Have you ever watched the previews of coming attractions in a theater and known right away -hey, I want to see THAT one? That was my reaction to the preview pages of the novel 'Frankly in Love,' and the book did not disappoint. Just like another recent, enjoyable coming-of-age novel ( 'Darius The Great is Not Okay,), this one has touching moments, laugh-out-loud moments and extremely emotional moments. I found myself telling my family members that they just had to listen to a certain part as I read it out loud. However, the whole is better than the parts.
First person narrator, Korean-American high school student Frank Li is struggling to be the teenager he wants to be as he lives under the prison-guard watchful eyes of his Korean parents. They came to America for opportunities to create a better life, but by golly, they are determined to prove to their son that nothing is better than Korean traditions. Mother and Father Li drag Frank with them to Korean-exclusive dinner parties where teen children are expected to socialize and form special bonds. Readers of all ages will relate to Frank's dilemma of trying to enjoy as much freedom as possible while feeding his parents as few details as necessary to escape.
While I enjoyed every chapter in this book, I had the sensation that the book may have originally ended with chapter 36 - "Life is But a Dream." Something about chapter 37 and un-numbered chapter 38 "After We End," seemed like later additions. As if an editor might have suggested that readers might wonder why a character was so important and that they would want to know definite outcomes rather than be left guessing.
Readers of any nationality and any age will sympathize with Frank as he attempts to navigate his social life with some harmless guile and temporarily wins his parents' approval. Some websites are recommending this book for ages 14-17, but this book defies an age niche. This is a don't miss read. I am thrilled to have been among the ARC recipients and wish there was an occasional extra star for novels like 'Frankly in Love'!