I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Author: Maureen Goo

Series: N/A

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Release Date: May 30th 2017


Two Stars

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“I believed, and still believe, that you can build your dreams brick by brick. That you can accomplish anything with persistence.
Even falling in love.”

Desi has a plan for everything, including her future which involves being accepted into her dream-school Stanford, the only thing she can’t plan for is love. Despite an embarrassing first encounter with the new boy Luca, an encounter which involves her sweatpants falling down in front of him and the entire school, Desi works out how to turn her flailure (flirting failure) around with the help of the K Dramas her father watches.

When I first read the blurb for I Believe in a Thing Called Love it sounded like it would be a fun read I’d really enjoy, a YA contemporary about a girl falling in love with the help of K Dramas, sign me up. This book started out all right as well, seeing Desi fail in the romance area of her life was amusing, and I loved reading her interactions with her father and two best friends, but when she started following her list I started not enjoying the story and I even started hating Desi’s character.

“Like everything else, Luca could be won over with some good old-fashioned planning. This renewed sense of order propelled me up the stairs to grab a notebook. I might be a flailure in love, but I was the motherf-ing boss of studying.”

Using her “K Drama Rules for True Love” Desi goes after Luca with a tried and tested formula that never fails in the K Drama series she watched for research purposes. Fake car crashes and fake love triangles are how Desi gets Luca to notice and start falling for her, but it’s not too long before Desi realises love isn’t something that can be scripted like it is on the TV.

*Spoilers for I Believe in a Thing Called Love below*

I don’t understand how Desi justified some of the things she did following her “K Drama Rules for True Love”. Maybe untying the boat so it floats out to sea can be justified as her not realising just how serious the repercussions could be if they drifted too far, and the same can be said of her pulling Luca into the pool not realising he can’t swim, but she actually causes a car accident which injures both of them and I don’t understand how that’s seen as OK. I feel like there could be legal repercussions with putting nails in the road where any car could run over them, but there’s never any consequences for Desi. She gets the guy and he forgives her too easily (in my opinion) even after he realises all the danger she’s put them in, how she nearly killing him three times, and pretty much manipulated him into faking in love with her.

*End of spoilers*

…The Characters

“This plan is making every feminist hair on me stand on end.”
“Whatever, Fi. Feminism isn’t just one thing. Me taking control of my love life is totally feminist.”

Desi started off as a great character with a lot of positive traits I really thought I’d be able to root for. I loved her relationship with her father, and how passionate she was about her future and getting accepted into Stanford. Desi believes there is nothing she can’t do if she puts her mind 100% into it, and when the book first started I did enjoy her putting that focus into Luca as well.

*Spoilers for I Believe in a Thing Called Love below*

One thing I really hated about this book was how she threw away her chance at getting accepted into Stanford for Luca, even after everything we’d been told about important that school was to her. She seemed too unfazed about missing her interview and missing her shot at her dream school all because she chose to drive to the hospital with Luca to check up on his mum.

Also what message is this sending to young girls who may chose to pick up this book? Cause potentially fatal accidents and give up on your dreams and you too can get the guy like Desi does?

*End of spoilers*

“In all my crushing, in my obsessing, in all my scheming…I hadn’t known this person had existed in front of me all along. Not just cool artist-rebel Luca. But kind, deeply empathetic Luca.”

I’m not sure if Luca was supposed to come off as a ‘bad guy with a heart of gold’ character in I Believe in a Thing Called Love but that never seemed to fit with me. I loved seeing him help Desi with her sketches when she was obviously out of her depth, and I loved how passionate he was about art but he could seem kind of pretentious about it at times as well. Luca doesn’t get on with his father at all, and I would have liked to see that relationship explored more because when we finally meet Luca’s father instead of making Luca more sympathetic he just looks like a whiny teenager.

“You cannot control who you love, Desi, but you can always control how hard you fight, okay?” His eyes crinkled with his grin. “Yes, you did a bad thing, but not so bad you cannot explain it and have him forgive you.”

The relationship between Desi and her father was one I loved reading. After losing her mother at a young age Desi’s father is concerned about his daughter, and she worries about worrying him needlessly knowing he still remembers the phone call that told them her mother had passed away. Her father supports Desi’s dreams as if they’re his own, and he never judges her or looks down on her. The two have a really close relationship and while Maurene Goo’s books aren’t for me she does write brilliant parent/child relationships.

I do seem to be in the minority when it comes to not enjoying this book. I Believe in a Thing Called Love has a great concept, and there was a lot of positive representation as well, it just failed in the execution because I couldn’t get behind a character who made the choices Desi did and got away without facing any repercussions for her actions.

What did you think of I Believe in a Thing Called Love? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

15 thoughts on “I Believe in a Thing Called Love

  1. Wow it definitely sounds like the things Desi does are so not ok. I don’t like when characters like that end up with the guy in the end tbh- cos it just doesn’t seem right. And shame Luca didn’t come off well either. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, it seems like it was rewarding the things she does, and in my mind sends the message that it doesn’t matter how reckless your actions are as long as you get the guy in the end (and in this case it wasn’t even that great a guy either). :/ Thanks though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Beth!
    I haven’t read this book yet though it’s been on the back of my mind. Reading your review, I don’t think I would enjoy this book either. It does sound silly the kind of things that Desi ended up doing to get the boy of her dreams, and I also wouldn’t like the fact that she gave away her chance at Stanford for a guy. Thank you for the honest review! As much as I like reading positive reviews, I also like reading negative reviews because they help me off-load my TBR! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t say I’d recommend this one Sophie (though I do seem to be in the minority when it comes to it so you never know, you could end up really enjoying it). Yeah her actions trying to get Luca and keep him as her boyfriend just seemed to go against everything else about her character, and the Stanford thing annoyed me more than anything else because in a way it kind of sends a sucky message that it’s OK to give up on your future dreams for a new high school romance (at least that’s how I read it). That’s all right, and yeah I wish this had been one I’d off-loaded from my TBR list. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s good to know! I am glad to hear your honest opinion even if most people liked this book. Judging from your review I don’t think this will be a book that I will like either!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I never read this one but for a bit of time I overlooked it because the cover. It didn’t catche my eyes at all. But after some times I decided to add it to my to-read list.

    Iaccidentaly read the spoiler, but it wasn’t so big for me. And about that: I would have screamed. And also for a thing like that? Don’t know if it was a life and death situation, but in another case… just ugh. I’m one of the biggest representative about the: chose your future not people that can’t stay with you because you want to have a life XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the cover does kind of fade into the background, I think it’s because of all the grey, it doesn’t stand out from all the other books on the shelves does it?
      Oh sorry about that, but yeah I think as far as spoilers go it wasn’t a major major one of anything. This book would have been better if Desi had had that frame of mine I think. She spent too much time worrying over getting a boyfriend than she did her future. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this book sounds really problematic, that’s such a shame, it had great potential to be a fun, fluffy kind of read, but everything Desi does and fake car crashs and wow, that’s not okay at all :/
    Thank you so much for sharing this Beth ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I Believe in a Thing Called Love is NOT a book I can recommend to anyone. There was a lot of potential, and I love the idea of the MC using Korean dramas to help make someone fall in love with her, but there was just too many problematic aspects that I was wondering how Desi thought her actions were OK.
      That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting. I’ve seen this at the library and have been curious but haven’t read it. The protagonist sounds a bit unthoughtful, pulling people into pools and such! (I suppose there’s an argument that this is something many teens would do without thinking much about it though?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard some good things about Maurene Goo, and obviously there was representation in this book so I figured I’d give it a go but honestly I can’t recommend it to anyone at all. Maybe the pool thing is something other teens would do, but not causing a car accident. Plus we were told the MC was supposed to be really smart, and everything that happened in this book seemed to go against that, even the pool thing if I’m being honest.


  6. K this sounds creepy and problematic, and purposely causing a car accident is definitely not okay. Also, if your partner was really supportive of you, they’d understand you going to a super important interview. They’d help you find a way for both things to happen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah exactly, like I get in the book the MC didn’t mean for it to be a serious car accident but in my mind causing any kind of car accident is a major no-go. This book was just bad in my opinion, while I was reading it I was wondering how I was supposed to root for the main character when none of her actions made any kind of sense at best, and were incredibly problematic at worst.

      Liked by 1 person

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