I Believe in a Thing Called Love got its first trade review—and it’s a STAAARRRRREEEED review from Kirkus!
A talented overachiever resorts to lessons gleaned from Korean pop culture in hopes of finding love.
Korean-American Desi Lee is a remarkably self-aware high school senior who finds that as long as she has “a plan—all’s well.” When she swoons for Luca Drakos, an alluring white transfer student, Desi doesn’t hesitate to share with him that she’s “school president, on varsity soccer and tennis, in five different clubs,” and “pretty much slated to be valedictorian.” Desi’s confidence knows no bounds, except when it comes to the opposite sex. Repeated attempts at wooing would-be suitors having backfired, Desi finds Luca too good to lose, so she turns to an unlikely mainstay of her home life for help: the Korean dramas her widower father has watched obsessively for years, where star-crossed lovers seem always to win in the end. (A starter guide is helpfully appended.) Previously dismissing the formulaic K dramas as the “white noise” of her life, Desi begins to study their plotlines intently, going so far as to craft 24 “K Drama Steps to True Love.” Desi’s implementation of measures such as “Be Caught in an Obviously Lopsided Love Triangle,” yields hilarious, at times unintended results, lending this teen rom-com a surprisingly thoughtful conclusion.
Plot-driven as the K dramas Goo’s protagonist seeks to emulate, her funny, engaging narrative also delivers powerful messages of inclusion and acceptance. (Fiction. 12-18)