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336 pages, Hardcover
First published May 30, 2017
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.This is the Asian-American YA book the world needs. I hate to say it but god it was so adorbs, and the spunky heroine even won me, a hard-core romance cynic over. The only thing that would have boosted it to 5 stars in my eyes: an Asian romance interest. Come on :\ can't the Asian guy ever be the main love interest for once?
Even falling in love.
Or how huge obstacles were brought on by class differences, and how it was considered kind of okay for a rich mom to start hitting a grown woman for daring to date her son despite being poor. And the grown woman would just sit there and take it because the rich mom was her elder!The spunky, screeching, shrill, annoyingly positive main character against overwhelming odds never interested me. Like fuck that shit. Real life ain't like that. I'm sick of your fucking chaebol asshole alpha males who fall in luuuuuuuuuuurve too. I feel like you've watched one, you've watched them all, and I honestly can't stand them. The only one I can maybe watch these days is Descendants of the Sun and that's mainly because I don't give a shit about the storyline because I can stare at Song Joong Ki's face the entire time. HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG HOW CAN A MAN BE THAT BEAUTIFUL IT'S JUST NOT FUCKING FAIR LIKE DOES HE EVEN HAVE PORES IN HIS FACE? I can only watch it for like 5 minutes at a time over my sister's back as she watches it mainly because - I'm embarrassed to even have to type this - but I just can't stare at him for too long. It's like looking into the sun.
Then there were the emotions. My God, I have never witnessed this level of emotion from human beings, on-screen or off. So. Many. Tears. So much yelling.
K dramas bottled up swoony true love in addictive ten-to-twenty-hour packages. My reactions to chaste first kisses were akin to heart attacks. I bawled with abandon when couples had to break up, when one of them was suffering. I sighed happily with glazed eyes when my characters finally got their happy endings.The MC in this book is a tough little cookie. Her mother died when she was just seven, and thanks to a little questionably self-experiment in which she kinda-sorta-convinces herself that she has a teeny bit of magical power that enables her to keep her head high.
But I never lost the belief that you could will something just by sticking to it, by being unwavering. By keeping your eyes on the prize. And by doing that, there was nothing you couldn’t control about your own life.She's got great grades, good friends, a loving father. Desi just sucks at getting guys to notice her. Finally, she watched the k-dramas to which her dad has been long addicted, and like everything else she's ever done, sets out a plan to get the guy of her dreams.
“Are you … out of your damn mind?”This book was so fun to read. I didn't like one moment where she kind of blew off her future for him, but I guess the book kind of needed that to prove a point. The relationships were great, I especially liked the one between Desi and her father. I'm a huge critic of books with Asian main characters because typically they're not done to my liking or not realistic or just too stereotypically Asian or self-hating, but ha, the author is Korean and she did this right.
I released a tortured breath. “Hear me out—”
“No way, Des. This is the most deranged thing I have ever seen, even for you. Some of these things … I mean … who the hell…”
“Fi, I’m not going to take it all literally. Some of the real wacko stuff you’re reading is part of these formulas but not necessarily things I need to do. It’s a rough … inspirational blueprint if you will. But it essentially lays out, step-by-step, all the ways to get into predicaments that will endear me to Luca and then ultimately get us closer together.”
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*
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.
But I never lost the belief that you could will something just by sticking to it, by being unwavering. By keeping your eyes on the prize. And by doing that, there was nothing you couldn’t control about your own life.
”And speaking of…if there’s one thing I’ve learned with all my girlfriends, it’s that you eventually have to stop playing games.”
The train whizzed past, my long braid coming undone in wisps that whipped across both our faces. The earth vibrated beneath our feet, and this time I stood up on my tippy-toes and brushed my lips against his. Soft and a bit hesitant. And he kissed me back just as softly, with a little pressure at the very end.
In all my crushing, in my obsessing, in all my scheming…I hadn’t known this person had existed in front of me all along. Not just cool artist-rebel Luca. But kind, deeply empathetic Luca. The Luca who viewed a story about a little girl peeing her pants in second grade as tragedy rather than comedy.
❝Just sit back and believe, it's so much more fun that way!❞
❝Real love: It was all about risk and having faith. There were no guarantees.❞
• a Korean-American protagonist (OwnVoices rep)definitely check out I Believe in a Thing Called Love!!
• a great YA contemporary that will warm your heart
• a romance that will make you swoon
• a loving father-daughter relationship
"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."
Like everything else, Luca could be won over with some good old-fashioned planning ... I might be a flailure in love, but I was the motherf-ing boss of studying.