Standalone. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (May 2017) NetGalley
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 has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to 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 her answer 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 Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake 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.
Desi's flailures, failing at flirting, had me loving her from the very first chapter. After chapter two was done I audibly guffawed and put my hand on my face realizing just how much of a disaster this girl is and loving it. I knew I was in for something special.
Desi is an awkward human being who is also a perfectionist. From the beginning who learn of her mother's passing and how she set out to fix her father's unhappiness. She did all the things her mother would do so that he wouldn't miss her. After a while he was fixed. Everything returned to normal. Desi's drive to be perfect has some levels to it as you can tell by her need to fix her father. Being that level of determination on the outside makes her seem like she's a know it all, someone who's perfect at everything, and someone who people couldn't stand to be around. I would feel that way. I would probably run away from her as soon as she started talking about all of her accomplishments. By comparison I would feel... inadequate which comes up in the story consequently.
I forgot about that first chapter where she "fixed" her dad's situation. But later on her need to be perfect comes into perspective in a way where I couldn't help but want to hug her. That need to be perfect also gets her into some crazy adventures and trouble that revolves around Luca Drakos.
Luca seems like this mythical creature she wants to capture and keep to herself throughout most of her plans. Her plans being.... well to make him love her.... Kind of. Desi gets the idea of setting a goal and planning out to get Luca Drakos to fall in love with her and her the same. It sounds like one of those horrible romance plots where the girl is obsessed with the guy, which she is, but it's in an adorable way. If you've seen any K Dramas you know what I mean. And I have seen a few thanks to Netflix, my love. She does get a list exactly what K Dramas plot points are when characters meet and eventually fall in love. In between falling in love there is a lot of betrayal, one person is usually more interested in the other at certain points, and there has to be someone rescuing the other's life at one point or another. I love watching dramas like this so reading it was so much fun. So don't think the worse of the plot unless you actually read it.
One of the best things about this story is the father and daughter bond. I loved how close Desi was to her father, Luca even noticed, as did I, that she was always doing things to protect her father. She didn't want to be put in a situation which made him afraid she would be hurt but she ended up doing it anyway with her quest. Otherwise, their relationship was very mushy and sweet.
Luca took a while for me to like. He was an alright character. I just felt weird at times with how Desi was acting to get him to be her boyfriend. The list started tiring me out towards the last part of the book. I think Desi took everything too far that I didn't understand where she was coming from. The relationship didn't make too much sense to me from just her standpoint. I also wish the best friends were around more. Those relationships were awesome because her best friends were awesome. I liked what happened when they were around and what happened with a former friend.
After everything is said and done, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, has some flaws but is a wonderful story. Desi, her relationship with her father, and her realty checks really brought a great story together. Not to mention the fact that Maurene Goo can write her pants off. I'd happily read anything else she writes.