Skip to main content

Frankly In Love Review


Frankly In Love by David Yoon 
Overview: You might think Frankly in Love is a fake dating story. It is not. Yes, there is some fake dating, but it's not the point. Frankly in Love is a family story. It's about cultures and cultures clashing. It's about generational gaps and language barriers. It's about customs and expectations and figuring out which ones are really important. Frank is trying to figure out what it means to be Korean-American. He's trying to figure out what it means that his parents barely say, "I love you." He's trying to figure out how his sister was cut out of the family for marrying a black man. He's working out what it means to face losing someone you love. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 I liked all of the characters. There's time taken to flesh all of them out. From Q who is black and lives in a super accepting family to Frank's parents who are racist towards everyone who's not Korean to Brit and her white family who try their best to say and do the right thing but miss the mark sometimes. A lot of the book revolves around the issue of race and thinking about how different races interact with one another and what that means. Most of the characters are first defined by their background and skin color and how they relate that to the world before anything else which is an interesting approach given the focus of the story. Lots of the side characters are used as learning moments, which, again, in context, isn't entirely a bad thing.
Frank also deals with what it means to be Korean-American when the only part of him that feels Korean is his connection to his parents. He deals with the unique struggle of not only having to jump generational hurtles with his parents but also things like language barriers. Frank, his family, and Joy Song, the appropriate Korean girl he starts fake dating, get the most attention and development.

Plot: 4 The plot definitely has its ups and downs on the interest factor. I love the family story and I love the idea of having more books that talk about families and how they connect with each other. I find it a shame that the fake dating plot tried so hard for most of the book and just let the family stuff simmer in the background till the last quarter.
Honestly, my problem here and my problem with fake dating on the whole is that the person they're faking it with is always the person that has better chemistry so it's hard to care about most of that love triangle. I thought this book might take it in an interesting, new direction, but it really didn't. It sort of just existed to emphasize just how closed and not accepting of anyone Frank's parents were at the start. The way it dives so deep into a love triangle that feels pointless made the book really lag for me.
If you came for a lighthearted story about fake dating like all the promo emphasized, you'll realize you've been set up with a totally different book. While I don't think what you get is a bad book at all, I think people should at least be aware that they're getting into a much heavier book.

Writing: 4 The writing is both my favorite thing and biggest problem with this book. His styles is so unique. If you've read his wife, Nicola Yoon's, other books you'll notice a very similar style in the sense that they'll pick a minute detail and dig into the multitude of worlds behind it. While I love those moments, I feel like there's a point you have to contain it or it loses its luster.
Simply put, this book is way too long. There's a lot of fat that could have been cut, and, while it does add some interesting moments, it makes the reader wonder "What was the point of this scene?" So many of these moments could have been mentioned in passing or recapped. It would have definitely improved the pacing because I felt like I was slogging through a lot of unnecessary stuff to get to the really cool, really thoughtful core of the story.
So I really don't know what to say about this book. I enjoyed some parts to give it five stars. It goes into areas that haven't ever really been explored in this way in YA in a really special way. But there's also a lot of the story that didn't add to the narrative. Yes, they were things that happened in Frank's life, but not every day needs to be accounted for in detail to make the story feel full.
I guess I would say that Frankly in Love is a book that I would read while I also read other things. I think my biggest obstacle was that I got so hung up on only reading the one book.

Links of Interest:
Into YA with Carrie Allen: Here
Michigan vs the Boys: Review Here
Into YA with Candace Granger: Here
Six Goodbyes We Never Said: Review Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Blog Tour Stop: Like Home by Louisa Onomé

  Today, I want to shine the spotlight on Like Home by Louisa Onomé, which came out this week. That means you don't even have to wait to pick up a copy of your very own. Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Penguin/Delacorte Press for arranging this. So let's get into what this latest YA is all about! Synopsis: Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil. Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good. Only, Kate’s parents’ corne

YA You Need To Read: April 2021

It's already April! School has been super super hectic, and I'm starting my old job as a bookseller again, so I haven't had much time for reading lately (ironic, I know), but I did want to talk about some books coming out in April that I can't wait to read (one day) that might inspire you to pick them up. I particularly can't wait for My Epic Spring Break Up! It's been on my list for a while now (I mean, look at that cover), but I also found some new books that hadn't been on my radar while browsing around the internet that I wanted to bring to your attention.  Let me know in the comments what April books you can't wait for!  Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Kahn  April 6th Zara has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas for a while. She's always dealt with the Islamophobia that's rampant in her high school, but when the star football player gets suspended, Zara becomes the target of a racist attack by the rest of the team that puts her and her family'

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi: YA Book Review

  Yolk  by Mary H.K. Choi Overview: Jayne is in fashion school in NYC. Well, she's enrolled. It's debatable how often she actually attends. June has a fancy job in finance, or that's what everyone thinks. But when June gets cancer, the estranged sisters are pulled together because June needs Jayne's identity to get treatment. By pretending to be her sister to get the life-saving procedure, June is forced to come clean and pull Jayne back into her orbit. Though their relationship stays rocky, they're suddenly glued together, forced to admit that their respective glamorous lives are actually filled with roaches and trauma and missteps. Overall: 5+++ This book made me happy cry (that's never happened while reading) and sad cry. Characters: 5 The book is told from Jayne's perspective in an extremely close first person. This book has plot. Things happen in the way that life happens, but it's mostly just characters getting split open and probed for all their w

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

They Both Die At The End

They Both Die At The End  by Adam Silvera (368 pages) Overview: Mateo and Rufus are both going to die at the end, but I'm guessing you got that from the title. The thing is, Mateo and Rufus don't know each other till the day they are going to die. After getting their calls from Death Cast, the new organization that lets everyone know that they are going to die with a call sometime after midnight. While trying to digest the news, they both turn their attention to the Last Friend app in search of finding another "decker" to spend their final day with. As the boys try to think of ways not to waste their final moments, they start to form a bond they never anticipated. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 I have to applaud Silvera for keeping his (mostly) duel prospective narrative voices so separate. Mateo and Rufus not only have different traits but totally different dialects. Mateo is Puerto Rican, quiet, and totally paranoid with a hyperawareness about safe. Both careful an

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out  by Kate McGovern  Overview: Astrid has a form of brain cancer called astrocytoma that causes a star shaped tumor to form near her brainstem. Though she was in remission, two years later, the cancer comes back, and Astrid becomes convinced that she won't beat the disease. She starts to pursue options that will allow her to have a life in the future, namely, cryopreservation. After essentially freezing her body, she hopes to wake up when there's a cure for her cancer so she can rejoin the world and see some of the milestones she fears missing. On the road trip to tour the Arizona facility, though, Astrid makes other realizations about her life and eventual death that alters how she sees her original plan. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 Astrid is relatable. She has a touch of dry, witty humor that makes her relatable. She loves her friends and family deeply, but she also has a conviction to follow what feels best for her. I appreciated how she always tried t

Writing Morally Gray Characters: A Guest Post by Laurie Devore, Author of A Better Bad Idea

Laurie Devore is stopping by the blog today to talk about her new book from Imprint, A Better Bad Idea , which is out now! This mystery/thriller/romance fusion is Laurie's third book, and it's a new twist on her usual contemporary YA stories. For this guest post, Laurie talks about crafting morally gray characters that your readers will still feel attached to and cheer on. Here's her best writing tips:  I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of what people will do when they’re pushed to their brink. While my new novel, A BETTER BAD IDEA, may seem like a departure in some ways from my previous novels, I actually think their DNA is quite similar. The stakes are higher, but as ever, this book is about girls making unimaginable choices because of their circumstances, whether self-inflicted or not.   I’m constantly thinking about what it means to write morally gray characters, and I think the main takeaway from me is that I’m just much more interested in what people do and w

Perfect on Paper: YA Book Review

  Perfect on Paper  by Sophie Gonzales (2021 Release!) Preorder The Book on Bookshop! Before I get into the review, I'm just so excited to be writing a book review! I hadn't finished a book since the end of September :(. Hopefully that's over now. Anyway... Overview: Darcy is like Hannah Montana. Well, kinda. She's not a secret pop star, but she does have a hidden identity. She's the girl behind Locker 89, home of the best relationship advice in California. Or, at least, at her high school. People drop a letter and $10 in the locker, and Darcy collects them after school when her mom, a teacher there, stays late. This goes perfectly until Brougham catches her. While it's a minor disaster, he has a fascinating Australian accent and some traces of charm, and he ropes Darcy into giving him personal relationship coaching to win back his ex-girlfriend. But maybe he doesn't want his ex-girlfriend back after all? And maybe Darcy could get over her painful crush on h

Trigger Warnings Show Empathy

This week, YA Twitter was alight with controversy over a number of things this week (per usual, unfortunately). Most of it was run of the mill discussion over labeling YA and creating new genres (which I've talked a little about and I'll link below the posts below). But there was one conversation at the start of the week that baffled me a little. It started with a YA author tweeting something insensitive about trigger/content warnings. She basically said that they shouldn't exist because they spoil stories and that the world is hard and bad or negative things can't and shouldn't be avoided. And the first thing I thought when I saw that original tweet, before reading anyone else's takes or more of the thread was "Wow. People really don't get what a trigger warning is and who they're for." Because trigger warning are put on media now for a small number of people who have a genuine need. It's a relatively new thing in books (and really mos