Frankly in Love

Frank struggles to straddle the worlds of living up to his parents expectations with being an American teenager. At the start of the book, Frank is experiencing an existential crisis as a result of being Korean American. He is neither fully-Korean, nor fully-American, and he thinks he will never truly fit in with either group.

This only becomes worse when Frank falls for fellow AP Calculus nerd, Brit Means, who unfortunately for Frank, is white. Frank knows his parents would never allow him to date a white girl, so he concocts a plan with his fellow Korean-American friend Joy, to fake date while they date other people so their parents will let them out of the house. But in true fake-dating fashion, things quickly go wrong, and Frank has to decide not only what he wants, but who he is. 

This was a story full of humor and heart, but it felt challenging at times. The story dealt with tough topics, such as racism, grief, and family relationships. Deeply embedded in the story are the traditions of Frank’s parents, fondly referred to as Mom-n-Dad, a singular unit. Mom-n-Dad love Frank, but in typical Korean fashion, they are tough on him and expect the best. 

I really liked the style of this one. It’s told in the first person from Frank’s perspective, and his tone is very much talking to a friend. There’s slang, and his own commentary on everything in his life. He has a very snarky personality that makes him likeable and his commentary amusing. 

The story covers a lot of ground, spanning Frank’s senior year of high school, from the start of the school year to leaving for college. It was conventional, but didn’t feel predictable, and seamlessly integrated the typical high school experience with the Korean family pressures and experiences. I highly recommend it to fans of YA.

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