Frankly in Love | David Yoon
This book comes with high expectations from me, being an Asian-American. It provides the ages-old question of "What happens when a person dates someone of a different race?" It happens often but it's not often when families speak of what happens behind closed doors. Do they feel like they need to protect their children? Should the parents prevent the "mix" from going further?
When I watched the book trailer, I was immediately hooked. I was so excited to read this book and I've been waiting ever since to dig into the content. (Also, wouldn't you be hooked after seeing that awesome cover!) Luckily, my library provides an e-reading service so I never even needed to move a bit to read. (Though, I think I might actually buy the physical book. I loved the book a lot.) Frank and Brit, a mismatched couple, and Joy and Wu, another mismatched couple. Frank and Joy, a couple of friends with an idea to find a loophole so that they can date their respective "outside" people. Fake-dating only goes so far when you involve real feelings, people. He explores racism in the realest way possible; he explores it in the way that it's in the underbelly of the beast. The parents can seem like they're protecting their children, but they're only perpetuating the stereotypes that their children try to call them out on, if they do at all.
The fact that this is David Yoon's debut novel and that it was so ~amazing~ makes me yearn for more from him. I honestly could go on and on about how he described so many things and how those descriptions all resonated with me. The whole book resonated with me. It was like seeing my entire college essay be transformed into a whole novel. (My college essay was about me finding myself within the cracks of being Filipino and American.) It was like walking and turning a corner, just to find the familiarity of the same sidewalk I just walked. Ah, yes. An obscure metaphor, just as Frank Li would've liked it.
I don't really know what to say about this book. I love Frank. I love Joy. I love Frankenjoy. I love Q. I love the Lis and I love the Songs and I love them all. I'm really happy I finally got the chance to read it.
What got me hooked the most were the little moments leading up to Frank and Joy's relationship. The Gathering on the weekday. The wedding. THE WEDDING. The way that David Yoon boils down all of the words he could have used to describe how Joy looked at the wedding into a multiple choice format - I call that a stroke of genius. Sure, it's cheesy, but it's just the way that Frank's mind works post-SAT because obviously, he studied so hard for it. I find that tidbit to be absolutely adorable. Their actual relationship was adorable as well, up until the point where it began to lose power.
Frank was an enjoyable character. Through all the twists and turns, he just wanted to be loved. I'm happy that he got the chance to love and be loved. I love that Frank's calling was to make people laugh. He loves to make people laugh. I think that's what my calling is too. I love hearing the giggles or chuckled after I tell a joke or find a loophole from a serious conversation. It's refreshing. Frank Li is refreshing. This book is refreshing.
Admittedly, there were many moments where I wanted to squeal for happy moments for all the characters. There were moments when I wanted to cry along with them, but for the most part, I was reading on my phone in public, so no can do.
I'm thankful for books like these. Books that are relatable for every teenager, but also relatable to Asian-Americans. I think the reason why I was expecting so much out of this story was to see if I could find myself in David Yoon's characters. I found the strength and love Frank holds in his heart within my veins. I found the will to love within this entire book. I want to love.
I've been waiting for something like this. Something that will give me life and love within the pages. Something that will allow me to say hello to a character that I know well within myself and then be scared to say goodbye too because I love them so much. I can't thank you enough. I've never written such a misshapen review but it's because I wanted to get all of my thoughts out before I could lose any. That's how much this book means to me. Thank you, David Yoon.
This is a total mess of a review but I think in perfect Frank Li style, messes are okay.