Book Review

Book Review: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Sarah Suk
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 18t, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.


I really liked this on audio and recommend that avenue if you love audio books like I do! Easy listen and quick to move through.

The unique setting with high school businesses is what initially drove me to pick this one up. It was one of my favorite parts of the book. I think it would’ve been cool if my school had offered opportunities like that. This was a unique high school contemporary plot.

Wes was my true hero. He was adorable and such a cinnamon roll. I love his shy self, and also the side of him that learned to stand up for his passions and choices. He exhibited the most growth over the story and his relationship with Valerie was precious. Valerie I struggled with because she was intensely stubborn until almost the very end. By then I was over the whole scenario and it created some unnecessary drama. It felt like enemies to lovers with only one person thinking they were enemies.

Lots of great learning topics too. From sibling rivalries and demanding parents, and having to prove yourself over and over again. I liked a lot of these conversations too because it felt true to the YA nature of the book and reminded me of many things I went through in high school too.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a grandparent with Parkinson’s

Instagram || Goodreads

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