I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Rating 3.5✨✨✨ out of 5
💜 💜 💜Synopsis💜 💜 💜
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.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love is on the surface my ideal contemporary novel; written by the author whose instagram stories of her cat are my obsession ✓ it’s about K Dramas ✓and has a unique premise✓
Reading about Desi’s quest for love became so addicting that it had almost the same effect as watching a k-drama (a.k.a. I finished the whole thing in one sitting). Hours flew by as I kept turning the pages to read about the next insane phase of Desi’s plan. By the time I finished reading, it was like 2 in the morning. So I’m dead tired and you know….. not critically analyzing any problematic elements that were in the book. So at first I was like…THIS IS A LITERARY MASTERPIECE. 5 STARS!!!!
However, my rating changed as I started to write this review because as I started to discuss “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” the flaws that I had originally overlooked became much more prominent.
My expectations were extremely high for this book when I first started reading it; which was kind of like setting myself up to be disappointed. You see the thing is that, I Believe in a Thing Called Love had been recommended to me as “ if you like To All the Boys I’ve loved Before series then you’ll like this” so I instantly was like, omg this is going to be my favorite book in the world (because To All the Boys I’ve loved Before series is one of my all time favorites!) .
But, it turned out to not be the case.
Let’s start this off on a positive note and talk about my favorite things about this book which are Desi and her father. I mean I love Desi on her own because she’s so funny but, there’s something incredibly special about the relationship between the father and daughter. They were very supportive and respectful of one another which is rare *at least in my experience* to see in young adult books. Both Desi and her dad were so well written that their conversations and mannerisms felt so incredibly natural, almost as if you were experiencing everything with them.
Another thing which I loved about this book, was after I finished reading I Believe in A Thing Called Love I felt like I had learned more about the Korean culture. Throughout the book, readers get to learn more about Korean television, language, food, customs, etc., all while seeing the point of view of Desi; who tries to bridge being an American teen while still appreciating her culture. The author, Maureen Goo, also does a really good job explaining Kdramas to those who may not be familiar with them. In the back of the book, there’s a section of drama recommendations for newbies, which I thought was a lovely touch for people who are looking to watch the shows mentioned throughout the story.
Now let’s get into my least favorite part of the book, Desi’s Kdramas-cliches- that -can be -used- to- get-a-boyfriend list. Obviously, this list is what makes I Believe in a Thing Called Love a super funny book; but I just can’t overlook some of its problematic elements either.
Obviously, I won’t talk about my least favorite aspects of I Believe in a Thing Called Love as in depth as I could; because if you read it, I don’t want to ruin for you the experience of reading a book for the first time.
The biggest problematic element, in my opinion, were some of Desi’s tactics to get a boyfriend ( who was as bland as oatmeal and forgettable)
were extremely dangerous! Like I know that this was done because Desi is attempting to re-create a kdrama in real life and that on any show that you watch there is some kind of conflict ( i.e mortal peril brings the love interests closer).
My face while reading her “staged car crash”
But, not at any point in the book did anyone say “ Desi that was really dumb and could have killed you. You are grounded!” Also, this behavior totally contradicts how smart Desi is supposed to be in the book!!
However, even with all of these flaws, I still wouldn’t tell you to not read I Believe in a Thing Called Love! This is because I really enjoyed most of it; due to its fast-paced plotting & its conversations between characters which are adorable. In the end, all I wanted was more accountability for Desi’s actions and less Luka.