Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Read an #Excerpt from Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

About the Book

Made in Korea
by Sarah Suk

Format: 352 pages, Kindle Edition
Published: May 18, 2021 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.


[from pages 110-113; Wes’s perspective]

Lisa Carol’s party was already well underway by the time I got there. It looked like everyone from our senior class had actually shown up. Pop music was blasting, and people ran around with red plastic cups filled with beer. I suddenly felt outrageously nerdy in my cardigan with elbow patches. That’s not what you wear to a party. What was I thinking?
“Wes! I’m so glad you could make it!” Lisa bounded toward me, wearing a pretty white dress, her curly red hair in a high ponytail. “Can I get you a drink?”
A drink? Oh man. I get the worst Asian flush when I drink. I basically turn into a walking tomato. I should say no. I’ll definitely say no.
“Sure,” I said. 
What is it with my inability to say no to anything?
“Great! Be right back.” She beamed and disappeared into the crowd. I watched her go, my stomach sinking.
I looked around the packed living room. Lisa had said that all the seniors would be here. There was one senior in particular I was hoping to see. Would she be here?
I’d been avoiding Valerie at school for the past couple of weeks, while I mulled over my idea and discussed the details with Pauline. Anytime I would see Valerie coming down the hallway, I would turn around and walk the other way. I wasn’t ready to see her until I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I thought I had a good idea of it by now, but suddenly, being here with the very real possibility of seeing her face-to-face, I wasn’t so sure. Something about her. She knew how to make a guy nervous just by standing next to him.
Ugh. I needed some air. Or maybe just a second to myself. I jogged up the stairs to the bathroom, but it was locked. I stood outside, bouncing from foot to foot, digging through my pocket for my earphones. I would go into the bathroom and listen to one song to calm me down, and then I would come out again and look for Valerie and say what I had planned to say. A short, three-minute song. That wasn’t too long to hide in the bathroom, right?
The bathroom door swung open just as I untangled my earphones from my pocket. I looked up to see the very person I had been trying to avoid.
“Oh,” Valerie said. “Hi.”
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. There it was. That something. What was it about this girl that caught me completely off guard? Other than the fact that she was totally intimidating, of course. Was it the way her eyes looked like they could see right through you? Or the knowledge that she was as cunning as she was smart? Or was it the fact that in all her sharpness, her lips still looked soft enough to disorient a guy?
“You all right?” she asked.
I managed to nod. “Yep. Totally chill.” Totally chill? I immediately wanted to slap myself in the forehead. Why was I such a dork?
A trace of a smile flashed across her lips. “Okay, then.”
We just stared at each other for a good ten seconds. Her cheeks grew pink and I wondered if she was thinking the same thing I was, how the air between us grew more electric every time we were together. Suddenly, the past couple of weeks of trying to dodge her in the halls felt like a missed opportunity. She made me nervous, true, but now that she was here in front of me, there was so much I wanted to say. I wanted to ask if she had heard about my sales and what she thought about it, if I was doing a good job, if the lipstick she was wearing was the same one she had used to write on my shirt. There were so many things I wanted to know about her. She made me curious.
But instead I took a deep breath and said the thing I had been rehearsing to myself for almost two weeks.
“Valerie, I was wondering if you might be interested in another bet,” I said.
“A bet?” Her eyebrows lifted in surprise, and she glanced at my chest like she was remembering Halloween. Her eyes slowly trailed back up to mine and she grinned. “Why? You want to do some more free advertising for me?”
This girl. I nearly choked on my words, but somehow I managed to get them out. “I was thinking something a little bigger than that. An all-or-nothing bet. We keep track of how much we made throughout the school year, and whoever makes the most wins.”
“Wins what?” she asked, looking intrigued. 
I swallowed hard. No going back now. “All the other person’s earnings from the year, starting now.”

About the Author

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. You can visit her online at and on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.

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