Saturday, January 7, 2023

Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen - ADVISABLE

Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen, 303 pages.  Razorbill (Penguin Random House), 2022.  $19.

Language: PG (5  swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (academic cheating, teenage relationships, slight xenophobia); Violence: G



Gigi is an Asian-American high school junior who is balancing good grades, extracurriculars, and popularity, along with her parents' expectations for her. She is working with her great-aunt Rose at her traditional Chinese matchmaking service, when she gets the idea to modernize the process with an app. Gigi then uses the matchmaking algorithm to adapt a computer science project to help a new classmate make friends with a social media app called Quizlr. However, Gigi’s app is hijacked by a cheating ring at her competitive, ultra wealthy school, and Gigi's relationships start to implode one by one. Can she get it all back on track before the end of the year?

Love, Decoded looks like a rom-com but it is more about high school friendships and social drama more than any love story. This is a cute story and the conflict feels very high stakes, even though at the end of the day, it's still just high school. I appreciated the AAPI rep, however the poor v.s. the rich dynamic felt very like Jane Austen’s Emma and I was over the rich teenager first world problems. I thought focusing on Etta's story might have been more interesting and meaningful at the end of the day.

Kiera, #BookswithBeddes

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