Frankly in Love by David Yoon is a cute coming-of-age story with more depths than first anticipated. I love when there are several layers in a story that are woven together in the end and when the author does not leave you with any easy answers. Please note that his review contains spoilers, so don’t continue reading if you haven’t yet read the book!
In short, this is about Frank and how his dreams and wishes do not meet his Korean parents’ expectations. And their racism. Sometimes it was so hard to read all the things Frank’s parents said and how they shut their daughter out for falling in love with a black man, that I wanted to toss the book into the wall. But luckily Frank was so loveable and I rooted so much for him that I had to continue reading and see how he would stand up to his parents and fight for his right to love whomever he want.
When Frank falls in love with white girl Brit (a big no no), he comes up with a fake-dating scheme with a Korean girl his parents would approve for him to be with. The fake-dating scheme was really cute, but Frank’s feelings for Brit never seemed that deep. Spoiler: (Which they clearly weren’t when Frank ends up falling for Joy instead… Even though I loved Frank and his dorkiness, I liked him a little less for leaving Brit like that. It somehow made most of the story in the book seem a bit unnecessary. Like it lacked purpose. Why have us read 400 pages of Frank’s love struggle, when he just tosses it all away for Joy at the end? Already from the start, I thought that Frank and Joy were a much better match.)
But no matter that I didn’t quite agree with some of his decisions, Frank is one of my favorite main characters. I especially loved his friendship with Q and the dorky way the talked and how they always supported each other. I also loved learning more about Korean culture and the complexity with family relationships and racism within minority groups. This book was such an eye-opener to the problems that second generation Korean might have to deal with.
All in all, Frankly in Love was a cute and funny, really fast-paced book with a wonderful humor, an adorkable male protagonist and a fresh new take on life growing up as a second-generation Korean teenager in the US.
Find out more about the book and the author here: David Yoon