Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Summary: 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.
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“I believed, and still believe, that you can build your dreams brick by brick. That you can accomplish anything with persistence. Even falling in love.”
Not very related, but when Desi refers to the K-drama flick, it is the gif above.
Reading book after book after book, maybe the question isn’t if reading is getting in the way of my regular schedule or if life is getting in the way of my reading schedule. I have to candidly admit that lately, it has been the latter. So what’s the perfect way to bring myself back to reading? I just could not find a book enticing enough to read. So late one night before heading to bed I watched a book review of I Believe in a Thing Called Love and I downloaded the book immediately. Packed into one nice and short sentence: An Asian-American Protagonist, a witty plotline and a comedic romance all in one novel.
If that does not sell the book enough, well here is a long review of reasons why the book was a rare gem that I have not seen in a long time. It is incredibly refreshing as always to see a witty, and goal driven female lead that is able to bring in a different cultural perspective. Desi is Korean-American, and Goo was able to supply a perfect foundation of meals with Appa (Korean for Dad) and watching addicting K-dramas (Something I have started to watch lately!). It was not always a perfect balance, as you can see how Desi is referred to not by her Korean name until the end by Violet, one of her friends from her past in Korean school that she forgot. Overall, still a job well done. As for witty and goal driven, Desi sets a goal and she goes for it. She makes a plan and completes each step. No surprise, when it comes to a boy she wants to do the same. It was motivating to see workaholic and overachieving Desi function. Stanford, grades, clubs, she had a way to get all of them done. But what about when it comes to a boy? Is she still supergirl?
The “fails” when she would meet a guy that she liked was perfect as well. Starting in the beginning in the carnival we see Desi sneeze on her crush, and the string of failures just follow. It’s so relatable on a personal level for us, because we have all felt the nerves before. The butterflies and the jumbled words that never come out right. It’s heartwarming to see Desi so confident. She messes up, but she gets over it and continues on to her next day.
The casting for the characters is diverse. Desi’s best friend is Hispanic and her other friends in art club are Korean as well. It is a realistic group of students, at least from my point of view as in my school, I have classmates of all races. In young adult novels, most of the time all of the characters are Caucasian and more exposure to other cultures are not only necessary but so enjoyable to read. Her two best friends will be so funny and adorable, a must have for a good read.
Desi is flawed and two big real “fail” moments for me was putting her life in danger, and missing her Stanford interview. I understand that she feels like the K-drama plan to win over a guy, Luca, the art student consists of lying and saying her deam is to be an artist. However, putting somebody’s life in danger is a different matter. It is idiotic. It is crazy. Not in a “cute” or “whimsical” way. For a character with so much logic, it’s hard to believe that somehow love is able to make her this crazy.
The second scenario was choosing to alter her dreams for Luca, skipping and interview for her dream school to see Luca’s mother. Once again, as somebody who is described as a genius and is logical, she chooses not to tell Luca about her interview because she thinks it will stress her out more. That is horrible reasoning to back up the fact that there was a conflict that could have been solved from easy and clear communication. The worse part: Luca’s mom is let’s just say not very pleasant at all. What a horrible mess.
Lastly, Desi and her father have an amazing relationship. They’re always there for each other and he’s willing to listen to her problems and comfort her. He is such a caring father that loves his daughter so much. When they watch dramas together, it is adorable. As someone with enough context in K-drama, the references were cute and a nice touch, but either way it is fantastic! Honestly, the list that Desi made was pretty impressive, summing up how the girl always gets the guy. It’s tempting not to try it.
And that concludes it. This is a perfect, light and short summer read. It is a rom-com packed into a tiny book that will be so enjoyable for anyone. So pick up the book with a nice cup of peach lemonade green tea! This drink has been a personal favourite of mine lately, because summer and cold lemonade teas go hand in hand. Have a fun read with this 4.5 Cups of Tea read!
The peach lemonade tea that you can get at Starbucks: