LOVE, DECODED, by Jennifer Yen, Razorbill, March 8, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
A teen uses her matchmaking skills to help classmates find friends in Jennifer Yen’s new YA rom-com, Love Decoded
High school junior Gigi Wong strives to be the best. After all, that’s what everyone expects of her — her parents, friends, and even potential colleges. Thankfully, her best friend, Kyle, is always there to listen with a smile and a delicious bowl of ramen. Still, with her future — and her dreams — on the line, how is she to stand out when her classmates seem so perfect too?
Her answer comes in the form of an app writing contest. If Gigi can secure the nomination to represent her school, she has a chance at a prestigious tech internship. That’s sure to get her applications noticed . . . All she needs is a winning entry.
When transfer student and new friend Etta confides that she’s struggling to fit in, it gives Gigi an idea. What if she takes what she’s learned from shadowing her aunt Rose, a professional matchmaker, to create a fun friend-making app? Perfect!
When Gigi’s app goes viral at school, she’s the center of attention — and a major scandal. She never meant to hurt anyone, let alone Etta and Kyle. Can she save all she worked so hard for and the relationships that mean so much to her? —Synopsis provided by Razorbill
Love Decoded is a rom-com that should appeal to fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon. It’s heartfelt and sweet without being overly saccharine. Author Jennifer Yen knows her audience and plays well to YA sensibilities.
However, if you’re looking for a book that’s heavy on the romance elements, then Love Decoded may disappoint you. Yen, instead focuses on Gigi’s personal growth and her relationships with a number of friends and her family. The “romance” part is more of a sub-plot, slow-burn type thing that works really well in this setting.
Love Decoded is lighthearted and entertaining. The book was inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, and if you’re familiar with it, then you’ll recognize parallels, including the slow-to-romance theme, throughout.
Copyright © 2022 Cracking the Cover. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.