“Quick Pick” is a blog feature that makes it easy to pick your next book. It’s also a perfect way for librarians & other educators to learn about a book and who to recommend it to. Think of it as a condensed review highlighting a book’s major themes & why it’s worthy of a spot on your (or your student’s, library patron’s, or friend’s) TBR.
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Title: The Jasmine Project
Author: Meredith Ireland
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, romance
Release date: September 7, 2021
Synopsis: “Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.
But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.
The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.
But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.”
- Family: Jasmine has a big, racially diverse family that feels fleshed out and bring so much humor to the story. As a biracial Filipino-American reader, I especially enjoyed the scenes featuring Jasmine’s Filipino-Italian family!
- Romance: Jasmine’s story is full of swoony romance, and with three different guys competing for her attention, each reader can root for their preferred love interest! This book is very much about following your heart and being open to finding love even when you’re not looking for it.
- Self worth: After several years in a bad relationship, Jasmine struggles to recognize her own self-worth and value. A big part of the story is her healing from the relationship and learning that she deserves good things, with the help of her family and friends advocating for her.
- Life after high school: The novel follows Jasmine during a pivotal summer after her high school graduation, as she prepares to study nursing like her mother–even though she harbors a secret love of cooking and a dream to study culinary arts in Paris. She struggles to admit what she really wants and is afraid of disappointing her family, which are themes that will resonate with many teen readers.
- Change & growth: While this is a romance, it’s very much about growing and falling in love with yourself! Jasmine undergoes a lot of change and growth in many ways: learning to see her worth, rekindling old friendships, getting more in touch with who she is outside of her romantic relationships, and finding ways to chart her own path even when it’s scary.
- Characters: This is definitely a character-driven book, and at the helm is a loveable protagonist with passions, dreams, and insecurities that make her feel so real! All the supporting characters–Jasmine’s friends, family, and love interests–each are fleshed out and multi-dimensional. Readers will fall in love with Jasmine’s silly, loud, big family.
- Representation: I really appreciated seeing such a diverse cast, especially within one family. Jasmine is an adopted Korean-American, with her mother’s side of the family being Italian-American and her father’s being Filipino-American. Jasmine’s older sister is Filipino-Italian, and her younger brother (also adopted) is Dominican-Laotian, with several queer family members as well. Representation among Jasmine’s friends and love interests include Black, Chinese-American, biracial Indian, and more.
- Humor: This book had me laughing out loud! As a librarian, one of the most common requests I get is for funny books, and you can bet I’ll be adding this to my go-to list of recommendations. Jasmine is a klutzy, goofy character with a big, funny family, and the shenanigans they all get into made this such a delightful read.
- Mixed formatting: This book is interspersed with text message conversations among Jasmine’s family (without Jasmine, of course) as they plot the secret Bachelor-style contest, including arranging “accidental” encounters with the contestants. The text message conversations were really entertaining, and it helped to break up some of the chapters since this book is a somewhat longer read.
- Unique set-up: Because of the text message conversations mentioned above, the readers know something that Jasmine, the protagonist doesn’t! I found this to be such a unique element, because we get to be in on a secret with the other characters. Part of the fun of this book was wondering if/when Jasmine would figure out what was going on, and how she would react.
- Love “The Bachelor” or other dating contest-style reality shows!
- Enjoy books with vibrant supporting characters and hilarious, big, meddlesome families
- Are looking for YA books that represent BIPOC, multiracial, adopted, and mixed-family representation.
- Adore relatable, awkward, and funny teen protagonists.
- Are seeking contemporary teen romance with a strong voice and a fresh, unique plot.
- Enjoy books about foodies & featuring food descriptions!
- Don’t mind a thick book–at 400 pages, it’s a little long for a contemporary YA romance, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker!
- Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- Dating Makes Perfect by Pintip Dunn
- 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Have you read The Jasmine Project or added it to your TBR?