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I Believe in a Thing Called Love

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  10,235 ratings  ·  2,647 reviews
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
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 30th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
You just needed a plan, to take action. It’s how I convinced my dad to let me raise geese in our backyard, how I saved our underfunded middle school library from closure, how I overcame a fear of heights by bungee jumping on my sixteenth birthday (with only a little pee escaping me), and how I became number one in my class year after year. 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.
Sep 08, 2016 marked it as to-read
I am a relatively fearless person.

In fact, it borders on unsafe. Although I am a physically weak and indoors-y young woman, I feel no fright when I walk outside at night. (Relatedly, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it.) I capture bugs in mason jars and take them outside like a romcom character played by Zooey Deschanel. Heights, death, snakes, loneliness: All of these phobias quiver before me.

Only one thing scares me, and it’s books like this one.


I HATE picking up a
Claudia Ramírez
I think this may be a 4.5. It was ADORABLE and HILARIOUS. I was smiling the whole time.
Bentley ★
Full disclaimer, I've never seen a K-Drama before (although this book definitely peaked my interest in them) so I can't definitively judge how well this book actually aligns with the execution of the televised dramas. However, Maurene Goo does a spectacular job of explaining them to readers who have never seen them before, and based on her explanation, I think I have a handle on how they work. Plus, I had my wonderful reading buddy, Josh (Forever Bookish Josh) reading along with me and he helped ...more
*looks at title*

Me: okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay I'll roll with it

*reads synopsis*
*mentions "kdramas" *

Me: *slaps the table*
Me: Vhat vhat vhat vhat vhat
Me: sign me up
Me: be still my beating heart
Me: y'all I'm in tears
Me: rip to me because this is everything I ever wanted
Me: my prayers have been answered #praisethelord
Me: am I being tested in this life?? because I NEED MORE OF THIS I NEED A SEQUEL !!
Me: to be honest, I just want a Luca
may ➹
2.5 stars

Me: Asian rep!!! Asian characters!!! I will read this no matter what!!!!
Me: *actually reads the blurb*
Me: …I am going to hate this
Me: *reads the book anyways*

That was really not one of my finest moments. I should have dropped this as soon as I read the blurb, because I knew exactly how it would turn out to be: cringy, dramatic, cheesy, and stupid.

And that’s exactly how it turned out, BUT it was also unexpectedly addicting and engaging. I remember staying up a few hours at night just to
To say that I'm excited for this is a severe understatement.


Jul 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doth my eyes deceive me? Is that an Asian model on this cover?! :O


What a cute fun book this was! Full review TK
Aj the Ravenous Reader

“Unexpected things happen. But it’s how we react to them, how we learn and evolve from these things that shapes into who we are.”

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is one of the most hilarious, most adorable contemporaries I’ve read. So funny, it’s ridiculous.

"And then.
My fashion sweatpants fell off. In a puddle at my feet."

But what I liked about the book is that it isn’t just funny, romantic and silly. I actually appreciate the message of the story through the main character and the narrat
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, ya, own-hardcopy
EDITED: Actual review time below!!

A book about a girl who uses k-dramas as a guide to flirting and romance????


So, here's the thing: this book read like a k-drama. I love-love-loved the parallels. Desi creates this list of steps based on k-dramas for how to get her man, but in reality, she's basically a k-drama star herself.

Desi is this super smart, super capable, super spunky girl who flails at romance and has a sad family story.

Luca is this supposedly unattainable perfect guy who's a
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone seeking a refreshing twist on YA contemporary
Shelves: 2017-faves
I absolutely loved this book. Tying in K-drama structure while also being so important to Desi's master plan was cleverly done, and seeing Korean home life/relationship dynamics/details depicted so well was refreshing (see my status updates for specific thoughts). I couldn't stop turning the pages, even when I should've been doing other things (like sleeping). One of my favorites of 2017.

1 of my status updates: "Of all the books I've read, this best sums up what it was like to grow up in my hous
Cindy ✩☽♔
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating ~3.5

Well the K-drama nerd in me absolutely adored this. Is it a tad cliche and somewhat predictable? Sure, but so are K-dramas lol

Desi is a smart, dorky, endearing heroine and even at her craziest I could not help but like her.

Her two best friends Fiona and Wes, honestly seem like two of the most loyal friends ever because they always support her through all the crazy hijinks. While, also being completely honest with her about how crazy it all is 😂

It is important to note that you proba
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF 54% | 11/07/19

This is becoming a movie??? HOW. ABOUT. NO.

I wish I could say I loved this. I waited so long to get my hands on this book and I was so excited when I finally got to read it. The main character mentions that she has an overbite right at the beginning, and I’ve never felt more represented. But then I frickin HATED the book. This is probably my most hated book of all time.

The main character in this is insufferable, creepy, manipulative and straight-up PROBLEMATIC. If she and her
i binged this novel harder than a k-drama.

I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE is sososososo hilarious, adorable, and heartwarming. as a person who loves korean dramas, this story was a dream come true. i couldn't help but laugh situations (and Desi's internal monologue!). although it was obviously cliché and predictable, i loved every second. <3333
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Stephanie Perkins

i have some pretty huge issues with the main character (i.e. she's out of her freaking mind and her behavior would not be condoned under, like... any normal circumstance), but WOW this book was so adorable. i honestly kind of regret reading it when i did, because i should have saved it for a time when i really need a good contemporary.

very much recommend!!


video review:
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Let me start by saying I really should have enjoyed this more than I did and I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t. The story here is of Desi Lee – an overachiever to the nth degree. A senior in high school, Desi has made a habit of setting a goal for herself and achieving it. Straight As, varsity soccer stud, on her way to early admittance to Stanford - Desi makes her own destiny. There’s only one thing she fails at – the opposite sex. Whe
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Okay, I'm normally not a fan of YA contemporaries, but I thought this one was so cute! I was a huuuuge kdrama fan when I was a teenager (I seriously binged like 20 of them) and I loved the way this book incorporated them. You do have to suspend quite a bit of belief to enjoy it (especially with the ending) but overall it's such a fun time! There were times I considered only rating this 3.5 stars, but I loved Desi's Appa so much and he deserves 100000 stars. Also, Desi was a delightful and entert ...more
monica kim
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
I LOVED this book! If you want an over-the-too kind of ridiculous but also hopelessly wonderful contemporary, YOU NEED TO READ THIS (even more so if you love Korean dramas).
***Actual rating: 5/5 Kdrama-1-Reality-0 Stars***

I pulled out the K drama list, sopping wet at this point. Pulpy and dripping ink.
I wanted to shred the thing to bits, to shove it in my mouth and eat it if possible. But the more I stared at the list with all its ridiculous rules and steps, the more I began to register why I loved those dramas. Not because they were helpful, or because they were a useful tool for my own purposes.
It was because they were unapologetic love stories.

Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
As my favorite COVID-time hobby is crying into my wine while watching kdramas, I thought I would revisit this YA novel I moderately liked a couple of years ago. The basic plot is that Desi Lee, an overachiever good at everything but dating, makes a plan to snare a boy she likes using famous kdrama tricks. It works, or does it?

I liked this book again, and I definitely enjoyed making fun of all the tropes, but I was a dash uncomfortable with some plot developments that clearly were dangerous in an
Priyanka H
Sep 15, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: desperately-need
YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES. The universe needs this book.

✨Brithanie Faith✨
3.5/5 stars


Favorite Quotes:

"If you thought of life as a series of nostalgic images arranged in a slo-mo montage, you'd miss a lot of the tedious bits. In between the fuzzy images of blowing out birthday candles and first kisses would be a whole lot of sitting on your sofa watching TV. Or doing homework. Or learning how to create the perfect beach wave for your hair with a flatiron."

"I watched Bob Ross videos until my eyes bled, but I still couldn't paint a sycamore tree that didn't look like
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
This was one of my most anticipated books of 2017, and though I didn't get what I was expecting, I Believe In A Thing Called Love was nonetheless full of pleasant and quirky surprises.

The first thing you should know going into I Believe In A Thing Called Love is that it is outrageously silly. Indeed, largely influenced and inspired by romantic Korean dramas, or K-dramas, this book has all the hilarious and heart-melting tropes common to K-drama: tragic family stories, near-miss life and death si
♛ may
book #3 done for the booktubeathon ✔️

so i was most definitely expecting this book to be a little weird from all the reviews i was seeing but lowkey desi lee has some issues that she needs to fix

. . . like very soon.

- its a fun, light hearted contem ft. a korean mc who's literally the smartest girl in the world
- shes a walking tragedy omg relatable
- her
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. If you've ever enjoyed a Korean drama, you'll likely enjoy I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE as much as I did! As a girl who used to watch Korean dramas (it's a family pastime, actually), I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. It was as adorable, and funny, and quirky as I expected, a total romantic comedy in book form, and I had a lot of fun reading it. ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Cute but nothing overly special. The kdrama aspect was just so extremely amazing but the actual romance and characters weren’t the best... cute though!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, on a Friday night, you just need to pick up a cute K-drama contemporary and sit in your favourite reading chair. Ant that's when the book binging happens.

I seriously needed this, to binge read a book, to do nothing else but read — okay, I slept and ate, but still. I also really needed all the K-drama feels.

I wouldn't say this book was mind-blowing, because it seriously wasn't. It was messed up sometimes, and not the good type of messed up. But it was also extremely light-hearted, and
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Maurene Goo grew is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE and THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and cat, Maeby.

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