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Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Young adult

Frankly in Love


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, David Yoon, on your first book!

by David Yoon

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Quick take

From the husband of Nicola Yoon, a soon-to-be movie about romance complicated by parents, race, and love itself.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL



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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Frankly in Love

before we begin

Well, I have two names.

That’s what I say when people ask me what my middle name is. I say:

Well, I have two names.

My first name is Frank Li. Mom-n-Dad gave me that name mostly with the character count in mind.

No, really: F+R+A+N+K+L+I contains seven characters, and seven is a lucky number in America.

Frank is my American name, meaning it’s my name-name.

My second name is Sung-Min Li, and it’s my Korean name, and it follows similar numerological cosmology:

S+U+N+G+M+I+N+L+I contains nine characters, and nine is a lucky number in Korea. Nobody calls me Sung-Min, not even Mom-n-Dad. They just call me Frank.

So I don’t have a middle name. Instead, I have two names.

Anyway: I guess having both lucky numbers seven and nine is supposed to make me some kind of bridge between cultures or some shit.

America, this is Korea, Korea, this is America.

Everyone good? Can I go do my thing now?


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Why I love it

Give me a fake-dating romance book and I’ll be happy. Give me a fake-dating book that’s also witty, philosophical, and big-hearted, and I’ll be thrilled. Give me a fake-dating book that’s witty, philosophical, big-hearted, and about big things—identity, and culture, and learning to accept your incredibly flawed family—and I will be over-the-moon ecstatic. Frankly in Love is that book, and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Frank Li falls in love with the girl of his dreams. The only problem is that she’s white and his parents want him to date someone Korean. Frank’s friend, Joy, is dating the boy of her dreams. The only problem is that he’s Chinese-American and her parents want her to date someone Korean. Dear reader, you can see where this is going. Frank and Joy solve their problems by fake-dating each other. Hilarity and hijinks ensue! Only this book is about so much more than fake-dating. It’s about making your own way against the expectations of the world, even the people that love you the most. It’s about finding your heart and then learning to follow it. It’s about being.

Reading this book is truly a joyous experience. In a lifetime, only a handful of books will worm their way into your heart and change you for the better. For me, Frankly in Love is one of those books.

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Member ratings (1,086)

  • Heidi L.

    Vancouver, WA

    My favorite YA book of all time. Refreshing! I fell in love with these brilliant young characters & couldn’t wait to spend time with them. The Li’s experience is heartbreaking, honest, and inspiring.

  • Jennie T.

    Churchville, NY

    Yoon’s writing about family and the Asian culture was refreshing to read. Some chapters hit home. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry. Definitely would read again to laugh and cry all over again.

  • Dorothy R.

    Hubert, NC

    Frank is FUNNY. He’s honest and kind and when he feels, he FEELS. The cultural aspect is so relatable. Everything felt so real. Yoon’s writing is deeper than you'd expect. & The ending was amazing.

  • Saadia A.

    San Diego, CA

    I loved how David Yoon so accurately portrayed the identity crisis of the children of Asian immigrant parents stuck in between their parents’ traditional expectations and the American way of living.

  • Ajla H.

    Baltimore, MD

    I related to this book so much and not at all at the same time. The ending made me cry and just hurt my heart. I really loved it. I love a good fake dating scheme. I wish Q would have gotten more!!

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