ARC Review: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Posted May 17, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  Made in Korea by Sarah SukMade in Korea by Sarah Suk
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 18, 2021
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: five-stars
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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. 

My Review:

So once again a book has made me have to try food. Like I needed to try the Hi-Chews after they kept talking about them. I even went out the day I finished the book to a nearby Asian market to see if I could find them. Alas, they did not have them, and now I will probably have to order some from Amazon.

But it was more than the food, I really adored this book. I loved the characters. They were perfectly what a teenager is, at least the ones that I work with at my school. And I liked how just one little change or apology didn’t necessarily mean that two people would then be perfectly in love. This had a lot of realistic details in it.

So many things happened that I wondered if they would come back in the end to cause more drama or issues, and I was right, they did! I kept thinking the whole way through that if they’d been smart, they would have combined their stores and then split all the money. But of course teenagers don’t always think that way. Especially Valerie and Wes, who have their own personal and family issues that they are thinking about. Things that as a teenager, seniors in high school especially, you feel are the most important things in the world.

Another way this was very realistic is that even when things kind of were talked about in the end, one character knew that just talking would probably not necessarily make things better in their family. And then the other family had one parent that kind of came around, but you could tell they still weren’t 100% on board with the idea of what their child wanted.

Finally, I loved all the cultural aspects of the story. While I didn’t take the time to look up some of the foods in this one, since I was speeding through the story because I wanted to know how it would end and couldn’t stop, I have a feeling since I have a physical copy of this one that I’ll be going back to look those things up at a later date. This will be a wonderful addition to my library as well as one I can’t wait to recommend!

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6 responses to “ARC Review: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

  1. You never had Hi-Chews? Huh. And your Asian market didn’t have them? I hope you get a chance to try them soon. I liked this book too. The story was very sweet, and you know, I have a thing for grandmas

    • Lisa Mandina

      I have not! I was a little disappointed when the Asian market closest to me wasn’t even being run by an Asian, is that wrong? I will probably end up ordering on Amazon. I also love fun grandmas! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s a type of candy, I’m not sure exactly, but now I need to try the after she kept talking about them. Of course once I googled it, I immediately started getting ads for them on Facebook. LOL. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    My daughter loves, loves Hi-Chews and with our large Asian community here, even the local grocery stores carry them. I’m so happy you loved this book–the culture is one I personally love and can’t wait to dive into again while reading this book.

    • Lisa Mandina

      The school where I teach has a large Asian community, so I probably need to look for a store closer to where I work instead of where I live. 🙂 Good to hear a good recommendation for them. Hope you get to read this one soon!

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