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Monday, December 30, 2019

Frankly, It's A Lot of Fun

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As the child of hardworking Korean immigrants who sacrificed to move to the U.S. in order to give their children a better life, Frank Li is expected to assimilate.  But not too much.  Although he was born in Southern California and not even his parents use his Korean name, Frank is nevertheless expected to marry a Korean girl.  Problem:  Koreans are not exactly plentiful in Playa Mesa.  Also a problem:  Frank has already fallen hard for smart, funny Brit Means, who is white.  Thanks to his older sister's marriage to a Black man and her subsequent disownment from the family, Frank knows exactly how his loving (but totally racist) parents react to mixed-race relationships.  He can't let them know about his.

Enter Joy Song, the daughter of a couple Frank's parents know from Korea.  Joy's got a secret she's keeping from her own racist parents—she's dating a Chinese boy.  In order to keep all the adults in the dark, Frank and Joy decide to fake-date each other, a ruse that delights their parents.  When things go awry and then awry-er, Frank learns some important lessons about friendship, family, first loves, and forging the future for himself that he really wants.  

Frankly in Love by David Yoon is a funny, upbeat story that's more than just a romance.  Although the story spends a lot of pages on Frank's fumbling about on his path to true love, it also hits on issues of identity, racism, parental expectations vs. children forging their own paths, the struggles of those with hyphenated identities, and what love really means.  Frankly in Love has poignant parts along with humorous ones.  Frank's voice is especially engaging.  He's funny, self-deprecating, and thoughtful.  His friends are a likable bunch; even their flawed, sometimes totally clueless family members feel authentic.  The novel gets long, but overall, it's an enjoyable romp that's entertaining, thought-provoking, and fun.  I could have done without the strong language and R-rated bits; otherwise, I liked Frankly in Love a lot.

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and innuendo/sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. This one is also on my TBR shelf and I've heard good things about it from a number of people so I am looking forward to reading it.


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