Frankly In Love by David YoonFrankly In Love by David Yoon

Frankly In Love

byDavid Yoon

Hardcover | September 10, 2019

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"I loved, loved, LOVED this book." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light

"Big-hearted, honest, hilarious, and achingly romantic." —Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at The End

 
"This is a classic in the making." —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Warcross

"This book is pure joy." —Deb Caletti, Printz Honor Recipient for A Heart in a Body in the World and National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart


Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?


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.

In this moving debut novel—featuring striking blue stained edges and beautiful original endpaper art by the author—David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.
David Yoon grew up in Orange County, California, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, novelist Nicola Yoon, and their daughter. He drew the illustrations for Nicola's #1 New York Times bestseller Everything, Everything. Frankly in Love is his first novel. You can visit him at davidyoon.com.
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Title:Frankly In LoveFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:432 pages, 8.56 × 5.88 × 1.43 inShipping dimensions:8.56 × 5.88 × 1.43 inPublished:September 10, 2019Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1984812203

ISBN - 13:9781984812209

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I loved it! Thank you so much Putnam for the arc! Absolutely wonderful! Relatable, funny, heartfelt. I sobbed, I laughed. I connected with Frank so much! David Yoon’s writing flows, keeps you stuck to the book. It’s a page turner for sure. The plot was something I’ve experienced in my culture. I loved learning about the differences yet similarities cultures can have with regards to raising children. It was so funny, I fell in love with the characters! Especially Frank! Favorite contemporary of the year... ALL THE STARS!
Date published: 2019-09-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Romantic Coming-of-Age Story Frankly in Love is a romantic coming-of-age story centred around a young teenage boy growing up and accepting his family as well as his own identity. The author, David Yoon, adds from his Korean-American experience to this story and writes about the challenges Frank faces regarding identity and the feeling of not identifying fully with the Korean or American culture.  The romantic aspect of this story centres around the parental disapproval of Frank and his sister's relationships with anyone that is not Korean. For instance, Frank's sister was disowned for dating a black man. When Frank himself falls for a non-Korean, he is scared of facing the possible ramifications it may cause with his parents that he creates a plan with a Korean girl friend of his to pretend to date her in front of their parents while secretly seeing his real white girlfriend.  The romance in this story has to be one of the weakest points of the overall story. Frank doesn't treat either Brit, his white girlfriend, nor Joy, his Korean girl friend, quite justly. He falls for both without really knowing either of their characters, leading to a sudden and face-paced relationship that felt lacking at times. This fake-dating trope is entirely unnecessary to this story. Nonetheless, if one simply forgets the romance aspect of this story in its entirety, Frankly in Love makes a spectacular coming-of-age telling of a young boy trying to find himself and accept his identity. The exploration of the Korean community was extremely enlightening and entertaining to read and learn more about. Especially Frank's journey in accepting both parts of his identity as well as his parents, no matter the obstacles faced. 
Date published: 2019-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Adeptly captures the teen voice This book adeptly captures the teen voice, particularly how teens don't just have one maturity level, even within a single person. They can be making stupid jokes one second, but when the conversation shifts, drop all pretense and expose deep vulnerability to a trusted friend. Maybe they're blinded by early love, but their eyes are wide open to injustice and toxic viewpoints even within their own families. Frankly in Love is funny, heartfelt, honest and engaging. Offers openings to discuss race, heritage, class, sexuality, familial/cultural expectations, gun violence, racism from a variety of perspectives, and how different people have different ideas of what happiness and contentment look like. A love story, but not a romance.
Date published: 2019-08-06

Read from the Book

Mom-n-Dad work at The Store every day, from morning to evening, on weekends, holidays, New Year’s Day, 365 days out of every year without a single vacation for as long as me and Hanna have been alive.   Mom-n-Dad inherited The Store from an older Korean couple of that first wave who came over in the sixties. No written contracts or anything. Just an introduction from a good friend, then tea, then dinners, and finally many deep bows, culminating in warm, two-handed handshakes. They wanted to make sure The Store was kept in good hands. Good, Korean hands.   The Store is an hour-long drive from the dystopian perfection of my suburban home of Playa Mesa. It’s in a poor, sun-crumbled part of Southern California largely populated by Mexican- and African-Americans. A world away.   The poor customers give Mom-n-Dad food stamps, which become money, which becomes college tuition for me.   It’s the latest version of the American dream.   I hope the next version of the American dream doesn’t involve gouging people for food stamps.   I’m at The Store now. I’m leaning against the counter. Its varnish is worn in the middle like a tree ring, showing the history of every transaction that’s ever been slid across its surface: candy and beer and diapers and milk and beer and ice cream and beer and beer.   “At the airport,” I once explained to Q, “they hand out title deeds by ethnicity. So the Greeks get diners, the Chinese get laundromats, and the Koreans get liquor stores.”   “So that’s how America works,” said Q, taking a deeply ironic bite of his burrito.   It’s hot in The Store. I’m wearing a Hardfloor tee shirt perforated with moth holes in cool black, to match my cool-black utility shorts. Not all blacks are the same. There is warm black and brown black and purple black. My wristbands are a rainbow of blacks. All garments above the ankles must be black. Shoes can be anything, however. Like my caution-yellow sneakers.   Dad refuses to turn on the air-conditioning, because the only things affected by the heat are the chocolate-based candies, and he’s already stashed those in the walk-in cooler.   Meanwhile, I’m sweating. I watch a trio of flies trace an endless series of right angles in midair with a nonstop zimzim sound. I snap a photo and post it with the caption: Flies are the only creature named after their main mode of mobility.   It makes no sense that I’m helping Mom-n-Dad at The Store. My whole life they’ve never let me have a job.   “Study hard, become doctor maybe,” Dad would say.   “Or a famous newscaster,” Mom would say.   I still don’t get that last one.   Anyway: I’m at The Store only one day a week, on Sundays, and only to work the register—no lifting, sorting, cleaning, tagging, or dealing with vendors. Mom’s home resting from her morning shift, leaving me and Dad alone for his turn. I suspect all this is Mom’s ploy to get me to bond with Dad in my last year before I head off to college. Spend father-n-son time. Engage in deep conversation.   Dad straps on a weight belt and muscles a hand truck loaded with boxes of malt liquor. He looks a bit like a Hobbit, stocky and strong and thick legged, with a box cutter on his belt instead of a velvet sachet of precious coins. He has all his hair still, even in his late forties. To think, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Seoul and wound up here. I wonder how many immigrants there are like him, working a blue-collar job while secretly owning a white-collar degree.   He slams his way out of the dark howling maw of the walk-in cooler.   “You eat,” he says.   “Okay, Dad,” I say.   “You go taco. Next door. Money, here.”   He hands me a twenty.   “Okay, Dad.”   I say Okay, Dad a lot to Dad. It doesn’t get much deeper than that for the most part. For the most part, it can’t. Dad’s English isn’t great, and my Korean is almost nonexistent. I grew up on video games and indie films, and Dad grew up on I-don’t-know-what.   I used to ask him about his childhood. Or about basic things, like how he was able to afford a luxury like college. He grew up poor, after all, poorer than poor. Both my parents did, before Korea’s economic supernova in the late eighties. Dad said he would go fishing for river crabs when food ran low. Lots of people in the sticks did.   “Tiny crabby, they all crawling inside my net,” he told me. “All crawling crawling crawling over each other, they step-ping on each other face, try to get on top.”   “Okay,” I said.   “That’s Korea,” he said.   When I asked him what that meant, he just closed the conversation with:   “Anyway America better. Better you going college here, learn English. More opportunity.”   That’s his checkmate move for most conversations, even ones that start out innocently enough like, How come we never kept up with speaking Korean in the house? or Why do old Korean dudes worship Chivas Regal?   So for the most part, he and I have made a habit of leaving things at Okay, Dad.   “Okay, Dad,” I say.   I grab my phone and step into the even hotter heat outside. Corrido music is bombarding the empty parking lot from the carnicería next door. The music is meant to convey festivity, to entice customers inside. It’s not working.   ¡Party Today!   Buzz-buzz. It’s Q.   Pip pip, old chap, let’s go up to LA. It’s free museum night. Bunch of us are going.   Deepest regrets, old bean, I say. Got a Gathering.   I shall miss your companionship, fine sir, says Q.   And I yours, my good man.   Q knows what I mean when I say Gathering.   I’m talking about a gathering of five families, which sounds like a mafia thing but really is just Mom-n-Dad’s friends getting together for a rotating house dinner.   It’s an event that’s simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary: ordinary in that hey, it’s just dinner, but extraordinary in that all five couples met at university in Seoul, became friends, moved to Southern California together to start new lives, and have managed to see each other and their families every month literally for decades.   The day ends. Dad changes shirts, trading his shop owner persona for a more Gathering-appropriate one: a new heather-gray polo that exudes success and prosperity. We lock up, turn out the lights. Then we drive forty minutes to the Kims’. It’s the Kim family’s turn to host the Gathering this time, and they’ve gone all out: a Brazilian barbecue carving station manned by real Brazilians drilling everyone on the word of the night (chu•rra•sca•ri•a), plus a wine-tasting station, plus a seventy-inch television in the great room with brand-new VR headsets for the little kids to play ocean explorer with.   It all screams: We’re doing great in America. How about you?   Included among these totems of success are the children themselves, especially us older kids. We were all born pretty much at the same time. We’re all in the same year in school. We are talked and talked about, like minor celebrities. So-and-so made academic pentathlon team captain. So-and-so got valedictorian.   Being a totem is a tiresome role, and so we hide away in the game room or wherever while outside, the littler kids run amok and the adults get drunk and sing twenty-year-old Ko-rean pop songs that none of us understand. In this way we have gradually formed the strangest of friendships: •             We only sit together like this for four hours once a month. •             We never leave the room during this time, except for food. •             We never hang out outside the Gatherings.   The Gatherings are a world unto themselves. Each one is a version of Korea forever trapped in a bubble of amber—the early-nineties Korea that Mom-n-Dad and the rest of their friends brought over to the States years ago after the bubble burst. Meanwhile, the Koreans in Korea have moved on, become more affluent, more savvy. Meanwhile, just outside the Kims’ front door, American kids are dance-gaming to K-pop on their big-screens.   But inside the Gathering, time freezes for a few hours. We children are here only because of our parents, after all. Would we normally hang out otherwise? Probably not. But we can’t exactly sit around ignoring each other, because that would be boring. So we jibber-jabber and philosophize until it’s time to leave. Then we are released back into the reality awaiting us outside the Gathering, where time unfreezes and resumes.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Frankly in Love: ★★★★ Four Starred ReviewsA Junior Library Guild Selection A Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Title“Extraordinary . . a beautifully layered novel about first love, tribalism and that brief, magical period when kids have one foot in high school, one foot out the door. . . Yoon explores themes of racism, forgiveness and acceptance without getting earnest or preachy or letting anyone off the hook. And there’s a universality to the story that cuts across cultures.” —New York Times“With echoes of John Green and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it’s poised to be the biggest YA debut of the year.” —Entertainment Weekly"Yoon's stellar debut expertly and authentically tackles racism, privilege, and characters who are trying to navigate their Korean-American identity." —BuzzFeed "David Yoon packs all manner of ethnic, class, and family dynamics into the funny, profane and poignant pages of Frankly in Love." —Wall Street Journal“Touching on issues of race, identity, and first love, Frankly in Love is the charming, funny, romantic young adult crossover novel that both adults and teens will enjoy in equal measure.” —PopSugar ★ "Completely unique. Frank is a wonderfully self-aware protagonist with a compelling voice…. [A] beautifully written exploration of family, identity, and self-discovery." —Booklist, starred review★ “[A] sparkling debut. . . This is an outstanding novel where the emotions are deeply felt but honestly earned. The characters are complex and nuanced, and all are on their own authentic journeys. The highlight of the book is Frank’s voice—he is a sharp observer who is funny, insecure, and deeply conflicted. . . Full of keen observations about love, family, and race with a winning narrator.” —School Library Journal, starred review★ "Yoon never settles for stereotypes, instead giving his well-defined characters a diversity of experience, identity, sexuality, and ambition. Told in youthful-sounding prose, Frank’s journey reaches beyond Korean-American identity and touches on the common experiences of many children of immigrants, including negotiating language barriers, tradition, and other aspects of what it means to be a “hyphenated” American." —Publishers Weekly, starred review★ "Spectacular debut. . . Yoon's light hand with dialogue and deft use of illustrative anecdotes produce a story that illuminates weighty issues by putting a compassionate human face on struggles both universal and particular to certain identities. . . A deeply moving account of love in its many forms."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review"I loved, loved, LOVED this book, which miraculously manages to be a love story, a treatise on racism, a peek into adolescence, and a welcome to Korean-American culture, all at once. Frankly, Frank Li is a character you need to meet." —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light "I fell fast for David Yoon's masterful debut that's big-hearted, honest, hilarious, and achingly romantic. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and I closed this book wiser. Get ready to fall in love with Frank, world!" —Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at The End"Frankly in Love shines with an incredible voice and a searing, honest, and deeply human story about what it means to love someone. David Yoon isn't afraid to confront every angle, both the beautiful and the ugly, but he tackles it all with great care. This is a classic in the making." —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Warcross "In the tender and funny Frankly in Love, David Yoon gives us some of the truest and most lovable characters I've read in a long time. This book is pure joy." —Deb Caletti, Printz Honor Recipient for A Heart in a Body in the World and National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart"This #OwnVoices novel tackles familial issues, being the child of immigrant parents, and what it means to make a name for yourself despite having an ocean of expectations weighing down on your shoulders." —BookRiot