By: David Yoon
Published Year: 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Son’s
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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.
This cover is woah! I love the 3D effect. I also love puns and appreciate that the title is a pun on the main character’s name, Frank Li. Add on top of that that the author is the husband of Nicola Yoon whose book Everything Everything I loved and I was all in for a fun romantic YA.
What I thought
If this book had ended about 2/3 in, I would’ve liked it so much more.
Frank Li is first generation Korean. He is in his senior year of high school and all his parents want for him is to go to Harvard and have a Korean girlfriend. Unfortunately for them, he starts dating a white girl. In order to hide it from them, he starts to fake date his family friend and fellow Korean American, Joy.
Ok, so, from the beginning I wanted Frank to end up with Joy. I just loved the idea of him falling for what was right in front of him all along. Spoiler, they do end up dating but it all happens a little quickly for me. I felt like Frank started dating Brit just because she liked him. Which, I guess is supposed to make the reader feel better when Frank drops her? Instead, it just made me dislike Frank.
Now, it’s entirely possible that part of the reason I did not connect with this book is because I am not a Korean-American male teenager. However, there were certain parts from a writing standpoint that I just didn’t like. I’m not a fan of books that try to do too much and this was one of them. There’s a storyline that happens in the final third of the book that just came out of nowhere and seemed unnecessary. Almost like someone said, “Yoon. This book is a cute romance, but you need something that makes it deeper.” I actually ended up skipping the last 50/60 pages of the book and reading the final two chapters because I just couldn’t anymore.
Like I said above, I wasn’t crazy about Frank. I didn’t understand why the girls liked him and I didn’t get why every time he saw his best friend’s sister she was described as “unbelievably hot sister” yet nothing happened between them. Why is that necessary?