Friday, July 21, 2017

I Believe in a Thing Called Love - Maurene Goo

 Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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 specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.


Desi Lee is a Korean American teen living in California with her Appa (that's father in Korean.)  Her mom died when she was seven and it has been just her and her appa since then.  Desi is in her senior year of high school and going through the terrifying prospect of applying to colleges.  She realizes that she's never had a boyfriend - so what's an analytically minded child to do when she wants to get her first boyfriend?  Apply the same thoughts to dating that she does to studying of course!  

Desi approaches the boyfriend hunt in a very.....unromantic and sort of formulaic way.  She starts watching the K-Dramas that her appa loves.  She then decides to make a list of the way that the main characters fall in love in these k-dramas.  A few of the steps on her K Drama Steps to Love list include:

1. You are the living embodiment of all that is pure and good.
3. Meet the world's most unattainable guy.
7. Mystery surrounds the guy but find out more!
11. Prove that you are different from all other women IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!

There are 24 steps in this list (one of which leads Desi to sprinkle nails on the road, then persuade Luca to give her a ride home.  I won't tell you exactly what happens as a result of the nails, but let's just say it's a miracle Luca still wanted to date Desi after that.)

Let's just jump right into: 

The Characters
I love Desi and her friends Wes and Fiona.  They are all these wonderful, honest kids who really care about each other.  They each have their own things going on, but they are still there for each other in the way that friends should be.  What I mean by that is - so, example: When Desi becomes so consumed with her list that she realizes she hasn't asked Fiona about Fiona's life in weeks, Fi calls her out on that.  And Desi realizes she made a mistake by not also keeping up with what was going on with her friends.
There was a depth to each of the characters and they each had personalities that worked so well for them and with the other characters in the book.  Also, Desi really showed a lot of growth in the book.  She started out being very narrow and focused, then realized that she can't apply the same formula to love that she does to her studying.  She became aware that love and attraction are just things that have to happen without some stupid list. 

The Story:
I loved every second of this story.  There was enough going on throughout the book that it moved quickly yet believably.  It was nice to see the development of the story and the changes that happened throughout the novel.  The story kept pace with the characters and I think everything felt very real and also necessary.

On a sort of related note, I also loved the relationship between Desi and her father.  It was real, and awesome, and hilarious.  (Like when he tells her to "Move your big head!" while they are watching K-Dramas with Luca.  He then tells Luca to tell her the truth, thinking that Desi's boyfriend is just going to agree that Desi has a big head.)  

Anyway, readers - go get your hands on this book!  You'll love it!)

About the Author
Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She is the author of Since You Asked… and I Believe in a Thing Called Love and has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants. You can find her in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats–one weird, one even more weird.

Author website:


No comments: