Meeting Frank Li in Frankly in Love by David Yoon

"Love is a belief mutually held. As soon as that belief fades on either end, then poof, the whole thing falls face-flat like a tug-of-war suddenly gone one-sided." 

Frankly in Love by David Yoon follows the story of a Korean-American kid called Frank Li in his senior year. Caught in between his parents' traditional monthly gathering with their old Korean friends and their children who call themselves the Limbo, Frank finds that most of the time it is hard to balance this part of his life with his own Southern California upbringing. 

Even more difficult, his parents have this one rule when it comes to Frank's romantic life: date Korean, preferably the one in their tribe. Nothing is a problem until Frank falls in love with the smart and white Brit Means from his Apey class. Facing a similar struggle, Frank then proposes to his fellow Limbo Joy Song a pact: they will pretend to date each other in front of their parents but go off with their actual partner as soon as they are out of the elders' sight. Everything goes smoothly until eventually the fake-dating leads into something more serious and Frank discovers more about love and himself through the charade.

First things first, I must point out that this book was a love story between teenagers tangled with family issues and racism; and the representation, I have to admit, was quite well-written as a whole. Through this book I learned more about Korean culture and how, for the elders, racism towards other races still commonly happened. Frank's point of view easily made me understand how hard it was the journey to search for one's identity. For this, I decided to give two stars: one for the great rep and the other for how relatable Frank was as a teenager.

The last star (for which I finally decided to give this book a 3-star rating) was divided into two halves: the first half was dedicated solely to the plot and the other one was for Frank and Q's friendship. Sorry if it sounds complicated but honestly that was exactly how I felt during my time reading. I loved the plotit was no doubt a little slow but I felt like I got a lot from itand the last part made me kinda tear up too. Frank and Q's friendship was another highlight of my Frankly-in-Love journeyI would love to hear more of Q's side of the story one day. The writing style was a bit confusing to catch up with at first but it got better and funnier when I had finally gotten used to it. Sadly, the same couldn't be said about the other aspects hence my rating stopped at three in contrast to my initial expectation.

The romance parts were okay but not that great. Fake-dating should be a very fun trope but I didn't feel enough chemistry between Frank and Joy. Their romance felt too abrupt, just like Frank's other one with Brit, though it was a good thing that, despite the quickness, both relationships didn't feel exactly like insta-love so I could still stomach the sudden turn of events easily. To put it simply, it was still cute in a teenager-ish kind of way. But frankly, I was not a big of Frank Li's character. Let's for a while forget the fact that he cheated. Guess what? It was still hard to like him.

In conclusion, I had a very mixed feeling about this book. Perhaps it's partly my fault for setting my expectation bar too high, but then again, a lot of my mutuals on Goodreads seemed to enjoy this book so much. If you want to read a book with a good Asian rep, Frankly in Love could be the one you want to give a try. I mean, mixed reviews or not, I was still able to really enjoy the story. It was just the characters that were a bit hard to care about.

Actual rating: 3