Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
TW: Racism towards Black and Latinx people (challenged) & (another one in white because it spoils a major plot line) death of a parent
This book is insanely hard to discuss without mentioning spoilers so please be cautious if you want to go into this book blindly.
This book has been getting so much hype with Penguin Teen basically throwing it in our faces, it being a Book of the Month Selection, and well David Yoon being married to the iconic Nicola Yoon (They are so cute and posted a pic of them with their books together and I almost cried).
With that being said, all I knew about this book was that it was about a Korean American teen named Frank who starts dating a white girl. His parents are not be okay with this so he pretends to date a family friend. The book trailer is hella cute and does a better job explaining things, if you want to check it out.
This book is so much more than a fake dating cutesy love story. Not that there is anything wrong with cutesy love stories, I love them. But, I was not expecting the emotional punch that this book hit me with. It is heartbreaking and emotional and raw. It talks about racism in a frank (haha) and honest way and from the eyes of a teen living in 2019. Obviously, David Yoon isn’t a teen, but I think he does an accurate job portraying teenagers in 2019 who are sick and tired of racism from older generations. Marketing this book solely as a cutesy love story is a disservice because if you want that love story, you’re not going to get it and if you like harder hitting contemporaries, you might skip this one.
Please note that I am not Korean American or of Asian descent and thus cannot accurately assess the representation. It is an Own Voices novel which is awesome.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The Korean American representation
- The discussions of racism in such a real way. There are multiple scenes that felt so real and even though I personally have not experienced them, I know people who have and as a white person are always valid reminders of things not to do. (I loved the scene with Britt’s parents at the restaurant)
- Frank’s voice. He is funny and I loved his internal monologue
- I loved how there was Korean writing in this
- I was full on crying at the end of this book which I 100% did not expect, but I got so attached to Frank and his situation that it was hard not to cry. I also was tired so that probably contributed
- The pun of Frank Li “Frankly” in love
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK:
- How they are all so smart, but don’t study at all (which honestly is not part of the story, but as someone who spent all of High School studying, it is a pet peeve)
- The beginning is a bit rough and it takes a while to get into the story
- David Yoon’s writing style is a bit stream of conscious and random at times, but once I got used to it, it was great.
- The fake dating part of this story was honestly not my favorite part, it was not bad, but it was not the best and I felt a bit bad for some of the characters caught in the crosshairs.
- If you are looking for a fun time with a cute fake dating plot you are not going to get it.
If you like hard-hitting contemporary novels that deal with serious and relevant issues, check this one out.
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Goodreads! This was also my FIRST Goodreads giveaway win which was amazing.
Goodreads Link: Frankly in Love