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.
Title: Made in Korea
Author: Sarah Suk
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
I loved our two main characters, Valerie and Wes. They were complete opposites from one another which made things that much more exciting. Valerie is laser-focused on her business and considers Wes and his rival company the ultimate threat. So she’s cold, and distant, and ruthless. While Wes, on the other hand, is sweet, and kind, and so generous. It was so fun to see how these two ended up where they did at the end even with their polar opposite personalities.
I especially loved seeing how they solved their problems and developed as individuals throughout the book. Suk allowed each character the opportunity to solve their own issue while supporting the other character with their own trial. I was so glad beginning a new relationship didn’t solve their problems. They had to work through their problems individually instead of just being the solution to each other’s issues.
Also, I briefly just wanted to mention that this book talks a lot about familial expectations. Val and Wes both have problems that relate to their family and who they think they want them to be. I think there will be many teens and adults alike who are feeling the same feelings as Wes and Val, or have felt them at some point. It’s a very relatable book for those who have ever felt like they’ll never live up to familial expectations.
The side characters were also so great! And Suk did a seamless job of integrating these side characters into the main plot without taking the focus away from our two main characters.⠀They were fun and dramatic and contributed to the success of Val and Wes.
Overall, I was really happy with this book! The competitive rivalry was fun, the romance was sweet, and the lessons were enlightening and emotional. This book had it all!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
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.
One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.a Rafflecopter giveaway