Synopsis from Simon & Schuster:
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.
About: Made in Korea is a young adult contemporary written by Sarah Suk. It will be published on 5/18/2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, paperback, 352 pages. The genres are young adult, Asian literature, contemporary, romance, and fiction. This book is the author’s debut and it’s intended for readers ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up. According to the publisher’s website, “Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers is the flagship imprint of the S&S Children’s Division. We are committed to publishing a wide range of contemporary, commercial, award-winning fiction and nonfiction that spans every age of children’s publishing. BFYR is constantly looking to the future, supporting our foundation authors and franchises, but always with an eye for breaking new ground with every publication. We are also deeply invested in developing new talent, new formats, and new avenues of publication.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Made in Korea on 5/5/2021 and finished it on 5/10/2021 at 12:30am. This book was an excellent read! I don’t read from many Asian writers much (long TBR list) but when I do, it’s funny how easy it is to relate to at least one character within the story. Wes felt unhappy with his dad’s expectations for his future just makes me want to read the paragraph out loud to my husband and my son because they are in the same boat. The inherited glasses and height were funny too because they both have it. I enjoyed the enemies-to-lover trope. The Korean drinking game was fun! I liked that there were many Korean words in this story. Reading this book actually comes at the right time. This year, I found myself having more Korean friends/neighbors. I can’t wait to impress them with my new Korean vocabularies!
This book followed Valerie, a senior, told in the first person point of view, as she stressed over her classmates having an argument about who’s first in line to buy her Korean beauty products at her locker. She ran V&C K-Beauty, a student business project at school with her cousin Charlie because the products were actually from Charlie’s dad gifting his mom. First week of school, Valerie’s stash was sold out in minutes, but second week she found out that her favorite customers were spending their money with the new student Wes and she was pissed off. The alternating view was Wes, the new hot guy at school. Wes moved around often due to his mom’s line of work. On his first day of school, his mom tucked in his backpack the latest popular K-pop merchandise as a way to make friends but to his horror, the girls ended up paying for the lot. Wes planned to return the money to the girls when an idea started forming in his mind as an answer to his private troubles. Unknown to Valerie about Wes’ intentions, she considered Wes as her enemy for stealing her loyal customers.
Made in Korea was well written and a fast paced read. An easy light hearted read with characters like Charlie who couldn’t talk to a girl he liked, Wes who couldn’t speak up to his parents for what he truly wanted, Valerie who felt like she had to work hard to prove herself just to be good enough in her mother’s eyes, and more. I enjoyed the relationship between Valerie and her grandma. After reading this book, I want to eat some bingsu! There are some Korean restaurants near where I live so I will definitely look them up! The story flowed as I expected. Not a lot of surprises except for the high stake bet. I liked the closeness of Valerie’s family during weekends where Valerie’s cousin came to cook breakfast with her mom and older sister. A nice family, friendship, and Korean beauty products read and I recommend everyone to read this book!
Tag Lines: fast paced, easy to read, enemies to lover, humor, Asian expectations, Korean beauty products
I rate it 5 stars!
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. Made in Korea is her first novel. You can visit Sarah online at SarahSuk.com and on Twitter and Instagram @SarahAeliSuk. (Photo obtained from the author’s website and Info obtained from Simon & Schuster’s website).
More Information about Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.