Book Review

Recommended For You

Recommended For You

  • Author: Laura Silverman
  • Genre: YA Romance, YA Contemporary, RomCom, Own Voices
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2020
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and provided voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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…

Let me start by saying that I’ve read a lot of Own Voices books, but I finally found an Own Voices book that spoke to my own experiences! It’s like a light bulb went off — this is what it feels like to see my own life experience reflected in a book, especially after reading so many inaccurate portrayals of Jewish characters, or books revolving around Jewish trauma. This book is a celebration of life, but also life as a Jewish person. 

There are so many things to love about this book that I don’t know where to start. I knew from very early on that I was going to thoroughly enjoy this book, starting with how incredibly funny it was. There were so many parts that had me laughing out loud. I’m not talking about little giggles or chuckles, but actually hardcore laughter. 

Also, the book takes place in a bookstore! Shoshanna loves books to an almost obsessive degree (like some other people I know *points to myself*), works in a bookstore, and she’s just all around awesome. She loves to talk, she rambles, and while she means well, sometimes she acts or talks before thinking of the consequences. She’s a really well-rounded character, and I love that she doesn’t start off with Jake on the right foot. 

The romance is sweet, and takes time to develop. It makes use of one of my favorite tropes — the enemies to lovers (or daters), and it’s done really, really well in this story. Shoshanna is a jerk to Jake when she first meets him, and he’s a jerk right back. But they work together, so they’re kind of forced to cooperate. And since they’re both competing for the holiday bonus, they wind up having to play nice.

As for the representation, there is a lot. There are gay characters (namely Shoshanna’s two moms, but also her friend), there are diverse ethnicities amongst her friends and coworkers, there is a disabled character (who is portrayed really, really well), and the Jewish representation is one of the best that I’ve seen in fiction. Shoshanna is a common Jewish name amongst more religious Jews, and there are Yiddish words sprinkled throughout the story. It’s set during the holidays, and it showcases the different holiday traditions that Jewish people have, which can vary from family to family. For example, Shoshanna has “Latkepalooza” on the last day of Chanukah, and I loved the idea. While Shoshanna and Jake aren’t overly religious, they are aware of their heritage and honor it. I especially loved the fact that Shoshanna specifically avoided using the word “god.” She uses the word “Hashem,” which is a Hebrew word that means “the name,” and I’ve generally seen religious Jews use it to avoid taking God’s name in vain. But I loved seeing it in a book. 

If this review sounds like I’m raving over this book, that’s because I am. I loved that it is sweet, funny, romantic, and entertaining. Books like this are definitely swaying me towards being a fan of rom-coms, and I urge anyone who likes books, romance, or comedy to check this one out. It’s totally worth it!

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