Jisu's overall lack of attention to school and no effort for her future have her parents worried. To compromise with her parents, Jisu agrees to work with Seoul’s lead matchmaker to find the right boyfriend, a key to her future success. However, when she fails a test and skips out on one of her scheduled dates, her parents send her to a private boarding school in San Francisco. Now she is living in the United States to get her academics in order and continue her search to find "The one." With this new life and more freedom, Jisu discovers a passion for photography. She also becomes interested in two different boys, which complicates things, as well. Now, Jisu is unsure of what path to take and what her traditionalist parents will think about her choices.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (19):
Overall, 29 Dates is exactly what you think it will be: a typical YA romance novel with an unusual feeling of cultural stereotyping in the background. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but that doesn’t make it perfect either. The book has a lot of funny moments and is pretty light-hearted, making it a nice and easy read. The ending also had a few minor plot twists that I found to be a good way to end the story.
With the match-making concept and all the dates, the plot was interesting enough to hold my attention and kept things new and different. I also really enjoyed Jisu as the female lead with her fun-loving attitude. Her love for photography was something I found personally relatable, which is a good thing as her situation isn’t something very easy to relate to.
My biggest problem with the book lies with its portrayal of Korean culture and family. When I first read the plot synopsis, I was a little worried that 29 Dates would play too much into the “overbearing Asian parents” trope. Sadly, that is how it turned out. For me, De La Cruz was unable to appropriately explore Korean values and traditions, especially given that she herself is not from that background. The result is that overall, the book holds favoritism for American values over Korean ones, which was a little weird to read. I think this issue really is what brings this book down because it would be decent without it.
I would highly recommend reading another of Melissa De La Cruz' s works because 29 Dates is certainly one of the weaker pieces of fiction. In terms of audience, I would recommend this book for a teenage audience. If you do find yourself interested in reading, I would rent or get it from the library rather than buying it. Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
This is for readers who want a comfy, light, formulaic romance with a bit of humor mixed in.
The plot is built around several tropes common in YA literature, the most glaring of which is the “overbearing Asian parents" stereotype.
This is a fictional story that draws from South Korean culture. Our reviewer explained the author's use of Asian tropes and the problems presented by the fact that the author does not come from that culture. What does your reader think: should authors write about things they do not have personal experience with?
14 and Up
13 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 19
Borrow or skip. De La Cruz fans may like it, but it is not one of her stronger works and falls too far into the "Overbearing parents' trope.
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