Contemporary · Diverse · Review · Romance · Young Adult

Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

As you’re all well aware by now, I’m not the biggest contemporary reader. However, I will occasionally come across a book in that genre that sounds like it might be something I could enjoy. Luckily, that was the case when it comes to Maurene Goo’s, I Believe in a Thing Called Love.

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 thought this was a cute story. It was your typical contemporary romance full of the usual tropes that abound in that genre, but was still an enjoyable fluff of a read. I think the strongest part of the story is that because it’s an own voices story, Goo was really able to bring the Korean culture to life. I really enjoyed how everything flowed organically when it came to mentions of K drama superstars or even just what Desi and her father would cook for dinner. Usually, I would find that just to be added nonsense thrown in to the story to add some extra details to the story, but here it just felt natural.

I really liked Desi as a character. She’s quirky, flawed, and a bit of a dork. She’s basically me, haha! I loved that relationship that she shares with her father. They’re extremely close and love each other so much that they are almost competing for who looks after the other more. So, so sweet! Why can’t we have more families like this in YA novels?! As for Luca, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his. He would sometimes say or do things that came across a little self-centered and I wasn’t about that. He was just a little too worried about his “image”. However, I did like that he genuinely seemed to care about Desi, which helped redeem his character somewhat. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was kind of rooting for Desi to end up with her friend, Wes, instead. He just had a much more likable personality in my opinion.

It's about starting over andcreating something better..png

I think my biggest issue with the story was the overall premise. It’s a cute story and the characters are in high school, which should be taken into consideration when trying to figure out why Desi ever thought this was a good idea. However, in reality, this was the most ridiculous idea. You’re basically manipulating someone into falling in love with you. Who in their right mind would think that’s okay?! It’s not. It’s extremely creepy and basically stalkerish. What makes it cute on tv, is that all of these situations arise naturally between the characters. There’s no manipulating going on, just crazy random situations that occur to throw the characters together. However, when you’re purposefully creating these situations, then you’re building a relationship built on a lie. THAT’S A BIG NO-NO.

All in all, this is a cute and fluffy romance. I really liked the concept of the story, even if the end product went a bit too far. I’m also proud to say that this book finally convinced me to try out K dramas, and now I might be a tad obsessed. I only have 2 episodes left in my first show, Reply 1997. So even though this book wasn’t perfection, it was still an enjoyable read and gave me a new thing to obsess over now. 😉

Final Verdict: 3.5/5 Stars


Have you read I Believe in a Thing Called Love? If so, what did you think of it? Do you agree with the things that Desi did? Do you watch K dramas? Which ones would you recommend that I watch?

16 thoughts on “Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

      1. I held off watching the last episode for WEEKS because I didn’t want it to end and the feels were getting to me too much! Joon-Hee liking Yoon-je will forever tear me apart

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I had the same problem with this story. As cute as it was (and I’m a huge fan of Kpop culture myself) I was totally turned off my Desi’s attempt at manipulating a boy into liking her. I get that it was meant to reflect the ridiclousness of K-Dramas, but I still think Desi too things a little too far.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read this book and grew up watching many Korean dramas. So Desi’s embarrassing moments in this book and this book’s ridiculous premise weren’t surprising for me.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of Princess Hours (Goong) but I highly recommend it. I thought it was cute and funny. It’s like a Cinderella type of story. But if you’re into dramas, I recommend Endless Love: Autumn in my heart. It has all the Korean drama tropes, simply because it’s old (definitely a classic). It was my first Korean drama. I watched it when I was a child. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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