rankly 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.
Valerie Kwon, an Asian American High School Senoir has her final year in the bag as an student entrepreneur running V&C K-Beauty out of her locker. She and her cousin are selling Korean beauty products and have the corner on the market, until a new boy named Wes threatens their edge. Wes wants more than anything to go to music school and he needs a new instrument while Val wants a dream vacation for her grandmother. Both require money and both students are willing to go out to get it.
Made in Korea shows the cut throat efforts these two are willing to employ while addressing familial expectation and loss of the ideal dreams. I enjoyed Wes’ personality and kindness he shows to Val in the beginnings. As a reader, it was difficult for me to keep up with all of the Korean terms and a glossary or guide may be a useful tool. Overall, I hoped Val would come to a little but more of a realization of how selfish and laser focused she was, the ending left me a bit sad. There is hope from the adult mentors in their life and the power of hard work. My favorite chracter is the older, wiser halmeoni (grandmother). She is a gem! It’s good to see healthy family influencesin YA.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Perfect fo AAPI Heritage month, diverse characters.
Content: “F” word, lying to parent, stealing, counterfeit product.
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. You can visit her online at sarahsuk.com and on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.