cover image I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Maurene Goo. FSG/Ferguson, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-30404-1

Desi Lee, 17, is a smart, ambitious, and athletic Korean-American girl headed toward becoming valedictorian, then to Stanford to study premed. Desi excels at pretty much everything she puts her mind to—except landing a boyfriend. Her best friends, Fiona and Wes, have coined a phrase to describe Desi’s haplessness: “Flirt + failure = flailure.” But when Luca Drakos, 17, shows up at school, Desi turns to the serialized Korean TV shows (“K dramas”) that her father is forever watching. Taking notes on the series’ romantic formulas, Desi creates a blueprint to winning Luca’s heart, with steps that include “Find Out the Guy’s Big Secret, Preferably Through Excruciatingly Repetitive Flashbacks” and “Reveal Your Vulnerabilities in a Heartbreaking Manner.” Desi’s plan launches her down a path that’s as cringe inducing as it is hilarious. The art-centric romance that develops between Desi and Luca is rewarding to follow, as are their parental relationships, particularly that between Desi and her widowed Appa. Goo (Since You Asked...) simultaneously honors and deconstructs romantic tropes, both in general and specific to K dramas, and does so using a wonderfully diverse cast. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (May) [/em]