I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Published by: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Inc.
Pub Date: May 30, 2017
Format: hardcover | Source: purchased
Genres: young adult, contemporary romance
Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.
Right off the bat I loved Desi as a character- she was hilarious and relatable in so many ways. The beginning felt just like high school. I liked her friend group and her meet cute with Luca! And the fact that it was set in Orange County 😉 But oh my gosh, the second hand embarrassment throughout the book! Ack! It was almost too much for me to handle. I also got so stressed out at one point about the inevitable K-drama list reveal that I put the book down for a week. The tension was real.
I did laugh a lot even if so much of the stunts were implausible situations and I loved her interactions with Luca, how she came out of her shell a little more. The story was hilariously charming even when Desi was being too ridiculous. As much as I loved the romance and the friendships, my favorite part of the book was definitely Desi’s relationship with her father. It was sweet and had so many layers. I loved seeing how they related to each other, what they bonded over, and hearing about Desi’s mother and expectations. And I super loved how much Appa loved K dramas! It was a nice intro for me since I know nothing about K dramas and that was echoed in Desi’s experience at first. Even though some of the story was implausible and embarrassing, the relationships shine and the humor brought a smile to my face.
Can you handle second-hand embarrassment? Do you enjoy contemporaries that are a mixture of silly and realistic? Let me know! (Also shout out to Maurene Goo, a fellow UCSD alumni! I was so excited to see that in her bio.)