Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: December 18, 2018
Jisu's traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul's premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Jisu's success, and going on the recommended dates is Jisu's compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco. Where she'll have the opportunity to shine academically—and be set up on more dates!
Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Jisu finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Jisu into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn't parent and matchmaker approved?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
I was intrigued when I first saw 29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz since I don’t know much about Korean culture, and the story sounded super cute. It tells the story of a girl who goes on dates set up by a matchmaker, and I loved reading about each of her 29 dates. The main character is also enjoyable, and I would say that this is the perfect pick-me-up.
This book tells the story of a girl who is sent to America after struggling at her competitive high school in Korea. At the same time, her parents have set her up with a matchmaker, and she must juggle school with frequent blind dates. I enjoyed reading about how Jisu begins to find herself and her true passion while in America, and her process of adjusting. I would have appreciated more about the culture (both from San Francisco and Seoul), but I still found the story interesting.
One aspect I found intriguing in the novel is the way each chapter is preceded with a little transcript of one of Jisu’s 29 dates. These short scenes add a bit of humour to the book, and I feel like they really showcase Jisu’s personality. They also add some suspense as Jisu gets closer and closer to her 29th date, and I was excited for her to finally find the right match.
Jisu is a likeable character, and she is easy to relate to. She deals with a lot as she is shipped off to a new country and has to balance her love life and dreams of an Ivy League school. The pressure she faces from her parents to succeed and her uncertainty about her future make her realistic. I enjoyed how Jisu is still respectful to her parents and their wishes and is willing to continue the dates in her new country. She is sweet, but she is also unafraid to stick up for herself, which makes her an enjoyable character.
29 Dates is a cute story about family, self-discovery, and love. I enjoyed reading about each of Jisu’s dates and how likeable Jisu is. I would recommend this one to young adults for the relatablility, but the content is still appropriate for a younger audience.