Young Adult

A-
Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance

Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance is a simple, sweet novel about two teenagers who share a passion for dance and manage to fall in love while tackling their worst insecurities.  Teenagers will love it and adults who enjoy sweet romances will likely be swept away by it too. Radha dreams of bec ...

A
Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing blew me away while asking some very deep and thought-provoking questions, and yet it also has a deft, gentle touch.  It is a heavy book; it hurts the reader’s heart and yet lifts them up, and will provide young readers with a signpost towards developing an understanding t ...

C
Never Say Never

For a concept as out-there as the one presented in Never Say Never, the story’s delivery and execution are distressingly ordinary.  It’s 2021 – we’re a bit beyond “I’m not like other girls, love is gross and I wear a leather jacket” heroines. Brynn Stark wants nothing to do with lo ...

A-
Any Place But Here

Any Place But Here is a strongly written, quiet little novel about realistic characters experiencing realistic emotions and going through realistic turmoil. Author Sarah Van Name handles this all with elegant and beautifully done prose. June and her best friend Jess are inseparable. They’re eve ...

A-
Sister of the Bollywood Bride

Sister of the Bollywood Bride is adorable and earnest, in the best way.  Its clear-voiced protagonist reminded me of the recently-departed Beverly Cleary’s heroines in a way, and the whole book is beautiful and easy to sink into.  It’s sure to please teenagers and/or sophisticated middle grade ...

B
A Pho Love Story

Two households, both alike in owning Vietnamese restaurants, in SoCal, where we lay our scene. Fortunately, Bảo Nguyễn and Linh Mai are brighter than their Veronan counterparts, although their situation is no less complex: their parents have bad blood that goes far deeper than a culinary rivalry ...

A
Pride and Premeditation

Pride and Premeditation hits a lot of notes that tempt me - it’s a Jane Austen retelling, a murder mystery, and an historical romance. This novel sets Elizabeth Bennett in London as the daughter of a barrister striving to prove her worth. She is the second of five sisters, and while Lizzie want ...

B
I'll Be the One

Skye is, at size 16, an average American girl - but much larger than the average Korean (something her mother will never let her forget) and downright gargantuan in the world of K-pop. Skye, however, won’t let other people’s beauty standards hold her back. Knowing she can dance and sing, she ent ...

C+
A Taste for Love

Like most Jane Austen adaptations (this one is a riff on Pride and Prejudice), A Taste For Love struggles to work some of the plot devices of the original into the modern world. While some aspects of this book are sweet, it’s ultimately underbaked. Liza Yang’s parents run Yin and Yang, a Taiw ...

B
Sing Me Forgotten

Jessica S. Olson’s well-written and impassioned Sing Me Forgotten will definitely amuse musical theater fans – if only because the book definitely reads like a gender-swapped, fantasy-tinged take on The Phantom of the Opera.  That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book – quite the contrary – but ...