Hello awesome readers. Today I’m reviewing a contemporary romantic comedy about feuding Jewish teenage booksellers set in a mall around Christmastime. Does that ring any bells? It’s going to be released in just a couple days, but you can pre-order today, Recommended for You by Laura Silverman. This was a really sweet book and overall I would recommend it to people interested in young adult romances. Especially if you like books set in a bookstores or libraries. There is some good diverse representation in this book, more than I was expecting and handled in a respectful way. This book meets the requirement for one of the prompts in the Celebration of Color Challenge I am participating in! Now onto my full review:
Author: Laura Silverman
Category: Young Adult, Teen Fiction, Bookshop/Library Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Rivals to Romance, Clean Romance, Diverse Representation, Disability Representation, LGBTQ+ Representation, Holiday fiction.
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 4 Stars
Format Read for Review: Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
This is a romantic comedy about two Jewish teenagers who work in a bookshop in the mall. There is a huge bonus up for grabs for whichever employee can sell the most books by Christmas. Shoshanna feels she desperately needs the money in order to fix her car and therefor everything else going wrong in her life but Jake is giving her a run for her money. They’ll both have to get creative to try to be the one to sell the most books. They also have to figure out how to be co-workers and work together with such a strong rivalry between raging between them.
I liked the characters and the dialogue in this book. Especially Shoshanna’s friends. Some of the best characters were the supporting characters. In the beginning, Shoshanna was a bit too much for me. She seemed too quick to get into other people’s business and take it upon herself to make choices for them and try to fix their problems, and then when she made mistakes she didn’t do much to fix her mistakes. What I didn’t like about this book, a lot of other people might. It’s not out of fashion in the young adult genre for the main character to be so full of energy and emotion. By the end of the book, she had definitely grown as a person and grown on me. When she stood up for people with disabilities you can tell that despite her occasionally selfishly driven choices she is a good person with a kind heart. As irritating as it is, it’s also relatable how she had good intentions but things often didn’t go as planned. I didn’t like the initial pace of the love story but I’m glad I stuck it through to the end because that turned into a really nice story. All of the characters had more and more depth and some had nice development as the story went on. There were even a lot of things to think about, and a lot of themes that teach you not to judge others, and not to judge situations you don’t know the details of. I thought the diverse representation was handled with respect and showed a variety of people with unique struggles and backgrounds.
The love story is cute but progresses at a quick pace. At times I thought it was a little over the top and cheesy but that could just be me. Some of the hi-jinks were funny or at the very least shocking. Most importantly I liked the couple and think they could work together, so it wasn’t completely unbelievable. I’m not usually a fan of the enemies to romance type stories and this one did seem off at times but in the end, I think everything came together.
I liked the Jewish representation. Seeing Shoshanna enjoy the parts of her culture and traditions that bring her joy was a treat to read. This would be a fun book to read during the holiday season. It would also be a great Hanukkah gift for lovers of YA romance.
There were a lot of interesting side-stories in this book that gave it unexpected depth. It was an exciting, fast-paced, quick read that had a lot of ups and downs, and some surprising plot twists. Overall enjoyable with a strong conclusion.
At times it was difficult and stressful to read. Her moms fight a lot and put a lot of pressure and responsibility on her for her age, and then they gaslight her and ignore the clear signs of depression she shows. I’m glad in proper romance fashion this book has a happy ending because there sure are some struggles along the way that Shoshanna has to get through first. There were a couple of plot holes but I’m going to assume that was because I received an ARC from Netgalley and the final copy may be different.
Trigger warnings: Parental Fighting/Divorce.
Reviewed by O
Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.
When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.
Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.
But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…
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