Disclosure: I received a review copy of I Believe in a Thing Called Love from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo • contains 325 pages • published May 30, 2017 by Macmillan Publishers • classified as Romance, Humour, Contemporary, Young Adult • obtained through Pansing Books • read as ARC • shelve on Goodreads
A funny young adult novel about a Korean-American girl who uses K-Drama techniques to snag the boyfriend of her dreams.
Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and never had a B. But in her charmed school life, there's one thing missing—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a known disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet.
When the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides it's time to tackle her flirting failures. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has watched obsessively for years — in which the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten.
Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos. All's fair in love and Korean dramas, right? But when the fun and games turn to feelings, Desi finds out that real-life love is about way more than just drama.
For the most part, I actually enjoyed I Believe in a Thing Called Love. Though, I must admit, I’m not into K-dramas, I still loved the cultural aspects. There are a lot of similarities between East and Southeast Asian cultures, so many aspects of Desi’s way of life felt familiar to me. However, her levels of being a control freak far exceeded that of anyone I know or have met. That’s exactly where hilarity ensued because things went way over the top with her.
Desi was so awkward and regularly embarrassed herself around boys she liked, she couldn’t picture herself finding love. Then the idea struck her that she should study Korean dramas to determine a blueprint for romance to follow. Naturally, that made I Believe in a Thing Called Love predictable on many fronts. That’s why the charm of the characters became doubly important.
The relationship Desi shared with her father exceeded that. On the flip side, her friends felt rather sidelined. As for Luca? I have a thing for artistic characters, but I wish there had been a bit more to him. Luca was a generic brooding, misunderstood love interest. Since the story was built on clichés, I expected the characters to rise above that. Sadly, they didn’t.
Also, part of me felt uncomfortable about Desi manipulating someone into liking her. Nevertheless, that’s the whole premise of the book, so I concede that it was inevitable. With that, I tried to let my discomfort slide. Armed with a massive of suspension of disbelief, I Believe in a Thing Called Love was hugely entertaining. I kept wondering how far Desi would go, and whether or not she would draw a line at some point. At the end of the day, you’ve got to admire that amount of dedication Desi had to achieving a goal.
So, to sum up I Believe in a Thing Called Love had its flaws but it made me laugh so hard. I much enjoyed the father-daughter dynamic, and I found comfort in reading about a character balancing two different cultures.