29 Dates
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?

29 Dates Details

Title29 Dates
Author
ReleaseDec 18th, 2018
PublisherInkyard Press
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

29 Dates Review

  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 StarsJisu was devastated, when her parents shipped her off to San Francisco in hopes that she could perform better in an American school, but they may have given her the greatest gift, since her new environment did yield some stellar results.• Pro: Jisu was easy to like and root for. My heart broke, when her whole life was uprooted, but I admired the way she took it in stride, and also commended her on fulfilling her filial duties. Beside being under the standard pressure to get into Rating: 3.5 StarsJisu was devastated, when her parents shipped her off to San Francisco in hopes that she could perform better in an American school, but they may have given her the greatest gift, since her new environment did yield some stellar results.• Pro: Jisu was easy to like and root for. My heart broke, when her whole life was uprooted, but I admired the way she took it in stride, and also commended her on fulfilling her filial duties. Beside being under the standard pressure to get into an Ivy League school and earn top grades, she also had to go on a myriad of blind dates, which she did with a more or less open mind. • Pro: The dates were interesting. They were presented to us in a transcript format, and what I really liked was the way they paralleled something happening outside of the dates, as well as being a catalyst for Jisu's growth and change. She had discovered a lot about herself during these dates, even if she never happened to find "the one". • Pro: I adored Dave, and thought the chemistry and dynamic between him and Jisu was fantastic. One of my favorite scenes was when Jisu met his mom. Totally couldn't wipe the smile off my face. • Con: There were some really fun parts in this book and also, a lot of things I really enjoyed. I wish more of these things had been included. There were some times when the mood shifted, and it sort of made the story drag a little. • Pro: It's really difficult for a teen to leave her friends, but Jisu was lucky to find such a great squad in San Francisco. I especially loved Hiba, who was fierce and not afraid to speak her mind. • Pro: Jisu's grandfather was a most precious human. I loved and adored him so much, and was grateful that Jisu had such a phenomenal ally. • Pro: The ending went in a direction that left me with a smile on my face. I was really happy with how de la Cruz finished Jisu's story (even if I wanted an epilogue, too)Overall: A story of growth, change, family, friendship, and finding your passion, which was thoughtful and satisfying.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
    more
  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued when I first saw 29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz since I don’t know much about Korean culture, and the story sounded super cute. It tells the story of a girl who goes on dates set up by a matchmaker, and I loved reading about each of her 29 dates. The main character is also enjoyable, and I would say that this is the perfect pick-me-up.Full Review on The Candid Cover
    more
  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Rating ~2.5Man I really wanted to love this book. Because I want to support books that have minorities in lead roles. But it just never clicked with me. Most of the book felt like a hollowed out K-drama with all the ridiculous family dynamics, but none of the heart. It often felt too rushed and too easy, rather than authentic. The book was a light, quick read, but it was very predictable. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad book, but it isn’t particularly good either. *More detailed review to come*
    more
  • Safiya A. Mannan
    January 1, 1970
    I have one question: why was it necessary for a non-Korean to write about a Korean and criticize Korean culture while she's at it? According to the author's note, the author is Filipino-American, learned about seons from a Korean friend, and dedicated this book to her Korean sister-in-law. The author states that seons typically take place during or post-college, but she says in the author's note, "as an author of fiction, I've taken some liberties with this practice."You cannot take "liberties" I have one question: why was it necessary for a non-Korean to write about a Korean and criticize Korean culture while she's at it? According to the author's note, the author is Filipino-American, learned about seons from a Korean friend, and dedicated this book to her Korean sister-in-law. The author states that seons typically take place during or post-college, but she says in the author's note, "as an author of fiction, I've taken some liberties with this practice."You cannot take "liberties" with a culture that's not yours. It doesn't matter if you have friends or family-through-marriage of that culture. That's going out of your lane, and I'm disappointed that an author of color would make this mistake, given how much people of color already have to deal with in terms of appropriation and fetishization.The nuance that this book would require is incredible. Jisu is Korean-born-and-raised, goes to a good Korean high school, and has hardworking, rich parents who adhere to strict cultural values, such as matchmaking and good grades. There is no way for a non-Korean to understand what the culture is like, much less understand how it is for a person who grew up in South Korea to suddenly move to America and go to a new school. Even I know this, and I'm South Asian.Jisu and many of the other characters criticize Korean culture a lot. There is the "jansori" Jisu constantly mentions, and then the constant criticism of the seons and her parents' expectations of her grades. Yes, it's pretty much a universal Asian thing for parents to expect nothing less than a 110% from their kids, but cultural differences affect that a lot! You can't criticize a culture that's not yours. Maybe the author wanted to be authentic and show how much resentment Asian kids have towards their parents and culture (as an Asian-American kid, I testify), but I'm not going to understand how it is for a Korean kid and a Korean kid isn't going to understand how it's like for me. Same rule applies here. A Filipino-American can't write about Koreans. This goes for any culture, really. I'm pointing out what I see here.The thing is, you can tell how awkward the writing is. The code-switching is unnatural and both Jisu's criticism and love for her culture seems forced. She talks too much about feminism and expectations and how much she misses home and her friends. Even her descriptions of the food is clunky, and it's especially noticeable because the description of the Filipino cuisine that comes up because of Austin is so, so much more authentic. I don't get why the author couldn't just write about Filipinos to begin with? If she was going to take liberties with Korean culture anyway, then why not.write her own and take liberties with it?If we're talking about the actual writing, it was strange. I don't understand why Jisu was so critical of "teens" when she was a teen herself. It was the wrong mindset for a teenager. And then there's Austin, who has no chemistry at all with Jisu, yet gets pulled into this insta-love thing that is too confusing. And while I love Dave, I don't see why it was necessary to even give him a girlfriend when Sophie basically had no screen time, not to mention the fact that the author made a big deal out of Jisu choosing a Korean in the end. All of it was forced.There's also the fact if Min and Euni. Aside from their naming (is Euni supposed to pronounced according to Korean romanization or the way the 'Eu' in Eunice is pronounced, given that's her full name) and did the author purposefully give Min a monosyllabic name and why? They seemed like promising friends, but we barely get to meet them before Jisu gets shipped to America and get only bits of texts from them. I can't even feel sorry for Euni's accident because I don't know her.This reminds me— the whole plot with Jisu getting shipped to America was so stereotypical and sudden. She sneaks home late and wakes up to her parents handing her tickets and saying she's taking the afternoon flight to a new country, where she'll live for the next year. It doesn't make sense at all. And then we get absolutely nothing about how Jisu feels adjusting to new life in San Francisco (which is impossible anyway, given that the author isn't Korean).I'm all for diverse casts. If there had been a Filipino MC and a Korean side character or even a love interest, it would be fine, but a non-Korean writing a Korean MC just doesn't work. Had this book been written by a Korean, I think it would've worked really well. If the author had written about Filipinos instead, it would've been even better, but you can't win everything, I guess.This book was just a whole mess. I was looking forward to read ALEX AND ELIZA soon, but after this book, I don't think I can read anything else from this author. It'd just make me uncomfortable. I'm a bit upset at this turn of events, but it is what it is. I hope the author sticks to writing about Filipinos from here onwards.
    more
  • Laura Altmann (laurabookish)
    January 1, 1970
    29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz is an adorable romantic comedy that's sure to elicit many giggles from its' readers. However, the book lacks the depth required to be truly memorable, and like many within its' genre, falls into the trap of silly twists and unlikely happenstance in its' second half.This book tells the story of Jisu, a talented photographer and student of one of South Korea's most elite high schools. While Jisu is happy to float her way through life, spending time with her friends a 29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz is an adorable romantic comedy that's sure to elicit many giggles from its' readers. However, the book lacks the depth required to be truly memorable, and like many within its' genre, falls into the trap of silly twists and unlikely happenstance in its' second half.This book tells the story of Jisu, a talented photographer and student of one of South Korea's most elite high schools. While Jisu is happy to float her way through life, spending time with her friends and snapping pictures, her parents have big dreams for her. Not only do they want Jisu to secure a place in a top university, they also want her to find the perfect boyfriend; setting her up on a series of blind dates with wealthy and eligible young bachelors. However, when Jisu continues to show preference for fun over study and long term planning, her parents intercede by sending her across the world to attend an American high school. Once there, Jisu meets two boys who have a big impact on her life and her world view. There's Austin, a cute and laid back surfer who really isn't the girlfriend type, and Dave, who starts out as a good friend to Jisu, though part of her secretly hopes for more. Ultimately, 29 Dates is not a bad book, though it wasn't for me. Jisu is firmly established to be a member of the upper class, her parents give no second thought to providing her with first class plane tickets or a private school education. This isn't something that interested me, or something that I find relatable. After reading the first few chapters, I was concerned that the book would be some kind of Korean Gossip Girl, however, Jisu's wealth doesn't play as much of a role in the story when she arrives in America. From there, the book is fairly typical high school fare, following Jisu through crushes, dates, and university applications. There are a lot of cute and funny moments, and I think this book will appeal to fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before or Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda. However, there were a couple of minor plot twists near the end of the book that really lowered my opinion of 29 Dates as a whole. I won't give away any spoilers, but I will say that parts of the ending just felt silly.
    more
  • Kristy Mauna
    January 1, 1970
    I think Melissa de la Cruz is a fantastic author who has done wonderful things to bring more diverse books to teens.. But I'm not sure how I feel of her writing a Korean (not even Korean-American) MC with a detailed Korean background. I'm not Korean so I can't speak on how well of a representation this book was so I'm not going to. A lot of moments did feel a bit jarring for me as a reader, though. It was like watching a kdrama but without the heart and love poured into the story.(One of the cha I think Melissa de la Cruz is a fantastic author who has done wonderful things to bring more diverse books to teens.. But I'm not sure how I feel of her writing a Korean (not even Korean-American) MC with a detailed Korean background. I'm not Korean so I can't speak on how well of a representation this book was so I'm not going to. A lot of moments did feel a bit jarring for me as a reader, though. It was like watching a kdrama but without the heart and love poured into the story.(One of the characters is Filipino-American, and honestly that one chapter spent with his family, THAT was the heart and love I wanted to feel from Jisu and her family.. But I just didn't?) "Don't ignore your passions. Don't ignore that voice in your head. You know, the one that talks with your heart. If you ignore something like that long enough, it'll eventually explode and just make a huge mess!" This book is light, fun, and a quick read.I DID enjoy the main character a lot. She's the reason why I read until the end.The friendships were fun. The romance was kind of a mess, to be honest. One was unnecessary and the other felt rushed. It was kind of a bummer since I think as an author it was supposed to come across as a romantic comedy, but sadly the romance just didn't work for me. I was only rooting for Jisu to fall in love with herself above everything else.This book just wasn't for me. I believe some readers will definitely enjoy it, though! <3
    more
  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    Jisu is about to start her last year of HS when her parents sent her to San Francisco. There she will focus on school, get great grades and get into a great College. I must say that school in Seoul sounds horrible, Jisu thinks so too. And at the same time she wants those good grades because that is what ger parents want. As for her parents, evil! They just said pack your bags, you are leaving tonight! But San Francisco is great for her. She gets to be more on her own. She finds new friends, she Jisu is about to start her last year of HS when her parents sent her to San Francisco. There she will focus on school, get great grades and get into a great College. I must say that school in Seoul sounds horrible, Jisu thinks so too. And at the same time she wants those good grades because that is what ger parents want. As for her parents, evil! They just said pack your bags, you are leaving tonight! But San Francisco is great for her. She gets to be more on her own. She finds new friends, she gets to take more photographs without her parents telling her to study instead.Of course one of the keypoints of the book is the matchmaking thing she is part of. Her parents wants her to find a good boyfriend, with good parents, and he has to have a good future. So she goes on dates and we take part of horrible ones, nice ones, but no amazing ones.She continues these dates in SF, and she also crushes on a classmate.I liked Jisu. She was at her best when idiot dates annoyed her. She sure knew how to speak back.I also really want to try Korean food! Why can't someone open a restaurant!? It was very YA. Cute, fun and everything working out in the end.NarratorI liked her Jisu voice. It made me want to be friends with her. And her Austin, omg I could so see him before me
    more
  • Barbara Senteney
    January 1, 1970
    Ji-su is a 17 year old girl from Seoul Korea. She is about to begin her last year of high school, but her grades are not up to her parents standards. During the summer she has been ordered to go on Dates, arranged by a matchmaker hired by her parents. One night she decides to cancel a date and go to a club with friends to see a bunch of bands. When she comes home her parents break the news, she must go to America where she might excell in the laxed atmosphere and without the distractions of her Ji-su is a 17 year old girl from Seoul Korea. She is about to begin her last year of high school, but her grades are not up to her parents standards. During the summer she has been ordered to go on Dates, arranged by a matchmaker hired by her parents. One night she decides to cancel a date and go to a club with friends to see a bunch of bands. When she comes home her parents break the news, she must go to America where she might excell in the laxed atmosphere and without the distractions of her friends. The dates were mostly ordinary, with a bunch of rich entitled children/boys. I found the story ordinary, though easy to read, seemed like it suited a much younger audience then YA. I was bored, but this is just my own opinion. The story was far to young and slow paced for me. It kind of just sits there although Ji-su was interesting, most of the male characters were pretty much carbon copies.
    more
  • Renee Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    "I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review"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 "I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review"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? This book was something different for me to read and I really enjoyed it. Learning about a different culture is something I find really interesting and this book taught me more than I expected.Jisu I found hard to like though, I found her way with people was a little rude and off at times and never resolving her issues with her parents exceptions and what she wants to do with her life had me a little frustrated. In saying that it could be a cultural difference that I can not relate too. The side characters I didn't have much thoughts on either with this book so I felt like the characters for me was lacking when it comes to finding interesting and wanting to read more about. In saying that I did breeze through this book and did enjoy it and I am glad I read it. I ended up giving this book a 3.75 stars out of 5. I am a person who has to be able to like the characters in the book to really enjoy it and having Jisu the way she was just made the rating lower for me. I still intend to read more of `Melissa de la Cruz novels because I can see myself really enjoying other books she has written.
    more
  • Sherry
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsWhat I most enjoyed about this book is that it allowed me to learn more about Korean culture through the lens of the dating misadventures of a teenage girl.The 29 dates referred to in the title are seons, meetings set up by a matchmaker to see to introduce a couple with proper social backgrounds in hopes that they will hit it off. Jisu doesn’t really want to spend time looking for a potential boyfriend; she’s got enough on her plate with finishing high school and applying to college. Ho 3.5 starsWhat I most enjoyed about this book is that it allowed me to learn more about Korean culture through the lens of the dating misadventures of a teenage girl.The 29 dates referred to in the title are seons, meetings set up by a matchmaker to see to introduce a couple with proper social backgrounds in hopes that they will hit it off. Jisu doesn’t really want to spend time looking for a potential boyfriend; she’s got enough on her plate with finishing high school and applying to college. However, her parents insist that she needs to both excel in school and make an advantageous match. When Jisu does poorly on an exam and skips a seon to hang out with her friends, her parents ship her off to San Francisco in hopes that she will do better in a good but less academically rigorous school. Jisu begins to spread her wings a bit in her new environment, but she still feels a lot of pressure to be what her parents expect in a good daughter. And that includes continuing to go on the dreaded seons, even though she already is interested in another boy. Or maybe two boys . . .The author isn’t Korean, but she consulted with a Korean family member who came to the US as a freshman(!) in high school, and it shows in the book. Jisu’s experience coming to the United States and adjusting to a very different culture felt real to me. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two countries through Jisu’s eyes. (De la Cruz does admit to fudging on one aspect of Korean culture, though; the people who participate in seons are typically in college or older.)In a nice touch, transcripts from the seons are included between other chapters. Some of them are hilarious disasters, while others are just examples of the awkwardness of a blind date between two people who are only compatible on paper. Readers looking for a diverse YA rom-com should give this book a try. It’s a fun light read. A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
    more
Write a review