This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!
Now that the 2019 reviews are out of the closet, it’s time for 2020. Very early 2020.
Okay, maybe late 2019, too.Frankly in Love by David Yoon
Frankly in Love #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 10, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Representation: Korean American
Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?
Frank Li has two names. There's Frank Li, his American name. Then there's Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.
Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl--which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he's forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don't leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he's found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he's left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
In this moving novel, debut author David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.
Quite frankly, Frankly in Love was a huge disappointment, and I think partially it might have been the marketing of the book, which focused on the fluffy fake-dating.
That… wasn’t the case at all. Yoon’s debut novel focuses on family, culture, identity, friendship, etc. There were a lot of complex and important issues, even though fake dating was part of it. It just isn’t the biggest part of the novel.
This is likely a personal preference, but I personally found Frank annoying, especially considering how fake dating is handled here. View Spoiler »There are no excuses for cheating, even if it’s to get your parents off your back. Frank was cheating on Brit and it felt like… where he’s using his parents’ potential reaction as an excuse? « Hide Spoiler It’s not just how the fake dating is handled – there’s also Q, who is such a fun character. I love his friendship with Frank, but I don’t like how that ending feels… dismissive? Rushed? Q deserves better than the shit he got handed, friends, and I will die on this hill.Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Published by Inkyard Press on January 28, 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Don’t Read the Comments took me a while to get into, mainly because I wasn’t in the right mood for it. (There’s also the gameplay, which while makes the book realistic, it’s not for everyone.) Smith’s latest novel follows Divya, a streamer with a large following who goes by the name D1V and takes steps to make sure she’s safe while online.
I loved how Don’t Read the Comments makes commentary about real-world issues such as misogyny and racism, especially as someone with a huge platform. I especially loved how this is a nod to virtual relationships being built and how while they can be meaningful, they can also be harmful.
The Folk of the Air #3
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers on November 19, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.
After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.
When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.
When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.
It’s no secret I hated The Cruel Prince and loved The Wicked King, so I was curious how I would react to The Queen of Nothing. Plus after the ending in the second book? Yes, please, gimme. I waddled myself onto the hold list immediately after it appeared I could.
I got the book quickly, too.
- Cardan definitely gets what he deserves. Honestly, that was peak entertainment since I’m not his biggest fan, and it wasn’t something I saw coming.
- Cardan has a way with words what the actual fuck is the wordplay going on here, Holly Black.
- I feel like there’s something missing from this finale, but I enjoyed it overall!