Title: I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publishing Date: May 30th 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, 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.
I Believe In A Thing Called Love is about Desi Lee, a Korean-American who was excellent with everything but except for one thing, love. One day, she met a new guy in school who got her full interest and made her want to have a boyfriend. Then, while watching a K-drama with her Appa or dad – which she really didn’t like or appreciate since her Appa got addicted to it – she noticed some things and realized that there is a formula or pattern. Pattern on how to get your happy ending just like what mostly happen on K-dramas. That’s where she came up with her “K-Drama Steps To True Love” where she used it to get the guy she like.
Desi Lee, a Korean-American, a student who excels with almost everything, from academics to sports and any other extra-curricular activities and a very loving and thoughtful daughter who can be a little stubborn sometimes. Unfortunately, she failed to amuse me. Though, I honestly laughed whenever she was having her flailures (flirting failures). And I have to acknowledge that she’s not a quitter, she’s a go-getter and wants everything she started getting done as excellent as possible which I pretty liked. But those are the only things I liked about her including how loving, caring and thoughtful she is as a daughter to her father. I was also infuriated by her belief that we can all control everything. Literally, everything. She can also be a little bit closed-minded sometimes which I really hate. And to top it all, I was so detached with her.
Luca Dracos, an artist – a really talented one – and Desi’s love interest. Desi seeing him hot is something I failed to feel, see and understand. Yes, I agree that he’s cool just like what Desi was always saying but I failed to be as in love with him as Desi did.
I love the friendship portrayed in this book. A Korean-American, a Mexican-American bisexual woman, and a Brown straight guy. Desi, Fiona and Wes. They are just friendship goals for me. They just have that strong, honest friendship. When someone did something embarrassing, they’ll laugh at that friend, when someone did something stupid they’ll get mad and scold that friend, when someone needs a slap just for him/her to realize things they will just for this friend to wake up, but when someone needs help and support no matter what it takes they’ll help and support that friend. No matter what. And most specially, I loved the banter and puns they brought in this book. They’re mainly the ones who kept me entertained.
There is a healthy relationship between Desi and her father while Luca and his father’s relationship is the opposite. I really loved the daughter-father relationship of Desi and her father. Despite being incomplete because of Desi’s mother’s death, Desi and her father managed to got up and made each other feel like they’re complete. Desi’s father had a really though time. But he recovered. And that made their relationship stronger. They were like a team who supports and care for each other. It’s just a very lovely thing to see and it was a reminder that yes, a loss especially if it’s your mother is beyond painful but you who are still alive need to get up and live. Continue your life. While even though Luca and her father’s relationship is the opposite of Desi and her father’s, I saw how their relationship had progress, all with the help of Desi – which leaves us a message that a bad son-father relationship can still be fixed and so does his relationship with his stepmother. And it’s never too late.
What I really loved the most is how easily this book made me laugh. It just has a very good sense of humor. I enjoyed this book because of its sense of humor which I highly appreciated. I even laughed on the very first chapter.
What I didn’t like the most is how the story was just focused on Desi getting Luca and them being together. And how she was so consumed by Luca since they met. It was just on Chapter 19 where Desi started to think about something else that is not Luca that I started to enjoy the story again but it lasted for only 2 chapters or less. After that, it was her and Luca’s. If I just had a connection with either Desi or Luca, I think I will probably enjoy it more.
I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo also left a lesson and a message in the end. First is that, no matter how impossible it is, if you’ll just do your best and never quit, you will get what you want. Second, sometimes there are things in our life that wasn’t planned that will still happen and things we planned that will never happen. But that’s okay. That’s normal. That’s how life works. We just have to know how to adopt to changes. Because there will always be changes. And lastly, we cannot control EVERYTHING. There are just things in our life that is out of our control. And we should understand that.
Despite me being detached with the main character and the other things I didn’t like, I still managed to truly enjoyed this one because of its entertainment factor – more specifically the puns and banter from Desi’s friends. I was just in a good mood most of the time while reading this because of Desi’s friends and also Desi’s failures. Because despite that I didn’t like how it was just all about Desi and Luca’s love story and Desi and Luca themselves, there was still that humor in this book that kept me going. And I definitely loved the friendship and daughter-father relationship portrayed in this book.
Overall, I liked the side characters so much more than the main ones but it was an entertaining diverse read, portrays great relationships between friends and family and perfect not just for K-drama fans but to anyone who wants to be one.
Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She studied communication at UC San Diego and then later received a Masters in publishing, writing, and literature at Emerson College. Before publishing her first book, Since You Asked, she worked in both textbook and art book publishing. She also has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants and lives in Los Angeles.
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*A huge thanks to MacMillan International Sales for providing me an ARC in exchange of an honest review. The copy by any means didn’t affect nor influence my review.