You probably thought I’d never return! But here I am, and it only took a really, really enjoyable book to blog again. Well, this isn’t completely true – I have read more than one enjoyable book since I started my hiatus – but some good books you just want to enjoy and keep inside your heart quietly (I’m looking at you, Octavia Butler), and some you want to shout off the rooftops about. Frankly in Love was precisely such a book for me.
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★★★★★ 5 stars
I listened to Frankly in Love as an audiobook – and I would never have it any other way. The story is so balanced, strong and relevant – and is only made more captivating and alive by the amazing narrator Raymond J. Lee. He is so talented! I loved every single quirk of his and every little spot of color he gave to the reading. (I especially loved the bits where he put on fake accents!) I’m incredibly grateful to Libro.fm and Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group for gifting me this audiobook, because it enhanced my reading experience tremendously.
But let’s talk about the story itself. Frank is a Korean American teen, struggling to figure out the understanding of self, his place in society, the relationship with his parents and many other related things. Korean American, or American Korean? Just one of the questions Frank is asking himself. His parents, despite being in the racial minority in America, are themselves incredibly racist, as it turns out, and that affects Frank’s life a lot – who he dates or is friends with depends on it, and so many more things. Sadly, Frank is in love… With the “wrong” person. So, he and his childhood friend Joy start fake dating, so their parents would leave them alone to get on with their lives. But things can unexpectedly change…
First off, you might think it’s a funny and upbeat contemporary, perhaps a cute story to pick you up. And, in a way, it is – it definitely made me laugh many times! But that’s definitely not all it is (I was surprised to find it’s not romance centered.) Frankly in Love gets away with talking about so MANY important subjects in one book that I can’t even believe it! And none of it comes across as being contrived at all. It’s all natural, passionate and very relatable – even if you’ve never had these problems yourself, you can still feel what Frank’s feeling. And yes – it can be both fun and funny, but in the end, it’s a coming of age story that gets serious in all the right places and might even make you cry. But you’ll be happy to, because the story is balanced just so well.Frankly in Love can be both fun and funny, but in the end, it's a coming of age story that gets serious in all the right places and might even make you cry. Especially if you listen to the audiobook. Click To Tweet
Systemic racial issues are extensively discussed in the book, and it’s done well. But it’s not just that – it all ties in with parental expectations that a lot of teens struggle with, and it’s especially about the Korean descent family issues which are important to Korean American teens. As a foreigner, I don’t have much to say about this because it’s outside of my experience, but I loved reading about it and it was definitely very interesting.
I can’t really talk about the story itself without massively spoiling at least a few major plot points, but let’s just say this was so much more than a fake dating story, which it seems to be from the blurb. It’s so, so much more! It’s about identity, family, culture, cultural divisions and finding your place in the world. And yes, of course, about love. I’m sure you’ll love it, as did I. And if you want to get genuine Korean accents (and even some actual Korean dialogue!) and get the full cultural experience of this book, I can definitely recommend the audiobook. (And if you get it from Libro.fm, you can support your local indie book store.)Frankly in Love is about identity, family, culture, cultural divisions and finding your place in the world. And yes, of course, about love! I'm sure you'll love it just as much as @avalinahsbooks did: Click To Tweet
There are definitely some triggers, but they’re also spoilers, so I will cover them up.
I thank Libro.fm and Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group for gifting me a copy of the audiobook. This has not affected my review.
Have you heard of Frankly in Love? And have you read any good coming of age stories lately?
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.