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Showing posts with the label Romance

Review: Past Present Future

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Past Present Future by Rachel Lynn Solomon Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2024 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Rebecca Greer Buy at Bookshop.org This sequel to Today Tonight Tomorrow takes place as new couple Rowan Roth and Neil McNair head off to college: unfortunately, different colleges, with Rowan going to Emerson in Boston and Neil at NYU. This leaves the pair to navigate a long-distance relationship as they experience living away from home for the first time. While they enjoy their respective cities, they suffer self-doubt as they embark on surprising journeys of self-discovery. Life-long romance fiction aficionado Rowan worries she can no longer write romance now that she’s in love. Rowan has an absentee roommate she was hoping to befriend and is left wondering if she did something wrong. Neil instantly bonds with his roommate Skyler, something he’s surprised about since Skyler is popular and confident while Neil is a self-described “nerd”. Neil’s issues with his

Review: Imogen, Obviously

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Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli Balzer + Bray (imprint of HarperCollins), 2023 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Emily Roth Buy at Bookshop.org Imogen Scott is many things: a people-pleaser, a loving friend, and hopelessly heterosexual. She is a proud member of her school's pride club, but she tries to avoid centering herself in queer spaces. When Imogen visits her best friend, Lili, at college, who is newly out as pansexual, Lili admits a secret: in an attempt to seem more experienced, she told her friends that she and Imogen used to date and that Imogen is bisexual. Imogen agrees to go along with the story, but things get complicated when she starts to feel a confusing spark with Lili's charming friend Tessa, who is a lesbian. Imogen feels like she has to come clean; after all, the last thing she wants is for her behavior to be seen as queerbaiting. But what if Imogen isn't as straight as she thought she was, and what if she has years of evidence to back this up? And

Review: Eight Dates and Nights

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Eight Dates and Nights by Betsy Aldredge Underlined (imprint of Random House Children's Books), 2023 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Kathryn Hall Buy at Bookshop.org High school senior Hannah Levin doesn't want to spend Hanukkah with her grandmother in Texas instead of with her family and friends in New York, but consoles herself that it is a mitzvah to honor the elderly. The story is told from Hannah's point of view, and she tells us perhaps too much about her feelings, which change over the eight dates and nights. In this rom-com, she falls for Noah, the cute boy working in his grandfather's struggling Jewish deli in Rosenblum, Texas. He promises to make her Hanukkah magical, and each date is unique and memorable. Both Hannah and Noah show personal growth, and socioeconomic and family issues are discussed and dealt with realistically. This is a fun feel-good read, which requires only a little suspension of disbelief, suitable for a winter holiday read. It meets the cr

Review: Going Bicoastal

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Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler Wednesday Books (imprint of Macmillan), 2023 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Emily Roth Buy at Bookshop.org The summer before her senior year of high school, Natalya has a choice to make. She can stay with her dad in Manhattan, find a part time job, and maybe flirt with the Redhead she’s been running into all over town. Or, she can move to LA for the summer to live with her estranged mom, accept an internship at her mom’s marketing firm, and have an entirely new adventure.  In a clever stylistic choice, Going Bicoastal splits off into two alternate realities, showing how both of Natalya’s possible choices would play out.  In New York, Natalya does flirt with the Redhead, whose real name turns out to be Elly, leading to a very sweet romance. Natalya also discovers that she has a talent for working with children and reconnects with her mom through a two-person book club. In California, Natalya discovers a passion for graphic design and has an enemies-to-l

Review: Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl

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Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl by Brianna R. Shrum & Sara Waxelbaum Inkyard Press (imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), 2023 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Dena Bach Buy at Bookshop.org Margo Zimmerman thought she knew who she was and who she would be. She was the popular, high-achieving, fashion-loving, student council president, champion swimmer, and future veterinarian, who's dating the quarterback of the football team. That was until a game of spin the bottle sends her into a tailspin. When Margo ends up kissing a girl, she has an epiphany — she’s gay. Margo has always been well prepared for every aspect of her life, but she has no idea “how to be gay.” After failing with the advice given to her by her queer brother Mendel, Margo approaches Abbie Sokoloff, a fellow swim team member who is decidedly not one of her many friends. Uncharacteristically awkward, Margo says to Abbie “You’re gay…I want you to teach me…how to be gay.”  In this zippy, readable, queer rom-com, once A

Review: Eight Nights of Flirting

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Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds Razorbill (imprint of Penguin Random House), 2022 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Evonne Marzouk   Buy at Bookshop.org   Hannah Reynolds’ newest novel, Eight Nights of Flirting , tells an enjoyable story about a girl finding love and finding herself. Sixteen-year old Shira Barbanel is warm and loving with her large Sephardic Jewish family, but often struggles to build close friendships and connect with love interests. She definitely does not want to connect with eighteen year old Tyler, who humiliated her several years before. But unexpectedly alone together in her grandparents’ Nantucket house for the first night of Hanukkah, Shira and Tyler strike a surprising deal. Tyler will teach Shira how to flirt with her current crush, Isaac, in exchange for an introduction to advance his career. This high society story takes place in snowy Nantucket over Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years’ Eve, indulging fantasies of wealth, access and elaborate par

Review: How to Excavate a Heart

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How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow HarperTeen (imprint of HarperCollins), 2022 Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Dena Bach Buy at Bookshop.org After a bad breakup with her now ex-girlfriend, all Shani wants to do is escape to Washington DC during winter break for her dream internship: studying prehistoric fish at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. As Shani heads to DC with her mother behind the wheel, things go from bad to worse. She and her mother spend the drive arguing. That is, until their argument is silenced by a terrible snowstorm. When they leave the highway in the blizzard to head to the house where Shani will be staying during her internship, they start arguing again. Distracted, Shani’s mother doesn’t see a girl crossing the road, and hits her with the car. After making sure that the girl is not hurt, Shani can’t help noticing that she’s also very cute. Literally running into May becomes Shani and May’s, “meet cute” in this Jewish, queer, YA “Hallmark Holiday Roma

Review: As If On Cue

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As If on Cue by Marisa Kanter Simon & Schuster Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Rebecca Levitan Buy at Bookshop.org [This review is adapted from AJL News & Reviews, the newsletter of the Association of Jewish Libraries]  In her sophomore novel, Marisa Kanter ( What I like About You ) brings readers an enemies-to-lovers romance with a passion for the arts. As long as Natalie can remember, it’s been Natalie vs. Reid. Even though their families are close friends, Natalie and Reid don’t get along and are often locked in prank wars. When their school cuts the arts budget so that the orchestra, where Reid plays clarinet, gets all the money, and every single other arts program is cut, Natalie decides to show the value of other programs by putting on an original play. When their prank battle gets out of hand, she and Reid are forced to be co-directors of the play, now a musical. Clearly the two of them must learn to work together, but when things seem to be going too well, can Natalie

Review: What I Like About You

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What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter Category: Young Adult Reviewer: A.R. Vishny Buy at Bookshop.org Marisa Kanter’s What I Like About You follows seventeen-year-old Halle, who runs a popular book blog under the pseudonym “Kels” that combines her two loves: young adult literature and cupcakes. Her ability to keep her real life and her online identity separate is put to the test when she starts at a new high school attended by one of her closest online friends: Nash. Nash doesn’t know much about Halle, but he is in love with Kels. At first, Halle decides to hide the truth about her online life from Nash. But as the blog takes off, that secret becomes harder and harder to keep. Kanter excels at depicting book blogger culture and YA Twitter. The book clearly reads from the perspective of someone who is immersed in and truly understands it. That being said, the book missed a few opportunities to dig deeper. Not exploring how Halle’s privileges and personal connections lend to her succes

Review: Recommended for You

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Recommended for You by Laura Silverman Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer   Buy at Bookshop.org 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

Review: Today Tonight Tomorrow

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Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon  Category: Young Adult Reviewer: A.R. Vishny   Buy at Bookshop.org Today Tonight Tomorrow is an enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance that follows two academic rivals on the last day of their senior year of high school. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have spent much of their high school careers trying to outdo each other for the best grades and accolades. Howl, a senior scavenger hunt spread all across Seattle, is their last chance to outdo one another. However, when Rowan realizes that a group of students wants revenge on the both of them, they put aside their feud for the evening to team up. Over the course of the evening they learn more about each other, and realize that they might actually be a perfect match. This book was a fun, addictive read. The narrative has a good sense of humor and a sweet romance at its heart. Rowan and Neil’s passions and insecurities feel authentically drawn, and the game element of the plot and the 24-hour time

Review: Yes, No, Maybe So

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Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed Category: Young Adult Reviewer: A.R. Vishny This book, about two teens falling in love while working together on a local election, is a sweet, joyful read. It follows Jamie Goldberg and Maya Rehman, two soon-to-be high school seniors paired together to canvass for the Democratic candidate running in their district. Jamie, who is Jewish, is trying to shore up his public-speaking skills for his sister’s Bat Mitzvah. Maya, who is South-Asian and Muslim, is looking for a distraction from a Ramadan filled with unwelcomed changes and disappointments. An antisemitic meme making rounds in the community and a proposed law banning Hijabs force both teens to consider the best way forward to fight bigotry in their backyard. The book alternates between Maya and Jamie's points of view, with the first person narration consistently strong through out. This book’s greatest strength, however, is its cast of characters. Jamie and Maya are

Review: It's My Life

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It's My Life by Stacie Ramey Category: Young Adult Reviewer: Michelle Falkoff Jenna Cohen, a teenage girl with cerebral palsy, wants two things: medical emancipation (so she can have a proper say in decisions about her treatment) and Julian Van Beck (her childhood love who moved away and has now come back). The book tracks both her decision whether to move forward with legal proceedings against her parents and her developing relationship with Julian, conducted via text messages in which she keeps her identity a secret. While there are few surprises in how the two parallel tracks of the book progress, Ramey’s description of the Cohen family is loving and generous, and Julian is a charming romantic lead. Jenna does not come across as quite so feisty as the other characters perceive her to be, and her emancipation struggle might have been more convincing if readers were provided some additional detail about what her goals are versus what her parents want for her. She is a