Book review | Made in Korea by Sarah Suk


Author: Sarah Suk

Genre: YA romance

No. of pages: 336

Published by: Simon & Schuster

Published on: 18th May 2021

Format: eBook

My rating: ★★★★★

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.

Playlist to accompany Made in Korea by Sarah Suk 
For Valerie Kwon, nothing is more important to her than her Korean beauty products business—V&C K-BEAUTY that she runs along with her cousin Charlie and has been the most successful student-run business in her school. Valerie's goal is to make enough money to take her halmeoni (grandmother) to Paris, and proving to her mother that she's more than capable than her older sister.

Her business runs smoothly until the new student Wes Jung shows up. Wes accidently sells out a popular K-pop boy band's merch. And he has an epiphany that he could use this money to pursue a career in music that his father is absolutely against. But in this way, he finds himself standing against a pretty but an absolutely serious student entrepreneur—Valerie Kwon.

Now it's an all-out war between Valerie and Wes. But as they are pitted against one another, they slowly realise that there might be more than just rivalry between them.

Made in Korea moodboard

This book HAS MY HEART!! It's been so long since I read such a good Young Adult romance. Valerie and Wes' rivals to lovers journey is absolutely swoon-worthy. And not only that, I love how Valerie is the absolute boss lady in the book and Wes is the one who's high-strung. It makes their relationship so adorable.

Made in Korea not only explores the student business scene in high school, but also complex family relations. Wes' strained relationship with his father, because of the expectations hovering over him and Valerie's relationship with her mother because of the constant comparison with her ideal older sister, are all too real as it can be when you see how Asian families usually are.

For 300+ pages, author Sarah Suk builds up Valerie and Wes' competition-cum-relationship, giving us a umpteenth moments to feel the tension between them and absolutely go feral when these two didn't understand that they are actually in love with each other. I loved how they both have a very distinct personality. And not only them, every secondary character, including Charlie and halmeoni, gets their special characteristics. BTW, I absolutely loved Charlie! He's my favourite character in the book.

Add Made in Korea into your TBRs ASAP!! Especially if you are into K-pop boy bands or K-beauty products. It will definitely bring you closer to the book!

I think Wes is capable of being anyone's book boyfriend. He's a classic nerdy-but-cute male protagonist. His social awkwardness, his overthinking nature and his adamancy to follow his passion for saxophone makes him such a likable character. Wes' charm is the opposite of Valerie. She's portrayed as the absolute bad-ass, will-bring-anyone-down-if-they-challenge-me character who might get onto your nerves sometime but you can't help but admire her strength and tenacity (just like Wes did).

Charlie needs a special mention in this section because he's the fun, dorky, ever-supportive cousin who is absolutely smitten by a classmate but is unable to confess his feelings. Every Charlie moments in the book were super fun to read and I absolutely adore him (did I already mention it before?)

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. Made in Korea is her first novel. You can visit Sarah online at and on Twitter and Instagram @SarahAeliSuk.

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


Popular Posts