Frankly in Love

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Frankly in Love Book Poster Image
Heartfelt coming-of-age tale about love, family, identity.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Good introduction to Korean culture and traditions.

Positive Messages

Communication, trust, and honesty are important in relationships. Don't take time with your loved ones for granted. Life is too short to focus on what separates us from each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Frank learns how to love his family and friends -- despite their flaws -- and comes to appreciate his Korean American identity. His parents worked hard at The Store to give their kids a better life than they had in Korea and eventually change some of their racist beliefs.


The book deals with the death of a parent. A character gets shot. Characters fight, and one gets a black eye.


Characters kiss, make out, and eventually lose their virginity. 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." There are also Korean insults, racial slurs, and profanity used, including one that means the "N" word.


Korean families try to one-up each other by displaying their wealth and reminding everyone about how well they're doing in America. A fictional app called Snapstory is used throughout the book.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mentions of marijuana, beer, wine, soju, whiskey, and cigarettes. Teens and adults drink, and they sometimes get drunk.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBethBook September 27, 2019

Read yourself and let your kids read it.

Smart kids in AP classes are very smart about how their parents influence them. Frank and his non Korean girlfriend must hide their dating from Franks Korean pa... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 24, 2021

Too Filthy don't read this!

There is so much cursing, there is every word in the book.
F--k: 57
S--t: 44
D--n: 12
A-s: 15
B---h: 5
Hell: 9
P---k: 2
P---y: 1
D--k: 5
Ch--k: 1
P--s: 2
There... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byd1.kay_ on tik tok May 3, 2021

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Asian American stories and romance

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