Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Pub. Date: 2017
Genres: Contemporary YA, Romance, Comedy
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
An overachieving Korean American girl meets a new, hot guy in her class and develops a crush. She decides that to get him to be her boyfriend that she’s going to follow the K-Drama formula to make her own romance. When I read that, I thought, “Dani (from Perspective of a Writer) would love this!” Then I found out she already read and reviewed it. That being said, the book sounded funny, and I wanted to try to understand the appeal of K-Dramas, which I’ve never watched. I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo, is a funny love letter to K-Dramas for the high school romantics.
Desi is the overachieving girl with a crazy plan. Her flailures (flirting + failure) made me laugh, and that complimented her internal references to Twilight. I also loved that she was talented and did a lot of extracurricular activities because it makes her more than a nerd. She’s a planner, an athlete, a fangirl, and a decent mechanic. She feels very awkward and unable to start winning her crush’s heart without a plan to follow, so she decides to model her love life after K-Dramas. While the premise of her mission to get the new guy at school as her boyfriend was creepy and predictable, it nicely coincided with the K-Drama plot structure that she documented and helped her get even closer with her dad.
Her dad, Appa, is an awesome and hilarious person. He is a single father, mechanic, and K-Drama addict. He took pretty well to being a single parent, and he has a good relationship with his daughter, which foils her crush’s tenuous relationship with his dad. I like that Appa can be a fun and warm person while being able to get Desi to realize the full consequences of her actions. She worries about him. They tease each other and care for each other. Mostly, I love that they now bond over K-Dramas and cook together. Their father-daughter relationship is beautiful. (You were right, Dani.)
Then there’s Luca Drakos, new hottie of the high school and crush of Desi. He’s an artist with daddy issues. He falls hard for Desi, and he does very well in situations where controlling every detail isn’t possible. I’m glad that we see more depth to his relationships with his parents, and I’m glad that it doesn’t stay in one form. I also liked that Desi had a different opinion of his parents in a very opposite way to him. It shows her as able to form more independent opinions of people, and she uses this to help Luca.
For the overall plot, it was predictable, but it was an intentional predictable because the whole point is having Desi try to find love following the K-Drama formula. I like that there were character-driven elements to the story that balanced the stronger plot-driven elements.
There is so much to laugh at in this book, whether it’s Desi’s flailures or people teasing each other. Instead of everything being so serious, this book is light-hearted.
Did this book get me to like K-Dramas? Not really. It’s not an actual K-Drama, but it has made me curious enough to try one … some day. Thankfully, Maurene Goo created a list of K-Dramas to watch and placed it at the end of the book.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a funny teen romance that focuses on a love of K-Dramas. As a non-watcher of K-Dramas, I think this is a wonderful, light book to read.