*We received this book in exchange for an honest review.*
High school senior Valerie Kwon runs K&C K-BEAUTY, her school’s number one student-run business, with her cousin Charlie. Valerie’s goal is to save enough money to take her beloved halmeoni to Paris (and maybe show her mother that she’s worth as much as her successful older sister). But when Wes Jung arrives at school and begins selling K-BEAUTY products of his own, Valerie’s business is threatened. Little does she know that Wes is desperate for the money himself— he wants to pursue music in college and his parents disapprove. So when their businesses overlap and customers are at stake, the two make a bet: whoever earns the most profits by Prom keeps the entire pot. What’s better than a little healthy competition to turn these competitors into maybe something more?
First of all, we love anything K-pop/drama/beauty related, so we were *all in* for this premise! Throw in the prospect of a good enemies-to-lovers trope and we were invested.
We loved Valerie as a main character. She was definitely not one sided and had amazing drive. While others may have found her cold and calculating, we loved seeing the motivations for her intense business drive. She was a boss businesswoman and wasn’t going to let any new kid stand in her way! We were so proud of her for sticking up to her mom and sister. We found Valerie’s struggle for perfection to be so relatable.
And Wes! He was a dream and one of the sweetest YA love interests we’ve seen in a while. He truly had a heart of gold, and while this was an enemies-to-lovers trope, he wasn’t the usual dark and brooding love interest we usually see. We were glad Suk wrote Made in Korea from a dual POV— seeing Wes’s side of things helped us understand his motivations. We loved that he also stood up to his parents. This was definitely a book about two teens coming into their own and we loved that aspect of the plot!
Finally, the romance! It was adorable. While Valerie was tough as nails, we loved seeing her warm up to Wes. Wes helped her realize she was more than just her business and in return she pushed him to see just how good he was at his music. They made each other better and that was the best part of their relationship!
Though we’re glad Wes and Valerie eventually stood up to their parents, we did have a hard time reading their scenes at home with their families. Valerie’s mom was so hard on her, as was Wes’s dad. We wanted to stand up and protect our little babies, ha! Though, we are glad Valerie had that heart-to-heart with her sister. We also would LOVE to have a halmeoni like Valerie’s. She was amazing and we’d definitely go to Paris with her!
We thoroughly enjoyed the ending— it was like a nice pretty bow on top of a present! We liked how everything wrapped up nicely, though we’re sad we won’t see more of Wes. We will definitely be picking up Suk’s next novel!