Title: Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love #1)
Author: David Yoon
Genre: Young Adult
Published On: September 10th, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: 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.
I discovered this gem of a novel when I read an excerpt on Bookishfirst.com. I didn’t hesitate to request a physical arc after reading the first few chapters. But I didn’t even need a few chapters, I was hooked from the first few sentences. David Yoon has said that Frankly in Love is largely inspired from his own life experiences, and it comes across on each page. I was laughing. I was crying. But don’t let the synopsis fool you. The heart of this story is Frank’s love for his family.
Yoon’s honesty about Frank’s experience with racism–especially from his own parents–deftly causes the reader to turn their eye inward and consider their own reactions toward others. It’s also a great reminder that everyone is human. We make mistakes, we say things that are stupid, but we can grow and learn. While most of this novel is laugh-out-loud funny, it becomes a more heart-felt novel towards the end, allowing Frank to grow and learn from his experiences, as well. This novel will definitely be at the top of my favorite reads for the year.
(I had no idea this book is a first in a series until I went to Goodreads to leave a review. I hope this is correct. I can’t wait to read about what Frank Li is up to next!)