Melissa de la Cruz’s 29 Dates follows Ji-su as she gets uprooted from all that she has known in South Korea and is sent to a high school in San Francisco by her parents after disappointing them once more academically. But while she is forced to start over her senior year of high school, she’s still sent on dates arranged by one of the top matchmakers in Seoul in the hopes she will find the right partner who will help her be successful.
Ji-su’s only constant between her old and new life is her passion for photography, something she enjoys doing more than her schoolwork, much to her parent’s frustration. I appreciated the way Melissa de la Cruz shows Ji-su’s passion with the way she is almost always carrying a camera around with her, capturing memories. If she’s not carrying a camera, Ji-su is usually thinking about how she would capture an image if she did.
29 Dates is formatted so readers get a snippet of each date Ji-su has been on in Seoul and San Francisco in between her navigation through her new life, which she succeeds in despite her annoyance with her parents. While I enjoyed seeing snippets of conversation between the different dates, I wished we had more—both among a few of the dates and her supposedly growing romance with a classmate that went from acquaintances to dating relatively quickly.
Ignoring the issues in romance, 29 Dates is a quick book about identity and finding where one’s true passions are.