A serendipitous encounter of two teens as their lives are about to embark on two very different paths.
Have you ever come across a resume with all the credentials you’re looking for yet when you meet this prospective candidate in person, it isn’t a good fit? No? How about this: have you ever swiped right on someone who sounded perfect on paper to only meet in person and discover something was amiss? No? Well you’re one lucky person.
For everyone else, that’s how I felt about this book. Logically, it seemed to have the makings of a good read. It provided a love story with relatable themes of dual cultural identity, high parental expectations, serendipitous encounters, and alternative perspectives. On top of that, New York was the backdrop with deportation looming all around (cue current political climate, how more relatable can we get). The book was also sprinkled with Korean phrases (validated by my coworker to be authentic), knowledge on the black hair market (which is dominated by the Koreans – who knew?), and the science behind love (still don’t get it but has a lot to do with hormones). All in all, it looked promising enough to quench my thirst for relatability, new knowledge, and a feel good read.
But my heart just couldn’t get on board. The love story felt cliché: boy meets girl; boy likes girl; boy chases girl; girl finally gives in. There was more to it than that but that’s essentially the gist. The main characters, Natasha and Daniel, differ in how they approach life. Natasha is all logic – definitely the practical thinker and Daniel is all heart – the hopeless romantic. When their paths cross, Daniel tries to turn Natasha – to make her see the other side of love. She rebukes and debunks all of his hopeless ideologies with science. In true Daniel fashion, Daniel tries to win her over in a way that resonates with her – he pulls up an article published with 36 probing questions that lead to love according to a psychological study. Having read this article in the Times, I felt even more compelled to like the story.
Even with my mind willing to like the story, I just couldn’t. I can’t pinpoint exactly why but that’s the thing with your mind and heart, right – your mind thinks one way yet your heart can make you feel a completely different way. The course of events in the book take place over one day, maybe that’s what I couldn’t get on board with – the concept of love at first sight. Alternatively, the book touches on a Japanese phrase, “koi no yokan,” which means you can sense love is in your cards after meeting someone new. Either way, I gave the story a fair shot but in the end my heart couldn’t get on the same page as my mind.
Don’t let me sway your mind or heart, feel free to judge for yourself: purchase here. Don’t forget to add your email under the follow button to get notifications of the next post.