Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Title: Frankly in Love
Author: David Yoon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 10, 2019
Pages: 432
Source/format: ARC//BookishFirst and Publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

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.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Frankly in Love is a cute contemporary novel about first loves, living up to parents' expectations, understanding how to support someone with a terminal illness, tackling the topic of racism, and how to pave your own path to happiness. Imagine all this while being a senior in high school, trying to just do well on your SATs, and getting into a good college. Well, this is what Frank Li has to endure.

Frank lives in Southern California and has to uphold many parents' expectations. David Yoon opens up the novel explaining the significance of Frank’s American name and Frank's Korean name. Frank's American full first name (Frank Li) consists of seven letters and his Korean first full name (Sung Min Li) consists of nine letters. Seven to symbolize the lucky number in America and nine to symbolize the lucky number in South Korea. By having Yoon start the novel in this manner, the reader gets a sense of how there is a divide yet a symbiotic relationship between his American and Korean upbringing. It’s supposed to be a bridge between two cultures.

Frank’s parents have the typical expectations of Asian parents when it comes to academics. They want their child to get a high test score on the PSATs and SATs, maintain a high GPA and get into Harvard. That is what Frank’s sister, Hanna, did. However, Frank would love to pursue a music career at Berklee School of Music instead of studying law or medicine at an Ivy League.

Frank's parents only want him to date a Korean girl so when he falls for Brit Means, a white girl in his Calculus class, he devises a plan with Korean-American Joy Song. His parents know Joy through family friends and think Frank and Joy are dating. Yet, they don't know that Frank and Joy are fake-dating so Frank and Joy can date other people that are not Korean. Frank can see Brit and Joy can see Wu without having their parents breathing down on their necks. Of course this scenario sounds good to be true because something always happens. Unexpected actions and feelings occur and the plan unravels.

Yoon’s voice for Frank is simple and relatable for many. What I love about Frank is Frank’s candor. Yoon delves into topics such as interracial relationships, family issues, grades, etc. and tells it how it is. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. I haven’t read a novel with a male point of view that I instantly connected with in ages. Through Frank readers see how Frank and his friends from the Gathering have to appease their Korean parents.

There is one scene where Frank almost loses a family member but they survive. It shows how vulnerable someone can be. Your life can change in an instant. Frank's parents have their own secrets that they do not tell Frank until 3/4 quarters of the book. Because they don't want Frank to bomb his SATs and because they want to save face, his parents do not tell him that a family member has cancer. The situations Yoon include in Frankly in Love are things that happen to many teens. This is real life. The emotions are real. And how one handles difficult situations like cheating, finds out someone has cancer, or lives up to parents' expectations can be stressful. How does one deal with all these obstacles?

The friendship between Frank and Q is genuine. They are practically brothers. I would love to read a book in Q's point of view like a companion novel of some sort. He has a story to tell us and I know a lot of us will want to find out more about Q and how he navigates the world in his shoes.

Frankly in Love is a coming-of-age book about finding yourself and finding love. As Ella mentions, "we all just want to love who we want to love." Not only are characters finding love in a romantic sense but characters also strengthen their family love through bonding and understanding.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite and Least Favorite Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and the meme moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their favorite tropes. I decided to add some of my least favorite tropes as well. The following tropes are in no particular order.


1. Strong female lead | Who doesn't love a strong, confident female who knows what she wants and who isn't afraid to speak her mind. I enjoy reading about females who overcome stereotypes and take a stand to say "hey, here I am and I can do anything a man can do." Females who break gender stereotypes are often books I love to read.

2. Male point of view | Frankly a lot of YA voices these days are in the POV of females. However, I would love to read more authentic male voices.

3. Paranormal and Magic | I am a huge sucker for reading books about witches, vampires, werewolves and anything that falls under the realm of the paranormal. Often, magic are involved with the parnomal and I love reading books that incorporate magic.

4. Coming-of-age | I am a a big fan of coming-of-age novels. They are relatable and usually nostalgic.

5. Boarding Schools | Any book with a boarding school is an instant add to my TBR. I am quite fascinated how young adults residing at the same location where they receive their education.


1. Love Triangle | Most of the time I do not like reading about love triangles in my books except for a couple of cases. I only approve of the love triangle in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy and in The Infernal Devices trilogy.

2. Insta-love | I feel like this trope is in so many YA books and it's unrealistic. People don't fall in love that quickly without getting to know the person.

3. The Chosen One | How many times do you read a book and the main character ends up being some type of chosen one that saves the day? Yeah, I know I like Harry Potter, but I rather keep my Chosen Ones rather limited.

4. Cheating in Relationships | I know cheating does happen in some relationships, but it's very hard for me to read a book when a character cheat on another.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite tropes in the books you read?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

MISTI-Con 2019: Day 4 and Day 5 Recap

I am finally back from a long but fun and eventful Harry Potter convention called MISTI-Con. All I can say is that I had a fantastic time! The Wizarding Though the Ages theme was perfect for this year. Despite the location and date change from previous MISTIs, the magic is always there! I always look forward to reuniting with old friends and making new friends. We all get to step away from the Muggle world and we embrace the magic around us at MISTI-Con. The con provides a safe and judge-free environment for fans to geek and nerd out about fandom. Everyone dressed up as witches and wizards or even magical creatures or bring life to inanimate magical objects. I saw some very creative cosplays like a howler who was shouting about with Mrs. Black to the renfaire like Luna Lovegood.

I will be recapping the convention in a few posts. I always make a schedule prior to each MISTI with programming I would like to attend but I like to be flexible since most of the best moments are not scheduled. It's always being somewhere at the right time. The schedule is an outline for me but I have to say that I have some programming that I made sure I attended.

This is my 4th MISTI-Con and I hope to attend future ones. If you have never attended a Harry Potter convention, I am hoping you will in the future if you are a huge Potterhead. You will make long-lasting memories of a lifetime! Maybe I will see you a future Harry Potter convention whether it be something like MISTI or perhaps even Leviosa or CONjuration.

Check out my recap for Days 1 and 2 and Day 3.

DAY 4: SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019

The last full day of MISTI-Con! Although it's bittersweet, we all made the best of it. Jess and I woke up early despite the Founders's Ball running into late hours the night before. We wanted to see the Puffs Play: Watch Party since there was a Puffs panel later that day. Unfortunately, I couldn't see Puffs live on Wednesday before the Con so this is the next best thing. It was extremely hilarious despite me being super tired. I was eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee during the watch party since it was at 8:00 am in the morning.

Afterward, I went to the History of Magic of New York panel which was fabulous. I don't know too much about paranormal lore in New York so it was interesting to learn about it with some New Yorkers. The Puffs: The Original Trio Reunion panel started around 11:00. Jess and I saw my sister in the crowd and sat next to her. Unfortunately, Langston couldn't attend the event to do something at SDCC. However, Julie Ann and Zac were in conversation with Clay being the moderator. I am so glad that this panel happened because it was very insightful to hear from the actors about their experience being in the Puffs and also to ask questions. Jess and I didn't know they were doing photos after the panel so we ended up missing that.

Jess and I went to the Common Room and hung out with a lot of people including Dariti and Nessie. There were free snacks there and it was a good time to unwind and catch up with people before more programming for the afternoon and evening. I love how Walburga Black and a Howler ended up visiting the Common Room. I was fortunate enough to have recorded some video of both Mrs. Black and the Howler having a shouting match. It was hilarious!

Jess and I wandered up to the Grand Pre-North hallway and saw Nigel playing acoustic guitar and singing near the Evercrumbly and Witch hat display. There was a nice group of people enjoying time away from the craziness of the con. Jess and I were trying on hats and fascinators as well. I love Evercrumbly's millinery but it can be quite pricey. However, they are all top quality hats and fascinators. I own one Evercrumbly hat but am looking for another hat or fascinator that calls to me. Just like wands, the hat chooses the wizard. We went outside to take some photos briefly. My phone actually animated some of the photos I took of Jess and I. The animation with Jess looked awesome because it really looked like she was battling it out with her wand.

Jess and I parted ways and I attended the Herbology: The Darker Side of Herbs panel where we learned a lot about herbs that are poisonous but also about protection herbs. All attendees were able to make protection amulets at the end of the panel which I thought is a unique addition to the programming. I bumped into Seamus at that panel and we chatted for a bit while waiting in the amulet line.

I met up with Jess after the Herbology panel and we both attended the SLUG Club Meet-Up (Special Lego Users Group) which was pretty much a Lego meetup. We talked about what collections we have and which ones we want. Jill was asking me about the Lego Harry Potter games so we discussed that for a bit too. Jill had a block building contests where a volunteer will have to build a Harry Potter item within an allotted amount of time. We had two people build the Burrow and one person who built Buckbeak. Ni had their Button Pin Swap Meetup which was awesome because we got to see Ni's fabulous pin duster with so many pins! It was nice to chat about pins with other pin enthusiasts.

I ended up going back to the room since Jess and I had time prior to the Closing Ceremonies and Feast. Since we were hungry, we ended up snacking on some food before heading to the Grand Ballroom. The food was delicious with some of the best mashed potatoes I've had in a long time. I know Jess even went up for seconds for the mashed potatoes. They had really good cheesecake too. We ended up sitting with Kira, Kira's mom, Jenny and a few other people. The entertainment MISTI had that night was fabulous! GeekLifeRules had a wonderful Cosplay Cabaret where performers got into character and sung in character. We were graced with the presences of Umbridge, Lily, a 1920's speakeasy singer, Ginny and Moaning Myrtle. There was even an interpretative dance by someone representing a Thestral. Moaning Myrtle was freaking hilarious and probably one of my favorites of the show. Of course, Lawrence was up on stage serenading us.

During the Closing Ceremonies and Feast, the staff mentioned they are taking a much-needed break and they are not sure when the next MISTI will occur. They didn't want rumors spreading about how this is the last MISTI since things like that spread like wildfire on social media. However, they are taking a hiatus for now. It was bittersweet. A lot of people were very understanding but I know some people were teary-eyed. MISTI is a second family for most and it means so much to them. MISTI is a place where you can escape the Muggle world and you can embrace the magic within with other liked-minded people. MISTI is where your forge friendships and your bonds between old friendships grow stronger. MISTI helps you believe in yourself when you struggle in the Muggle world. MISTI is what a lot of people say is some of the best days of their lives. It's is euphoria!

Afterparties occurred once we were dismissed from the Closing Ceremonies and Feast. There were Disney and Broadway singalongs in the Westchester, Karaoke in the Ballroom, board games in the Common Room and people just hung out and had a good time while enjoying the last night of MISTI Everyone wanted to make the best out of the situation of not knowing if this is the last MISTI.

Jess and I stopped by the Disney and Broadway singalong first before taking photos near the Mirror of Erised. We saw Kira and a few people playing board games in the Common Room and watched Golden Snitch, Snitch Snatcher: The Quidditch Game play in action. We spotted a Badger puppet poking into the doorway of the Common Room and being the Hufflepuff she is, Jess went to greet the badger. Afterward, Jess and I then played a few rounds of Harry Potter Guess Who before heading to the Karaoke. We ended up bumping into a lot of people at the Grand Ballroom and the Multifunction room. Jill convinced Jess to sign up for a duet for the Karaoke but the line was so long. I don't think they sang until 1:00 am and they were the second to last act for the night. During the waiting period, I met up with Caroline, who I met earlier at the con, and we chatted for a bit while she was waiting for a ride. Kira, Jenny and I did a Wizard's Unite fortress battle or two outside of the Doubletree. It was a great night full of memories. Everyone was reminiscing over the amazing moments of the con but they wanted to hold on to every fiber of magic possible before returning to the Muggle world.

DAY 5: MONDAY, JULY 22, 2019

So today isn't really the fifth day of the con but it is leaving day for most people. People were tired while they were rolling out their luggage to the lobby. I saw people nodding at each other and we all knew that meant we are tired but the con was worth the sleep deprivation. We hugged and said our goodbyes before hopping into our Uber to head to the train station to head back to Boston. Jess and I went our separate ways once we got to South Station.

Overall, we both had a fabulous time at MISTI-Con. It's always a magical long weekend to escape from the Muggle world. I also have some posts on Instagram under #NicoleAtMISTICon if you want to check that out. I will cherish all the memories I made with old friends and new ones too! MISTI-Con was an unforgettable experience! If you love the Harry Potter fandom, I highly suggest you attend a Harry Potter convention or at least attend Harry Potter themed events. They invoke happiness like Felix Felicis! You won't regret your time at a Harry Potter convention.