I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love is the K drama-inspired book that has been on my most anticipated books list for quite some time. However, while the concept had so much potential, it got a bit creepy, and the main character became manipulative. I did still enjoy some aspects of the novel, like the strong bond between the main character and her father, but I feel like this story could have been so much more than it was.
When I saw that this book featured K drama aspects, I was immediately intrigued. I have never seen something like this done before, and I am such a sucker for anything K drama, K pop, you name it. The plot of this book is about a girl who creates a list of steps to get a boyfriend that she discovered while analyzing Korean dramas. Right from the beginning, I could see where things could go horribly wrong, but I kept reading because I had such high hopes. There are some redeeming qualities in the story, such as the artistic aspects which I also love to see, but the plot is really predictable, which I didn’t enjoy. This book was a bit underwhelming and I really wanted so much more from it.
My main issue with this book is the main character’s behaviour. While she is creating her plan to win over her crush, she actually plans for things to go wrong. Desi actually plans out fake car crashes, which I thought was pretty strange. What’s even creepier is the fact that she actually executes these plans and risks both her and her crush’s lives. She doesn’t seem to understand that Luca is a real person with feelings and that she shouldn’t be using him for the sake of having a boyfriend. I also didn’t like the way Desi changes to be someone that she isn’t for the sake of a boy. She joins art club, even though she isn’t an artist. She makes her friends help her out, even though they tell her that what she’s doing isn’t going to work in the long run. I just don’t like Desi’s manipulative personality and warped ideas of what love really is.
Going back to what I said earlier, this book does have some redeeming qualities. Desi has such a strong relationship with her father, which is something that I love to see in books. Her dad is so adorable and is a K drama enthusiast. Since Desi’s mother has passed away, it’s just her and her Appa (which I learned means Dad in Korean). Because of this, her dad is super protective and will do anything to make sure that she is safe. I really enjoyed reading about their time together cooking and watching dramas. If only the rest of the book was as wholesome as this.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a K drama-esque story about a girl who creates a list of steps to win over her crush. This concept could have been amazing, but the main character’s creepiness ruined it. However, there were some redeeming aspects, such as the theme of family, so I wouldn’t say that I disliked this book. I just feel like it could have been done in a way that was much more interesting and without the staged accidents.