By: Cait Marie
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 was really looking forward to more by Maurene Goo after loving Somewhere Only We Know, so I finally jumped in with one of her earlier books. While I enjoyed it a great deal, it unfortunately didn’t capture me as much as I’d hoped.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an adorable, fun book. I absolutely loved the premise, and the style of writing was easy to get into. For the most part, I even loved the characters.
After analyzing a bunch of K Dramas, Desi thinks she has the exact steps needed to get her crush to fall in love with her. This is such a cute idea, but the execution was a little cringy at times. I know part of the plot centers around the fact that she takes things too far and too literal, but there were more than a couple things she did that came off as… borderline psychopathic. It’s one thing to want to stage a bonding moment over an incident; it’s another to cause an actual car accident. On purpose.
Like I said, the book is still really cute. But Desi is extremely manipulative and so focused on her goals that she doesn’t see how wrong some of her actions are. And just when you think, “Oh, she learned her lesson and will grow from this,” she pulls a bigger, more ridiculous stunt. Even near the end of the book when you’d expect those shenanigans to be over, it gets worse.
If you’re looking for a quick-paced, light YA romance, you might enjoy this. I am still going to try her other books, but this one didn’t even come close to Somewhere Only We Know.