Maknae’s Book Review: 29 Dates

Buzz ain’t everything. Come see what this Maknae thought of 29 Dates!

Synopsis from our friend Amazon (you can use this link to purchase the book and help support our blog!):

How many dates will it take to find The One?

Jisu’s traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Jisu’s success, and going on the recommended dates is Jisu’s compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco. Where she’ll have the opportunity to shine academically—and be set up on more dates!

Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Jisu finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Jisu into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn’t parent and matchmaker approved?

I struggled with this book. I could feel how it wanted to be a cute story told from a “fresh” perspective, but it had the hallmarks of a debut novel — shallow characterization, an overabundance of telling instead of showing in all the wrong places, and skipping over important developments in favor of moving the plot forward. I know this *isn’t* a debut novel, but it certainly felt like one.

However, despite the fact that Jisu was all over the place and the main people she interacted with had minimal layers, the core story was cute and solidly developed. After deciding not to read the book, I read the last three chapters and was intrigued enough to continue my read to see how Jisu got to where she was at the end. Happily, I was able to skim through a lot of the story and get where I wanted to be quickly.

So I would say this — if you’re looking for a light and fluffy read, 29 Dates fits the bill. If you want depth and engagement with the characters, keep looking.

Until the next page turns, I remain —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

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