Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger

Jasbir, a.k.a. Jazz, has always been a stellar student and an obedient, albeit wise-cracking, daughter. Everything has gone along just fine — she has good friends in the “genius” program she’s been in since kindergarten, her teachers and her principal adore her, and her parents dote on her. But now, in her junior year of high school, her mother hears that Jazz was seen hugging a boy on the street, and goes ballistic. Mom immediately implements the Guided Dating Plan, which includes setting up blind dates with “suitable,” pre-screened Indian candidates. The boy her mother sets her up with, however, is not at all what anyone expects; and the new boy at school, the very UNsuitable hottie, is the one who gets Jazz’s blood boiling. When Jazz makes a few out=of-the-ordinary decisions, everything explodes, and she realizes she’ll need a lot more than her genius education to get her out of the huge mess she’s in. Can Jazz find a way to follow her own heart, and still stay in the good graces of her parents?

  1. I’ll start off by saying that I didn’t love this book. That said, I don’t in general care for YA romance (with obligatory riotous hormones), unless there is some huge mainstage adventure with life-and-stakes, so take my opinion with a pinch of salt.
  2. Jazz is slightly shallow, pumped with HORMONES, and full of well-intentioned but terribly through-through plans. Actually, I take that back. Her plans aren’t thought through at all. Jazz’s schemes are as precarious as the Bollywood films she pretends to dislike – or the romance novel stories she devours.
  3. Reading what comes next as she makes bad decision after bad decision is like watching a landslide. It keeps barreling downhill, and you can scream all you want, this thing is not going to stop until it hits the very bottom. And then some.
  4. Which is to say, you will probably cringe because OF COURSE everything is going to go wrong for Jazz, but it is also entertaining watching her scheme madly to fix everything. Maybe landslide is the wrong simile: maybe successive chemical reactions is an apter comparison, with an enthusiastic scientist adding a pinch of this and a pinch of that to settle the solution, and every time, creating a new explosion.
  5. Which is maybe what you get when you mix meddling in other people’s love lives with an unhealthy does of self-interest.
  6. Jazz really is trying to make things better. Really.
  7. Fortunately or unfortunately, her Auntie Kinder is Jazz’s new target: the goal being to set auntie up with her first love, meaning auntie and her daughter will be safe from her abusive ex-husband, and meaning that Jazz will have proved to her parents that unsuitable love matches are the way to go.
  8. Although this is a story about teenage romance, the mid-life romance is a large and significant subplot; though this is a story about getting the boy, most of the characters are girls and women who support each other: Jazz and her best friend, Cindy Reda-Rodriguez; Cindy and her sisters and their mom; Jazz’s mom and Auntie Kinder; Jazz and Aunt Kinder and Aunt Kinder’s daughter.
  9. Enter a surprising number of unsatisfactory male characters, who range from abusers to cheats to boys trying to manage as best they can… as well as a few gems in the form of love interests and good friends.
  10. In happier news, there is a background interracial gay couple (both MOC) with a happy ending.
  11. If you’re looking for a teen romance novel with a starring cast of (primarily) Indian characters, you might give this a shot.

2017 LGBTQ YA Releases

2017 LGBTQ YA Releases

I’ll be honest – this month’s romance theme is a tough one for me. I don’t typically read a lot of YA or MG, and there isn’t usually that much romance in picture books. However – when I’m not singing songs with toddlers, I’m one of the co-chairs of the BC Library Association’s LGBTQ Interest Group. […]

Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

Review: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

“Look at how pretty you are!” Mum exclaims. “You should straighten your hair all the time!” Well, I guess that’s one thing I can straighten about myself. (p. 63) Leila Azadi has always managed to avoid crushing on any of her classmates. No one knows she likes girls, not her loving and traditional Iranian parents, […]

Guest Post: A Review of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Leah CL

Guest Post: A Review of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Leah CL

 Leah CL’s mother used to say the world could end around her while she was reading and she wouldn’t even notice. She loves children’s lit, particularly middle grade fiction, and is sure she’ll get around to writing her own…one of these days. Leah has a degree in journalism and a degree in music, so logically […]

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 15

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 15

Cities around the world are marking June as the first-ever Pride Month, and to celebrate, we’re taking a look at a few young adult titles that feature bisexual protagonists or strong secondary characters. These five novels explore, discuss, and celebrate young people’s explorations of their sexuality and gender identity and emergent identification as bisexual, and feature teenagers from different ethnic […]

Yash and Janet’s Fanmix for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Yash and Janet’s Fanmix for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Book Wars’ first ever fanmix! Woo! The songs can be found here, and our rationale for why these songs remind us of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is as follows. Isle of the Dead by Sergei Rachmaninov This Russian composer was (possibly) alive during Gavriel’s pre-vampire days! Rachmaninov was born in 1873 […]

Nafiza Recommends: Chime by Franny Billingsley

Nafiza Recommends: Chime by Franny Billingsley

I’d better start with a confession, Nafiza: the first time I read Chime, I didn’t like it. I mean, I got why you did: the atmosphere of the setting; the little twists when Briony, the narrator-protagonist, says something completely unexpected – the way she, every so often, describes something with an startling turn of phrase or a […]

Review: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Hardcover, 416 pages Published March 3rd 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) Source: ARC from Publisher As is often the case with me, I found The Winner’s Crime to be a much more compelling read, exploring in greater depth gender portrayal and court politics than its predecessor, The Winner’s Curse. As this is a review of the […]

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: A Review

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: A Review

Paperback, 320 pages Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press Source: Publisher I am always in search for a protagonist who is morally ambiguous. Someone who realizes that she is not walking the straight and narrow path but deals with it either with angst or by not caring about the means to the end. […]