High school student Gigi Wong knows she has what it takes to be the best, so it’s frustrating that no one seems to expect much from her.
Chinese American Gigi’s loving, protective parents set high standards for her older brother, but they are content with their daughter’s simply being herself. Her Great-Aunt Rose, a successful matchmaker training Gigi to continue the family legacy, is hesitant about Gigi’s attempts to digitize her business and advises Gigi to be cautious with using her Matchmaker 3000 app to make client matches. Her best friend, Kyle, who is Chinese and White, assures her that she’s already incredible, but Gigi—a top student at her elite New York prep school, co-editor of the school magazine, and volunteer peer mentor—is determined to prove herself, and she sees an opportunity through a statewide coding contest. Inspired by her Filipino mentee, Etta, who tells her how hard it is to make friends as a transfer student, Gigi develops Quizzlet, an app that matches users with potential friends based on compatibility. This contemporary retelling of Emma aptly shifts the focus of Austen’s well-meaning, occasionally thoughtless protagonist away from romantic meddling and toward personal achievement without losing the spirit of the original novel. The warmth of friendship and family closeness shine through banter-filled dialogue and the characters’ use of food as a love language, with a touch of romance to round out the end.
Effortlessly entertaining.(Fiction. 12-18)