STARRED REVIEW
September 2019

Frankly in Love

By David Yoon
Review by
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What does it mean to be Korean? What does it mean to be American? What does it mean to be in love? To be a family? These, among many others, are the complicated questions posed by David Yoon in his debut novel, Frankly in Love.

For 17-year-old Frank Li, disappointing his stubborn, high-strung Korean immigrant parents is to be avoided at all costs. When Frank falls for a white girl named Brit, he knows that he has to keep their relationship hidden from his family. To cover his tracks, he becomes entangled in a fake relationship with Joy Song, a close family friend. But when disaster after disaster strikes, Frank learns the hard way that some things are more important than high school romance.

Through funny, relatable prose and some truly heartbreaking moments, Frankly in Love wrestles with important questions of race and identity. Yoon encapsulates the teenage experience, not only for young Korean Americans but for all teens. He also tackles stereotypes, and though the novel does occasionally play into them, many are eventually broken down in surprisingly clever ways.

Having grown up Korean in America, I had points while reading this novel when I nearly wept from the feeling of having been seen for the first time in YA literature. Frankly in Love is an absolute must-read for young people grappling with questions of identity.

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Frankly in Love

Frankly in Love

By David Yoon
Putnam
ISBN 9781984812209

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