Review: Recommended for You

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

Category: Young Adult
Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer

From its adorable title to its meet-cute, race-against-the-clock plot, and (mostly) happy ending, Recommended for You by Laura Silverman is a fun, enjoyable romp that deploys several holiday rom-com tropes to good effect. Shoshana Greenberg and her new coworker Jake at the local bookstore hate each other on sight, but predictably, end up falling in love. The stakes are raised with a book-selling competition, tension between Shoshana’s parents, Shoshana’s efforts to save enough money to fix her much-needed car, Jake’s efforts to raise the funds needed to visit his father, and a well-intentioned gesture by Shoshana to help a friend, that is not received as she had hoped it would be.

Shoshana’s relationship to Judaism feels somewhat cut-and-pasted - a little Yiddish here, some latkes there - and the pieces are mismatched. Perhaps it’s my own limited exposure talking but I don’t know any mostly-secular Jews who say “thank hashem.” And set in a “mid-size city 90 miles south of Atlanta,” it is surprising that there is little mention of the likely Christian dominance there or how that would affect Shoshana and her family.

Similarly, the diversity of the cast of characters feels a bit forced. Shoshana has two moms. The brown-skinned bookstore owner uses a wheelchair and another character has “low vision.” Shoshana’s friends are Black (Daniel), Latina (Geraldine) and “brown skinned” (Cheyenne) and one is gay (Cheyenne). These characters feel more like they are there to tick off items on a checklist than add to the story.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book with Jewish characters that will certainly appeal to fans of Young Adult romance.

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Reviewer Rachel J Fremmer is a lawyer-turned-elementary-school librarian. She is a native New Yorker and lives there with her husband two daughters, ages 15 and 12, who are rapidly outgrowing her area of book expertise. She loves baking and doing crossword puzzles.