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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that David Yoon's Frankly in Love is a heartfelt coming-of-age novel that thoughtfully explores first love, complex family relationships, identity, and racism. Korean characters pretend to date each other so their parents won't find out that they're actually dating outside their ethnicity. A character gets shot, and the book also deals with the death of a loved one. A boy gets punched and ends up with a black eye. Characters kiss, make out, and eventually lose their virginity. There are also jokes about anal sex, "d--k pics," and slot shots. Strong language includes many uses and variations of "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "damn," "hell," "Jesus Christ," "bitch," "d--k," "crap," and "whore." Korean insults, racial slurs, and profanity are also used, one of which means the "N" word. Korean families constantly try to one-up each other by displaying their wealth and reminding everyone how well they're doing in America. There are mentions of marijuana, beer, wine, soju, whiskey, and cigarettes. Teens and adults drink, sometimes to excess.
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What's the story?
FRANKLY IN LOVE tells the story of Frank Li, a Korean American high school senior in Southern California. His parents emigrated from Korea and expect Frank to live up to their traditional expectations, which include dating a Korean girl. There's just one problem: Frank's fallen in love with Brit Means, a white girl in his AP Calculus class. Frank knows his parents won't approve of Brit, so he turns to Joy Song, a family friend who's in a similar situation with her Chinese-American boyfriend. Frank and Joy's plan to fake-date each other sounds like the perfect solution, until life takes an unexpected turn, making Frank wonder if he knows anything at all about love, his family, or himself.
Is it any good?
David Yoon's heartfelt coming-of-age novel thoughtfully tackles first love, complex family relationships, identity, and racism, making it a must-read for teens. Yoon pulls from his own experience growing up with immigrant parents and understands what it's like to feel caught between two different cultures. It's clear that Frank doesn't share his parents' racist attitudes, but he feels the pressure to meet all of their expectations after his sister was disowned for dating a non-Korean. And while there are plenty of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments in Frankly in Love, an emotional plot twist leads to poignant moments between Frank and his family as they learn to love each other despite their flaws. Readers will laugh, cry, and root for Frank as he begins to appreciate his Korean-American identity and see that life is too short to focus on what separates us.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the generational conflict in Frankly in Love. Teens: Do your grandparents or parents have values or traditions that you think are old-fashioned and have no place in today's world?
Does the romance portrayed seem realistic and relatable? Do YA romance novels help readers sort out their feelings and learn how to communicate, or do they create false expectations about teen relationships?
Talk about the various kinds of diversity in the novel. Why are diverse representations important in children's and young adult literature?
Why do you think Yoon decided to write a story that mirrors his own life? What kind of power do immigrant stories hold?
- Author: David Yoon
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: September 10, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: September 25, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love Asian American stories and romance
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