Thank you so much TBR and Beyond Tours, along with the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way. You can click the tour banner below to check out the rest of the tour!
Title: Made in Korea
Author: Sarah Suk
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 18th, 2021
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school. There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris. Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover… What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor. Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for. But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
Made in Korea is like one of those fun rides at the amusement parks. The one that makes you feel giddy inside and messes with your thoughts.
I found this book very different from the previous contemporaries I’ve read. Being an Asian myself, I could relate to a lot of the struggles Valerie and Wes were going to through at home, and I don’t think any book has nailed that so perfectly for me. I loved how all the characters had their flaws and each of them dealt with it in their own ways.
Reading a contemporary that wasn’t very cheesy and warm, and actually had more serious conversations than expected was something I really admired and you don’t see that in a lot of books. It was a breath of fresh air and it felt extraordinary.
The ensemble of characters drew me into the story, and I connected to all of them, side characters included. They each had different journeys that were so inspiring to an extent that I started rooting for all of them. Charlie and Taemin probably had the most interesting personalities and even if they tend to be bit all over the place, it’s what makes them more realistic.
“When you choose the path of an artist, nothing is promised, but everything is possible.”
Valerie is a passionate, driven, and independent young woman, who can sometimes lose herself too much in the competition. Once she sets her mind to something, she’s going to accomplish it no matter what. Wes, on the other hand, is a softer, more passive person, but his determination levels up with Valerie’s. He has ambitions of his own, for which he will work very hard and put in all that he has. I loved their character development as they come to terms with each other and boy, was I a happy mess by the ending. I couldn’t stop grinning.
Valerie’s halmeoni (grandmother) is my favourite character in this story. She’s so supportive of her granddaughter’s aspirations and is just a fun sprit to be around. Her relationship with Valerie is so sweet and special, and my heart swells every time I think about them.
Everything about this book stood out to me and I couldn’t put it down! The plot is exceptional and the writing is fabulous. Definitely recommend this to everyone!
Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.
Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.
And that’s a wrap for today! Have you read Made in Korea? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!