review: i believe in a thing called love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo is a YA contemporary romance about a Korean American teenager named Desi Lee, who is pretty much the nerdy, popular, Little-Miss-Perfect in high school. I was expecting this book to be a typical cliche YA novel with cute gushy romance, and it did turn out to be one, but unfortunately it wasn't in a good way.  I'm rating this book 3 stars.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Firstly, i'd like to point out that this book is just probably not for me. Perhaps i didn't read this at the right time, but I think i've probably gotten over this genre. I do think that rom-com or contemporary romance lovers might still really enjoy this book. It did have some To All The Boys I've Loved Before vibes, so fans of Jenny Han's books may also like this.

I think the only thing I enjoyed about the book was the writing. It was very easy to get into, and despite all the other problems that i had with the book, the writing was decent enough to make me keep on reading, and I ended up finishing it within just half a day.

I thought the idea of the plot was pretty interesting; coming up with a list of steps based on Korean dramas to get your crush? Cute. Unfortunately, i couldn't stand Desi's character and what she was actually willing to do to get her crush, Luca, to like her. Most of the things on her list were ridiculous, and made her look very desperate and immature. Judging from her perfect grades and all her trophies, she was supposed to be smart. Everything she did ever since she had the whole K drama list idea was just far from being clever and I have a huge problem with this inconsistency in her character. It kind of gives off the message that love makes you stupid, which to an extent might actually be true, but in this case she wasn't even really in love with Luca at first. In fact, she only met him once before deciding she wanted him to be her first boyfriend, and it seemed that she wanted to have a boyfriend only because she was about to graduate high school without ever having one. Nope, not liking this message.

Luca's character wasn't that likeable either. Every time he was being a jerk, it was NOT cute nor attractive and I just get so frustrated at Desi for being so into him. And i can't believe Desi's best friends could support any of her ridiculous attempts to get Luca to like her. Some of her ideas were dangerous and immature, she could have hurt someone.

 I don't mean to sound harsh, but I feel like the author tried a bit too hard to make the story interesting. It just became very dramatic and unrealistic and made the characters seem desperate and annoying. It did have some good and cute moments, but for the most part it was frustrating to read. I finished it so that i could find out if there was anything good that i could take from the book. Thankfully there was; the moral of the story was basically learning that you don't need to manipulate people or change yourself drastically to make people like you, and if they still don't like you for who you are, then perhaps they're not worth it anyway.

The K drama element in the book was actually pretty great. I haven't watched that many K dramas myself, but I have a sister who is obsessed and from the dramas that i have watched, I can see why a lot of people are into it. The only character in the whole book that I actually liked was Desi's K drama-obsessed dad. He was the only one who eventually pointed out how stupid Desi was being, and i really, really appreciated that. I guess this shows that Maurene Goo intentionally wanted to write about an immature and naive character, but it still doesn't make it less frustrating to read. I also appreciated seeing the father-daughter relationship, reading about how much they both meant to the other.


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2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.