Frankly in Love by David Yoon is a book I had been highly anticipating as I have seen it hyped up everywhere. Unfortunately, much of the book is stereotypical and underdeveloped, and there is no plot, just drama. I found that the main character is difficult to support, and many events are just tossed into the plot needlessly. Honestly, I am disappointed in this one.Title: Frankly in Love
Author: David Yoon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.
❃ 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. ❃
Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Frank Li is a Korean-American whose parents only allow him to date Korean girls. When Frank falls for Brit, a white girl, he is unsure how to break the news to his parents. But, lucky for him, he doesn’t have to. Joy, a family friend, is stuck in a similar situation with her Chinese boyfriend, and thus the two decide to fake date in order to satisfy their parents while they continue to date their actual partners in secret. However, things don’t go as smoothly when Frank and Joy start to fall in love for real.
❀ Frank is relatable, yet stereotypical
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Frank. I suppose he is relatable as he is struggling with his identity, but I think he’s kind of a bad person. He cheats on his girlfriend and acts like he is ashamed of her in order to impress his parents, and he doesn’t see an issue with this. Honestly, Frank is a stereotypical teenager, and this seems to be the trend for many other aspects of the book.
❀ Pacing is Slow
My main issue with the book is how poorly it is written. For starters, the pacing is a mess. The majority of the book is incredibly slow paced with little to no plot, but at the same time, there is way too much going on, and out of nowhere. Events that seem pretty significant are just thrown in for the sake of attempting to create plot. One instance of this is when Frank’s dad gets shot. Without context or reason behind this, I don’t care. There is far too much drama and not enough time spent actually calling out the racism that the book suggests it will defy. To me, the book would have been much more impactful had Frank ended up with Bri, the person his parents forbid him from dating, instead of dumping her for Joy, the Korean girl his parents always wanted for him, as this would have shown more resistance to Frank’s parents’ racism. On top of this, the author goes for the pretentious, overly metaphorical writing style, but it only makes him come across as though he is trying too hard. Yes, the Frank Li/Frankly bit is clever, but not when it is repeated that many times. This writing style allows for the book to drag on with internal monologue that is meant to sound profound, and I would have preferred actual action.
❀ Clichéd Story
Frankly in Love is a clichéd and stereotypical story about fake dating and identity. The main character is difficult to root for, and the writing is subpar. I’m not sure I would recommend this one as it is not only boring, but in my opinion, it also fails to comment and truly oppose Frank’s parents’ racism which seems to be its main goal.