I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo 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.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene GooTitle: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Rating: three-stars

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 never had a B. But in her charmed school life, there's one thing missing--she's never had a boyfriend. In fact, she's a known disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet.

When the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides it's time to tackle her flirting failures. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has watched obsessively for years--in which the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. Armed with her "K Drama Rules for True Love," Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos. All's fair in love and Korean dramas, right? But when the fun and games turn to feelings, Desi finds out that real-life love is about way more than just drama.


❃ 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: I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene Goo

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.

❀ Main Character is Manipulative

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.

❀ Strong Father-Daughter Relationship

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.

❀ A K-Drama-esque story

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo 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.

Book Quotes: I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene Goo

Book Beginning

When I was seven, I thought I moved a pencil with my mind. I heard this story about a man who taught himself how to see through objects so that he could cheat at card games. The idea was that if he reached a state of complete concentration and focus, he could do things with his mind that normal humans were incapable of.

Friday 56

“That kind of relationship. The way you guys are. I’ve never seen anyone like that with their parents.” He was complimentary, but there was something sad having on the edges of his words, as if this nice thing highlighted the crappy thing in his own life.”

About Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE and THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and cat, Maeby.

candid cover avatar

About The Candid Cover

Olivia ❀ YA book blogger, Starbucks lover, novice New Yorker, & professional bibliophile.

10 thoughts on “I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Maurene Goo

  1. ravenblake99 says:

    Wow, Desi does sound a bit creepy! I’m really looking forward to read this book and now I think I need to lower my expectations. Nice Review! 🙂

    • Candid Cover says:

      There is an attempt at an apology at the very end of the book, but in my opinion, it is not an acceptable show of remorse. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I was not satisfied with the outcome.

    • Candid Cover says:

      I have seen other reviews that have been more positive than mine, so I do suggest that you give this one a try just to see. It wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean that you might not enjoy it. I would love to hear your feedback if you do read it. 🙂

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