point. It was the family drama that made me stay because of how raw and realistic it was.
In addition to having lost interest in the fluff, I was also left wondering what certain characters even contributed to the book, including Q’s “hot sister” Evan. Why was she in the book? Right up to the last minute, I was waiting for her to do something, anything. I was also expecting Frank’s sister to play a bigger role than she did, but that never happened.
Overall, Frankly in Love is a moving, raw story about love, racism in America and the Asian-American community, and coming of age as a hyphenated American. It’s one 2019 book you should definitely check out!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5