I bought this book 🙂
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Stand Alone (I think)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Own Voices
Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
Hi all, wow, so where to start? I’ve been a kdrama addict since 2004, when Full House hit the small screen. So when I heard about this novel, I was very interested! Cute girl, cute boy, teenage angst? S i g n me up. Also, if you remember in February I wanted to make Bookish Playlists, inspired by my monthly reads! So, as kpop is 75% of my music, I’m definitely going to take this opportunity to bless you with some jams that kept creeping into my mind while reading this fabulous novel (so stay tuned)!
Now, let’s get into it!
Our dear protagonist is none other than Desi Lee, a cute Korean American girl being raised by her father. She’s a good student, a bit of a nerd (no shame, because same), and slightly clumsy. Basically she fits the kdrama protagonist bill! She even has a tragic backstory, but I really liked how it was handled.
Her dad is actually the kdrama enthusiast (go dad), and she is more of a late bloomer. As she puts it, it was the white noise of her life. Something she never really gave a chance.
“Then there were the emotions. My God, I have never witnessed this level of emotion from human beings, on-screen or off. So. Many. Tears. So much yelling.” – pg 42
However, due to her lack of happily-ever after, she decides to take matters into her own hands. If the poor-clumsy-kdrama-heroine could find love, then there must be a formula! So like any true nerdy, she spends an entire weekend studying their relationships, and comes up with a plan to win herself the hottest boy in school.
Of course, I was only
110% a little bit disappointed that the male lead wasn’t Korean American, or at least Asian American; only because this was the perfect setup for good Asian male rep. Luca was cute and everything (basically my high school wet dream), but I can’t help but feel a little sad. I mean, Desi’s code name for him is Won Bin, like what? She calls him the hottest Korean actor alive. Which okay, obviously we have different tastes in men *cough* Ju Ji-hoon is hotter *cough* but still. Anyway, this is about Luca and Desi, not me.
Also, speaking of book characters. Can we talk about Fiona? Yessss, I loved her. She is “every girl’s worst nightmare” (bc she a gay playa), and I loveeeeeee her. O k a y? I love her. She makes up for everything I complained about before.
Another thing I’m really grateful about, is the lack of love triangles and second male lead syndrome. I was really hoping the author wouldn’t throw a Yoon Ji-hoo at me, and I was safe! Of course if she had felt inclined to add that extra troupe in there, it easily could have become a triology (which um, I wouldn’t have been mad about).
Also, I really loved Desi’s Appa. He was great, and I really liked their father-daughter relationship. I think he had mad parenting skills, he basically raised Desi by himself, and did a great job at it. He was totally darling, and I need more dads like this in fiction, so authors, take note!
So, the cover was really great! There was an actual Korean model on the cover; so yay for nice diverse covers! I also really like the color scheme they went with, good job publishing! The write was good, very light-hearted, but with just the right amount of seriousness. I quite enjoyed it! Some parts were a little slow, but overall it only took me like four-ish (with interruptions) to get through the entire 366 pages.
Would I recommend it? Yes! It was cute, and had really great Asian American rep. The kdrama references were top knotch, and I may have been fangirling 95% of the time, so yeah! I thought it was great, and I think everyone, including kdrama virgins, should read it and love it!
Overall rating: 4.8/5 Hearts
Cover: 5 hearts
Plot: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Writing: 5 hearts
PS: Not gonna lie, and this isn’t relevant to my review, I was kind of hoping for more of a Boy Over Flowers goofiness to the story. However, I think it was closer to a Reply 1997 in feeling. Which Reply 1997 is easily in my top five dramas, so this is how highly I enjoyed the book! Please give it a chance~