Hey all, Dani here.
My work week is over and all I have planned for this weekend is reading, blogging, and watching some TV and movies, so it should be a good few days. I’ve actually finished most of my blog schedule for November, so now I have a heck of a lot of posts to get all prepped up and written. My hope is that by the end of October I’ll have everything but my Weekly Wrap-Up posts all written for November. That would be really nice. So I guess we’ll see what happens.
I still have a lot to do to be ready for NaNoWriMo, and there’s only a couple more weeks to go, so I’m trying to figure out a good schedule to get everything finished in time.
Anyway, before I can really focus on that, first I have to focus on getting today’s post (and the rest of this weekends’ posts written. So let’s jump into today’s review.
Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.
Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
In this moving novel, debut author David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Up first, I just have to say that I absolutely love that the title is a pun. I think it also helps to set some of the tone of the book, because I think that there is plenty of humor throughout, especially nerdy humor.
But I also feel like I need to make the comment that there will likely be some scenes in this book that make you uncomfortable. The scenes I’m talking about have to do with racism. Frank Li himself talks about how his parents are racist towards pretty much everyone who is not Korean–author David Yoon said in an interview with his wife that was included at the end of the B&N special edition of this book that a particular scene in the car with Frank and his parents was incredibly difficult to write, but he also realized that it was very important and necessary for the story. Just reading their judgments about all the other races was a vicariously awkward and frustrating experience. I know that I’m privileged in that I am white, so I haven’t experienced anything like what Frank and Joy and their friends and families deal with, but what makes it painful to me is that I am aware that this is a fairly common occurrence. I really wish it wasn’t, and I hope that we as a global society can improve on this issue as time progresses.
I pretty much flew through this book. Frank and Q and Joy and Brit and Wu and Paul and just about every character who shows up in this book feels so well-developed and real, and so many of them are so very geeky. On a random side note, there were a couple of D&D related points that did not ring as wholly accurate for me–such as there only being 5 different polyhedral shapes mentioned in the dice set (where were the d10 and d%?) But overall that was a minor issue, so it didn’t affect my rating.
It was fairly obvious based on the book summary what was going to happen with the romance plot of the story, but it was the family dynamic, and how the curveball messed with absolutely everything that really made this story wonderfully complex. I laughed, I cried, and overall I really enjoyed this story.
Oh, and I’m happy to say that there was some very nice character growth from Frank’s parents when it came to the racism issue. Or at least it was a small step in the right direction.
I like that this story covered senior year and the summer leading up to college. I’m thinking maybe the second book will cover more of the college experience? Possibly? I don’t know. All I know is that Goodreads tells me there will be a Frankly in Love #2 next year. I’m looking forward to it.
Where to Get a Copy
You can also check with your local library.