Hello and happy Monday! I meant for this post to be a little earlier, but I’m just now having the time to finish it, so here it is! I’m so excited to share my thoughts on this book: I absolutely loved reading Made in Korea, by Sarah Suk. It’s a wonderful book, and I’m going to get right into the review!
Made in Korea
Author: Sarah Suk
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Representation: Korean-American main characters and side characters
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.
I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion and my review.
All of the characters in Made in Korea are so well developed, and are all lovable!! From the two main characters, Valerie and Wes, to the numerous side characters, like Pauline, Charlie, and Taemon, I was always invested in the lives of the people I read in the book.
The plot was very fast paced, and fairly intense for a contemporary romance. This was not at all a bad thing though. It only made me that much involved in what was happening in the book, and just added to how much I enjoyed it.
I loved Valerie’s relationship with her grandmother. Valerie was so dedicated to doing what she could for her, and they had such a special bond that I just loved reading about.
Charlie is Valerie’s cousin, and business partner, and he was probably my favorite character in the book. He was always so sweet and funny. I would one hundred percent read a book from his perspective, which would be amazing.
The book is about two teens competing with school businesses and reminded me a lot of The Henna Wars, by Adiba Jaigirdar, one of my all time favorite books. The not-so-friendly competition, the absolutely adorable romance, and the drama was what turned Made in Korea into the most adorable book I’ve read this year.
The writing really contributed to how much I loved the book. There was a noticeable difference between Valerie and Wes’s chapters, and because of that the two strands of the story were easy to separate and weave together.
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.
- Sarah graduated from UBC with a major in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing.
- Her previous jobs include making bubble tea, teaching creative writing workshops, and interning with Liberty in North Korea in their Seoul office (check them out, they’re awesome!).
- Her favourite ice cream flavour is mint chip, she prefers tea over coffee, and she loves winter the best even though it’s cold and gets dark at 4 PM.
Made in Korea was a book that I had very high expectations for, and I was not let down reading it! Every moment of the book was exciting and engaging, and I loved all of the characters so much!!