“Romance Is A Bonus Book” Spoiler-Free Review | Heartwarming Or Boring?  

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“Romance Is A Bonus Book” was considered one of the most anticipated kdramas of 2019. It has recently wrapped up its run and we’re here to discuss the drama in a spoiler free review.

In this “Romance Is A Bonus Book” review, I’ll go over its synopsis and many more points to help you figure out whether you should watch it or not.

1The plot

I think this is where the biggest issue with “Romance Is A Bonus Book” lies, to some the story was heartwarming to others it was boring, and with all honesty, I don’t blame either side because they both make sense.

“Romance Is A Bonus Book” is a story of a woman in her mid-thirties (Kang Dan Yi, played by Lee Na Young) who wants to work after a long career break, she took to take care of her daughter and husband. She is friends with Cha Eun Ho (played by Lee Jong Suk) since they were children.

Throughout the course of the drama, they develop from friends to lovers.

Let’s talk about the writer of this drama Jung Hyun Jung.

Writer Jung Hyun Jung also wrote “I Need Romance 1, 2 & 3.” What I like about her scripts is how beautiful and easy to quote they are, she is philosophical. This means that she writes beautifully, the characters in her dramas always have interesting deep conversations.

She also likes to focus on gender-related issues women face at work such as discrimination, stigma behind married/divorced/older unmarried women, etc. She does a good job balancing between serious and sweet.

However, her scripts are unoriginal and she does little to try to change that and that can become an issue.

Lee Jong Suk fanbase is so used to him playing interesting roles with thriller plots so the fanbase wasn’t sure how to feel about this project.

I have watched Writer Jung Hyun Jung “I Need Romance 3” and I liked it a lot, “Romance Is A Bonus Book” reminds me a lot of “I Need Romance 3,” the plot is very similar.

I haven’t seen many people mention this which is probably because not many watched “I Need Romance 3.”

Writer Jung Hyun Jung borrows a lot from your stereotypical kdrama plots book, her scripts don’t surprise anyone.

The story is heartwarming and beautiful, also insightful because the setting is at a publishing house which I found interesting, you understand how books are made, that was a sweet part.

I liked the setting of “Romance Is A Bonus Book” because I want to become a writer, however, I don’t expect everyone to love it because some just don’t like books and find them boring.

The plot takes a while to develop, its more about average people going about their daily lives rather than a heroine with a goal to reach. This drama has no antagonist, it’s all about real people and real-life issues.

This is why some called it ‘boring’ while others called it ‘soothing.’

It depends on your taste, how much of a fan are you of the actors/romantic dramas, and how patient you are.

The plot doesn’t go anywhere special for the first episodes and through the middle gets draggy and is a bit underwhelming/rushed towards the end.

There are parts that don’t make sense and parts that are mere tools to garner attention/sympathy for the main characters but the writer goes nowhere with them.




A lot of people talked about Kang Dan Yi daughter and how she suddenly disappears even though she’s supposed to be an integral part of her mom’s life. I was bothered by that point specifically because it felt like a tool to draw sympathy, I think if she had utilized the young daughter it would be so much more interesting but it would also need a lot of work.

In my opinion, with such a script a 12-episode drama would’ve been more than enough. She could have conveyed the idea she wanted to without unnecessarily dragging it because it had to be 16 episodes.

There are a lot of fillers (scenes) that if subtracted really won’t affect the plot.

I also need to mention that there is an excess of cheesy scenes that’ll make you say ‘awww’ or cringe.

2Characters and performances

Lets talk about “Romance Is A Bonus Book” cast.

Sometimes I like how Writer Jung Hyun Jung forms her characters but sometimes I find them boring.

It’s all about perspective again.

There is no bad character or one particular person who tries to deliberately make things worse for someone unless it was for a valid reason.

Sometimes they can feel boring especially if you’re looking for an intense drama. The writer also sometimes changes one of the main character traits to serve the plot to her advantage meaning that sometimes certain characters have a sudden change of mind in particular situations or happenings that given the character’s initial description feel forced/doesn’t make sense.

Yet, I like how she tries to differentiate the characters despite giving them an initial similar/stereotypical description, she does well incorporating little details into each character that helps shape it to be real-life human beings.

For example, the hot smart CEO/manager male, the sweet/hardworking female, the difficult boss, the clingy second female lead who is also accomplished, the clingy second male lead who is also accomplished.

I liked the performances of everyone, they did the best to their abilities and that’s something I appreciate. There are no rookie actors and almost everyone is experienced and has been acting for a while if not 10, 20 or 30 years.

The characters can feel under-developed and there are instances where they reach a dead end and there is only so much you could do with them (I.e. there is no more development) but they’re still sweet.

This means that to some this might be off-putting to others it might draw them closer to the characters to the point that they develop an attachment to them.

3Chemistry

“Romance Is A Bonus Book” is calm and sweet. All of the actors blend well together.

Lee Jong Suk is a huge fan of actress Lee Na Young but I liked that he was calm in front of her. Lee Jong Suk has a sweet character, usually, when he acts opposite female leads it doesn’t feel awkward unless the female lead is intentionally trying to make things difficult for him, this is why he has good chemistry with everyone he’s paired with.

Some say the main couple was the cutest, others argue the second couple was the cutest. Again, it depends on your taste.

Regardless, the characters and the actors had such a cute relationship together and blended well.

There were scenes in which they had to act as if they had known each other for so long and I know some Korean actors struggle with that aspect for a variety of reasons including respect for senior actors/elders which creates a barrier.

“Romance Is A Bonus Book” has a calm aura to it, I found that soothing. It calms you down.

There is also another cute thing, bromance, as always, because it’s a Lee Jong Suk drama.

4Should I watch “Romance Is A Bonus Book”?

It’s a 50-50; a lot of people had mixed reactions to the drama.

I recommend you watch this drama if:

  • You’re an avid fan of Lee Jong Suk.
  • Love love cheesy romantic dramas
  • Prefer slow-paced dramas that take time to play out.

I wouldn’t recommend you watch this drama if:

  • You like different action/thriller kdramas.
  • You hate cheesy kdramas.
  • You’re looking for something different.

Its all about taste again, “Romance Is A Bonus Book” did become boring but it’s still a nice experience and the kind of drama you watch to relax and unwind, it doesn’t drain your emotions. If you’re in need of a cheesy sweet soothing kdrama, I’d recommend this. If your life is currently full of drama, this is the type of drama you can watch to calm down.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, it was both boring and sweet/soothing. Except for episode 1 which was so depressing I wanted to drop the drama then and there. A nice one to unwind with. Not rewatchable, though.

  2. Oh, now that makes sense the writer from W was the same of MOA. Personally I can’t keep up with W even though I’m a fan of Lee Jong Suk . MoA was beautifully made visually speaking but unforgettable at the same time. It’s a shame cause the story is very gripping at it’s start but lack of interest after a couple of episodes. I truly appreciate so much Park Shin-Hye speaking spanish (Spain) omg I love her (I almost cry cause this is a Spanish kdrama addict wish come true lol at least for me ok) and Hyun Bin making some actions scenes was so intense.

  3. The real struggle was writing this article spoiler-free. Personally enjoyed the drama, but the ending was rather unclimactic. However, I can’t really say that because the build up wasn’t really there either. I enjoyed the cute moments. His constant and persistant love and support for Dan-I is something I find pure and beautiful.

  4. I love books and favor dramas which are realistic with no antagonist, but found this drama boring as well. Main reason is there was no sexual chemistry between the leads which made the show hard to watch when they already wanted to show romantic relationship for OTP. The supporting cast were more interesting in this drama but even their problems were too cartoonish for a show that wanted to look realistic.

  5. Well, I’m an avid fan of Lee Jong Suk but was very disappointed in this drama. They peppered this drama with so many romantic, cheesy scenes but the lack of chemistry was so glaring. I always thought LJS can build chemistry with everyone but, apparently, in this actress that he’s a fan of, the actress is the one holding back on the chemistry. There were also a lot of loopholes in the story — the biggest is it not convincing me that the female lead is really in love with her best friend. All throughout the drama, she looked like she was only using him for all the financial, emotional, physical security he could give her.

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