Hi friends! I’m beyond excited to be participating in the official blog tour for Recommended For You by Laura Silverman! This has been one of my most anticipated reads since it was first announced, and it absolutely exceeded by already-high expectations. As a Jewish reader, there are few things that make me more excited than #OwnVoices Jewish rep in YA. Read on for a bit more info about the book before I get to my (extremely glowing) review!
AUTHOR: Laura Silverman
CATEGORY/AUDIENCE: Young Adult
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
RELEASE: September 1, 2020
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books
LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
SYNOPSIS: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets You’ve Got Mail in this charming and hilarious rom-com following two teen booksellers whose rivalry is taken to the next level as they compete for the top bookseller bonus.
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…”
Shoshanna Greenberg has always loved her part-time job at the local indie bookstore, Once Upon, and recently it’s become even more of a safe haven for her–a break away from the fighting between her moms that’s been getting harder and harder to ignore. When Shoshanna’s boss announces a bonus for the employee who sells the most books during the holiday season, it’s a welcome distraction and a possible solution to some of Shoshanna’s woes (atleast to the financial ones!). But new hire Jake Kaplan also has his heart set on the bonus. As holiday season and the competition between Shoshanna and Jake gets more intense, the two start to get closer–and realize there might be more at stake than a holiday bonus.
Let me come right out and say it: I absolutely, whole-heartedly adored this YA contemporary rom-com, and I can promise you’ll see it on my ‘best of’ lists come the end of 2020. Recommended For You has everything I love: own-voices Jewish rep, romance, rivals turned lovers, a diverse cast, a wintery holiday background, and a bookish setting.
As a librarian, I’m a sucker for any book with a bookish setting. Shoshanna’s love for books was utterly palpable and Once Upon truly came to life: the shelves, the holiday spirit, all of the booksellers and regular customers. Recommended For You truly captures the community and family dynamics of indie bookstores. I especially love that this novel touches on all the different types of readers: romance readers, fantasy readers, graphic novel readers, audiobook readers, and so many more. All forms of reading are treated as valid throughout the book, which I love to see! So many readers (myself included) will see themselves in this book and wish that Once Upon was a real bookstore just so that they could visit and never ever leave.
This delightful read has a ton of great content woven into it, but it definitely at its core is a romance. Our two main characters, Shoshanna and Jake, are both Jewish, and I love that Laura Silverman highlights how this shared experience informs the connection between them. Shoshanna is a fun, quirky, genuine character who is constantly bursting with enthusiasm over her love of books. Her love interest, Jake, is sarcastic and isn’t quite as book-obsessed. Jake’s mostly just at Once Upon because he needs a job, and he and Shoshanna get off on the wrong foot when she accidentally shames him for not being a bookworm. I loved seeing Shoshanna and Jake go from being newly introduced coworkers to total enemies to mutual crushes! Fans of enemies to lovers, workplace romances, and competition/rivalry-based romances will adore this one.
Shoshanna and Jake were a joy to read about, but there were also so many other characters I fell in love with, from Once Upon’s owner to Shoshanna’s aspiring beauty-guru BFF. Like Laura Silverman’s previous novels, Recommended For You has a diverse cast. In addition to Shoshanna and Jake being Jewish, there are a number of nuanced characters of all different identities. Shoshanna’s mothers, as well as a couple other characters, are queer. Several of Shoshanna’s close friends and/or coworkers are BIPOC, and there are multiple disabled characters. I’m a queer Jewish, biracial Asian-American reader, and while I cannot speak to the authenticity of the other forms of rep, I’ll definitely say that I felt affirmed and seen by this delightful book. I especially loved that this book also has diverse family structures, including queer families and single-parent families; I also think it’s really valuable that this novel touches on parents who are experiencing relationship problems and trying to make their families work.
The pacing of Recommended For You is spot-on, and as the story progresses through the holiday season, I couldn’t wait to find out who would win the competition and get the holiday bonus. The wintery, holiday setting felt so whimsical and made me want to curl up with hot chocolate and a blanket. This is absolutely the perfect winter read, and would make an excellent Hanukkah gift! The romance between Shoshanna and Jake is lighthearted, sweet, and fluffy–this book could definitely be enjoyed by younger and older teens alike.
If you haven’t already figured out how much I adored this book, let me be clear and say it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read all year, and I know it’ll find a special place in teen readers’ hearts. Will I be recommending this book to literally everyone I know? Yep. Will I be buying a copy for my library’s collection? Without a doubt. Will I be hyping it up at my library and online? Uh, yeah. Will I be listing it as one of my favorite reads of 2020 come the end of the year? Heck yes. I’ll be recommending it to readers who liked Marisa Kanter’s What I Like About You as well as fans of Rachel Lynn Solomon, Kristina Forest, or Jennifer Dugan. Recommended For You is a love letter to all of us book nerds–the kind of love letter that we’ll keep hold onto forever, and never forget.
Laura Silverman is an author and editor currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her MFA in writing for children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, and Recommended for You. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection. You can contact Laura on Twitter @LJSilverman1 or through her website LauraSilvermanWrites.com.
KEEP UP WITH LAURA: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour! See the schedule below.
|8/24/2020||Kayla Reads and Reviews||Author Q&A|
|8/25/2020||Drizzle & Hurricanes Books||Review|
|8/26/2020||Bookishly Jules||Book Highlight w/ Giveaway|
|8/27/2020||The Heart of a Book Blogger||Creative Post (Mood Board)|
|8/28/2020||YA Indulgences||Creative Post (Top 10 List)|
|8/31/2020||The Book Bratz||Review|
|9/1/2020||Reading, Writing, and Me||Author Q&A|
|9/2/2020||Paper Procrastinators||Book Highlight w/ Giveaway|
|9/4/2020||I’m All Booked Up||Review|
|9/7/2020||From the Library of Alexis||Review|
|9/8/2020||Curlyhairbibliophile||Book Highlight W/ Giveaway|
|9/9/2020||Awkwordly Emma||Author Q&A|
|9/11/2020||Books. Libraries. Also, Cats.||Review|
|9/15/2020||Utopia State of Mind||Author Q&A|
|9/17/2020||Lost in Book Land||Review|
|9/18/2020||Rants & Raves of a Bibliophile||Review|
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the free review copy, and for including me on this tour!