Frankly in Love
Frank Li has two names. There's Frank Li, his American name. Then there's Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.
Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl--which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he's forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don't leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he's found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he's left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
Frank Li (7 letters to be lucky in English) is Korean-American, a term that does not seem to encompass who he is. Frank's parents have expectations for how he will live (go to The Harvard) and who he will marry (Korean). His sister had failed at those expectations and was disowned so the stakes are high.
Frank is navigating schoolwork, friendships, and a potential new romantic partner (who is white and therefore not someone his parents would approve) while also managing his parent's expectations for where he will go to college and what he will study when there. Frank begins to realize that his world, and his parent's, is more complex than he originally thought. This book is in many ways a coming-of-age story, much more than any kind of romance.
This book made me laugh and brought up tears and so many feels. I think it is misclassified, as the book is so much more than a rom-com. The ending is open, as a warning to people who like closure. While many things are resolved, there's space for the reader to envision the future. I won't say too much, because I think the journey here is just incredible, and one that is best experienced for yourself.
I highly recommend picking up this beautifully heartfelt read- and it wouldn't hurt to have a box of tissues on hand when you do. Please note that I received a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.