Frankly In Love Rant Review // An Unlikable Main Character In A Book That Tries (And Fails) To Tackle Too Much

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Title // Frankly In Love

Author // David Yoon

Publisher // G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date // September 10th 2019

Synopsis // High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all

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My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

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Minor spoilers ahead but let’s be real if you read the synopsis describing fake dating you and I both have a pretty good guess at what’s going to happen.

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I WANTED TO LOVE this so much!! There was so much hype around it when it came out last year, and I was legit so excited and I got all my hopes up and I heard such good things about it and I thought I would love it??

And then… it turns out I hated it. wHOOPS.

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Frankly… Frank Li is a horrible person. Reading this entire book from his perspective was rather mind grating because I wanted to just yell at him. First of all, his voice was irritating, and this fell into the John Green-esque style of teens talking in weird and somewhat pretentious ways in an attempt to make them *quirky* or whatever, but honestly it just came off as super cringy. I found some of the ways he talked about girls and sex to be annoying and sexist too.

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But what made me really hate Frank was the horrible way he treated his girlfriend. The whole fake dating trope… listen, I normally love it. I loved it in To All The Boys! It’s cheesy and cute! But the way it was executed in this book… was not cute. First of all, it was only even relevant for a few chapters, but the whole time it happened, Frank had a girlfriend… a girlfriend he treated horribly. In order to pull off this fake dating scheme, he lies to her, both by not telling her some things, and straight up lying to her face, then he gets into some grey territory that feels like emotional cheating, and then finally physical cheating.

And it’s literally not addressed after the fact! Frank cheats, he barely not really feels bad for like two paragraphs, and then that’s that and we can literally forget about the first girlfriend she just disappears off the page and Frank waltzes around happyland with his new love… since he apparently has no morals I’m taking bets for how long until he cheats again.

I hate cheating in books (and in general) on principle. I’m super angry on behalf of the girl who was cheated on because Frank sucks… but not because I cared about her because she has no personality. Frank has two love interests in this book and neither of them have a personality. It’s just they’re like hi and he’s like hi and then two pages later Frank is like I’m in love!!! 100% instalove. I couldn’t tell you why he liked either of them. They’re… nice, and pretty, and I think Frank thinks they’re funny though I never laughed at anything they said? None of his friends really have a personality either.

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As annoying as Frank is, I think my main problem with this book was that it tried to do too much, convey too many messages, talk about too many themes, but ended up accomplishing none of them.

One of the biggest things addressed in this book was the racism that Frank’s parents have, wanting him to only date a Korean girl. He struggles with this for a large part of the book, ending up having to lie to his girlfriend and create this ridiculous fake dating scheme to date a white girl, and even dealing with the fact that his sister, due to marrying a black man, was basically disowned. He spends a lot of time worrying about this, his girlfriend chastises her parents for being borderline racist towards Frank, and his friend encourages him to tell his girlfriend about his parents racism. But in the end? Frank just ends up falling in love with a Korean girl and that’s that. The problem is never resolved, it just gets removed, and the kids who have to worry about their racist parents just stop worrying about it and continue to enable their racism.

I’m just… I am literally the product of a white person and an Asian person dating and I was really annoyed by how the book was literally like oh whatever the parents are racist just date the Korean girl and move on don’t bother trying to go against that.

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There was also this really weird discussion on how Asians are Asian-American, and Black people are African-American, but white people can just be white, so instead they should say European-American. I didn’t really get the point of this, but I didn’t really like it as it seemed like it was categorizing everyone into a box… what, am I supposed to be Asian-European-American??

There was also this random plot twist in the very end of the book where someone’s sexuality was used as a shocker grand reveal and… I was not here for it. And the response to this plot twist is basically like just pat pat ok buddy you’ll made some boy very happy in the future thanks for being the token lgbtq+ rep take your lollipop and go along.

This book also tries to address a lot of other issues including shooting that comes out of nowhere and is never really explained, cancer that shows up out of nowhere and the emotional implications of it are never discussed, classism the causes an issue that gets resolved in just a few pages.

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TL;DR: this book tried to be too much and it failed at everything

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Let’s Chat

Have you read Frankly in Love? Did you enjoy it? Do you like pretentious John Green-esque talking teenagers like Frank? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤

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32 thoughts on “Frankly In Love Rant Review // An Unlikable Main Character In A Book That Tries (And Fails) To Tackle Too Much

  1. This is the first negative review I’ve read of this book. Everybody else is raving about it. While I didn’t want to read it before (because I’m just not a YA person and the fake-dating thing doesn’t really grab me) now I SUPER want to read this! Something about scathing reviews really makes me want to read the book myself to see if I agree. That’s actually how I became an accidental Colleen Hoover fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I COMPLETELY agree with you (whew, I thought I was the only one)! I have a really difficult time with cheating in books. I don’t agree with it, and I don’t like seeing it, so this was a major cringe for me. AND YESSSSSSS about the voice of the character! It really irritated me the whole book, but I read other reviews and it felt like I was the only one who noticed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree! I didn’t like the cheating parts. The romantic parts in general just really didn’t land for me and then the shooting/cancer stuff felt like it came out of left field as well. I had such high hopes for it though. Will you be checking out his second book? This one might have just had the “first book syndrome.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you agree, Danielle! There was so much jammed in the last bit of the book I was like… what is going on what are you trying to say lol. Tbh I’m probably not going to check out his second book since I despised this one and I have so many other books I want to read… but maybe if there are glowing reviews I will, who knows!

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  4. Oh no, I’m so sorry you didn’t like it. I haven’t read it yet but have been so scared because of all the things I’ve heard about it. Mainly the cheating, and it’s crappy that he treated his girlfriend like that ick

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I got this one for the library and I’m pretty sure I DNFed? Or maybe I didn’t even start it? I kind of thought maybe I just didn’t get this book, but I’m honestly glad to see I’m not the only one. I don’t mind books addressing things like cheating or racism, but they definitely need to be properly handled and addressed, with realistic consequences for the characters! It sounds like this just didn’t have that aspect. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i used to want to read this book because the quirky writing style was a bit interesting, but after reading your review, i definitely won’t. besides the problematic things you pointed out, i think it’ll just be a forgettable read :/ great review though!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was Not GreatTM lol. John Green’s teens tend to speak very pretentiously, like they’re philosophers or professors full of SAT words in my opinion lol. I mean sure there are probably a few pretentious teens who actually talk like that but… as a teen surrounded by teens all the time, I can attest that, unlike in his books, the vast majority of teens do not sound like that lmao. You can look up John Green quotes online to see

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a really great review, Kay!!💛 I agree with a lot of what you said. I think I wasn’t *as* annoyed by Frank in general, though the emotional and physical cheating being treated as if it wasn’t a big deal was…not okay, and I also remember feeling like I didn’t sense much chemistry between Frank and his second girlfriend (I forgot her name). I also agree that they tackled so much and it was a lot, especially since a ton of it didn’t get resolved. ://

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OH MY! This one does sound like a disaster! AND I HATE CHEATING IN BOOKS, TV SHOWS ANYWHERE REALLY! I get soo mad at the characters when that happens! Plus insta love?! GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!

    I’d heard about this title before but yours is the first review I’ve read and a good thing too because ain’t nobody’s got time for badly written books! xD

    I absolutely loved reading this review though, Kay! Loved it! ❤

    PS: I was so sure I was following you already? Imagine my surprise when I found I wasn't! *gasps* Well, i've corrected that now. LOVE YOUR BLOG! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ach pity Frank was such an irritating character- he doesn’t really sound fun to read about tbh. And I love to all the boys and fake dating too, but this doesn’t sound anything like that. I also hate instalove and books with cheating… so I don’t blame you for not enjoying this! Thanks for the heads up! Brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

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