Blurb from Goodreads
High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing.
His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white.
Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.
Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.
Please don’t promise me fake dating if you’re not gonna be cute about it. This book was such a freaking let down I can’t.
I JUST CAN’T
I hated it so much.
There are gonna be unmarked spoilers guys so read this at your own discretion because I just can’t talk about this properly without revealing spoilers.
Omg the writing…..
THE WRITING WAS AWFUL!!!!!
Did the author Yoon want to be grandiloquent and overly verbose???
Or did he want to be painfully prosaic????
BECAUSE BOTH STYLES WERE PRESENT AND OMG DID I HATE THEM SO MUCH!!!!!
And can we just LOL at the amount of issues this book tried to stuff into it: racism, shootings, death, illness, cheating, coming out…
TOO MANY THINGS COVERED UTTERLY INEFFECTUALLY
Like yay let’s talk about racism and identity. Fab…
Explore the ingrained racism of not allowing your children to fully integrate into a different society and explore the reasoning as to why Frank’s parents were so racist. And also explore the racist attitudes of Americans who don’t have to identify themselves as European-American versus Frank’s Korean-American (or African-American etc.).
BUT DO NOT THEN MAKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER (i.e. Frank) BE A PREJUDICED TOSSER TOO
Eg in this scene in chapter 12 Frank is on the phone to girlfriend Brit and she hears ‘The Gathering’ going on in the background and he explains what it is to her, when some Korean-American families meet up to have food and chats etc. And then he has this thought…
“The roomful of Limbos suddenly becomes the most precious of life’s achievements: children who will never want for anything, who speak native English, who will go to the best schools in the world and never have to run an office furniture rental service (like Joy’s parents), a dry cleaner (Ella’s), a beauty supply (Andrew’s), a tourist gift shop (John’s), or a grocery store (mine).”
So if I interpreted this correctly what Frank was saying that he and his fellow Korean-American friends will never have to work in those types of jobs. And the message I got from him as a character (and the book) is as if those types of jobs are somehow less than. Menial etc.
And I’m sorry but book…
YOU NEED TO TOSS OFF!!!!
As I said we already know Frank’s parents are racist and laden with prejudice…
But then Frank himself was as prejudiced for the disparaging messages he gave off about the careers that all of those parents had.
Like what is so very wrong with any of these jobs??? They’re all hugely respectable.
I get the whole idea of the demanding, overly-zealous parent wanting the child to be a doctor or similar because of their prejudiced ideas of what success means…. But Frank displayed an equally problematic mindset in how he just flippantly dismissed the work of his parents and the other Korean-Americans. And he was supposed to be from the enlightened generation????
BOOK YOU NEED TO MAKE MORE SENSE PLEASE.
DO NOT TEAR DOWN CAREERS COS YOU THINK THEY ARE NOT GLAMOROUS OR WHATEVER BS. SO INSULTING AND PROBLEMATIC!!!!
But back to the main racism issue of the book…
So Frank’s parents are racist because they only want him to date and ultimately marry a nice Korean girl. Ergo Frank needs to fake-date his Korean-American friend Joy so that he can really date European-American Brit.
But like all the book does is state that there is racism. Frank ultimately doesn’t challenge this. He gives in to these problematic beliefs and treats Brit abominably by not being truthful with her????????
LIKE WHAT IS THE POINT OF FRANK WOULD SOMEONE TELL ME PLEASE!!!!!
And as for Frank’s European-American girlfriend Brit…..She was so empty as a character. Entirely vacant. Lacking in any sort of substance. Her *love* for Frank was baffling. Because he permanently kept her entirely at a distance. There was a distinct lack of connection. He legit only liked her cos she’s pretty.
SO WHY WOULD SHE SUDDENLY BE ALL OH I LOVE YOU FRANK????????
Poor idiotic and painfully underdeveloped character.
And Joy…. I don’t get Joy. AT ALL.
I have no clue how she and Frank supposedly fall in love while they were fake-dating. It’s all tell, tell, tell but ZERO showing.
WHERE WAS THE CUTENESS TO MAKE ME ROOT FOR THIS COUPLE????
For a book with the words “IN LOVE” in the title there was utterly no time put into developing any sort of love story. It’s just here’s a straight teenage boy, here’s a straight teenage girl. They’re supposed to rebel against their parents by dating outside their culture but lol lets have them fall for each other and BOOM all of a sudden they’re besotted….
Don’t buy it.
And then there was this scene after Frank slept with Joy for the first time and it’s like lol no… Frank thinks to himself:
“I once read some graphic novel where the hero lost his virginity and was disappointed to find that he felt the same the next day. Boys, he figured, weren’t like girls. They didn’t have hymens to break.”
GEE THANK YOU FRANK AND DAVID YOON
WOMANKIND THANKS YOU FOR FURTHER PERPETUATING THE MYTH THAT HYMENS BREAK ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE PENETRATIVE SEX FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Dear god who does Yoon think he is??? Freaking TI with the hymen virginity test????
HYMENS BREAK FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS AND THE MAJORITY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH INTERCOURSE
Can’t cope with this reinforcement of a falsehood. And that whole paragraph is just freaking weird anyway…
And Q…. Frank’s dorky bestie. Oh you poor sad boy. Another criminally underdeveloped character. Yoon teases throughout the novel that he loves *somebody* but Q won’t reveal it and then last couple of pages Q KISSES FRANK AND FRANK IS LIKE LOL NO BUT YOU WILL MAKE SOME BOY HAPPY SOMEDAY BUT NOT ME!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
And I’m here reading this like WTF????
Let’s have the gay character just kiss his best friend as a means to tell him he’s gay…..
WHY WAS THIS LGBTQ+ STORYLINE JUST SHOVED IN AT THE END AND NOT PROPERLY NOR SENSITIVELY EXPLORED?????
Please let’s not just use your gay characters just to create freaking melodrama.
Also the kiss was not exactly consensual nor encouraged so you know WHY NOT HAVE THAT HARMFUL TROPE ABOUT PREDATORY GAY PEOPLE TOO????????????????????????? So wrong.
Oh and can we all just be like no to the terminal illness storyline????
STOP USING ILLNESS TO TRY TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO LIVE THEIR BEST LIVES!!!!! I’m so over that freaking trope.
And there’s a sequel to this mess….
Oh no way in heck will I be reading that.