Review Detail

Made in Korea Featured
Young Adult Fiction 1146
delightfully charming YA contemporary
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
MADE IN KOREA is a sweet romantic-comedy about competition, family, and reaching for your dreams. Valerie runs a very successful business at her high school along with her cousin, which they named V&C K-BEAUTY. They sell Korean beauty products that are sent by her cousin's father out of a locker at their high school. Their school has entrepreneurial awards, encouraging students to begin their own businesses, and V&C K-BEAUTY is one of the only businesses to be run over several school years.

In her senior year, Valerie has big goals for the sales. She wants to take her halmeoni on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris. Her halmeoni has always dreamed of traveling, and in this gift, Valerie will not only be doing something for her halmeoni, but also proving to her parents that she is good at business and worth their admiration.

Everything seems to be going well until the new (and handsome) guy in school, Wes, begins selling his own beauty product line. Wes dreams of being a musician, a career his parents absolutely do not want him to follow. His mother gave him some beauty products from a K-pop line that is really popular to share with kids at school. When he inadvertently sells them, he learns the market is there and decides to keep selling them to raise money for his application and admission to a musical college.

As their business rivalry escalates, it becomes more personal - and soon, feelings are growing in addition to their competition.

What I loved: This was a really enjoyable and cute read. The competition kept the pace going quickly, and I appreciated the dual perspectives. Both Valerie and Wes were really compelling characters, and the motives behind their businesses and desires to have their parents accept and appreciate them will resonate with readers. There are many cute and sweet moments mixed with some humor, and I loved the way they got to know each other plus pushed each other's buttons throughout.

There are some great themes about family and its complexity. I adored Valerie's halmeoni, and the way her relationships with her parents and sister evolve. Valerie has always felt like a disappointment, and she wants to prove to her parents and herself that she has what it takes in business. Her relationship with them has colored other relationships in her life, and she begins to understand these complications as she grows during the story. Similarly, Wes dreams of being a professional musician, but his uncle has pursued this career and struggled because of it. As he tries to find a way to tell his parents and prove he can do it on his own, he must learn more about himself and his decisions along the way.

Communication is another major theme of the book, and the lessons about the need to talk about concerns and feelings are really well done. Beyond the two main characters, there are many others who have needed to talk about things. Even if things don't end in the way they wished, there was still value in speaking their truths.

Final verdict: Charming and sweet with compelling characters and a delightful premise, MADE IN KOREA is a gratifying YA contemporary read about following your passions, competition, and family. Highly recommend for fans of TWEET CUTE, A PHO LOVE STORY, and DATING MAKES PERFECT.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Illustrated profiles of fifty pioneering female athletes, from the author...
PJ Masks Save Lunchtime!
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko save a lunchtime birthday party in...
Lala's Words: A Story of Planting Kindness
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang comes a timeless and timely...
Dangerous Play
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A fierce team of girls takes back the night in...
Shatter City
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
When the world sees Frey, they think they see her...
If You Miss Me
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A healing story of loss and love, this beautiful picture...
Learning about the Garden with Sleeping Beauty (Fairytale Encyclopedia)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Roses were very dangerous for Sleeping Beauty―that everybody knows. But...
Squirrel Do Bad (Trubble Town, #4)
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of the “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip...
Playing the Cards You'reDealt
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ten-year-old Anthony Joplin has made it to double digits! Which...
Discovering the Underground with Snow White (Fairytale Encyclopedia)
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
There are not only dwarves in the underground. This hidden...
Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This luminous picture book tells the fascinating true story of...
Bisa's Carnaval
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Discover the sights and sounds of Brazil through the eyes...
Redemptor (Raybearer, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The highly anticipated sequel to Raybearer, the instant New York...
Dark and Shallow Lies
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in...
Imposters
 
4.0
 
5.0 (1)
Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very...
Better Than the Movies
 
4.7
 
5.0 (1)
Liz Buxbaum has always known that Wes Bennett was not...

Latest Member Reviews

No entries were found