Sweet-filled fun.

Two teens come together over food and family.

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Tang meets heartbreakingly handsome Theo Somers during an unpleasantly memorable incident: He makes a delivery from his Aunt Jade’s Singaporean Chinese takeout spot to Theo’s friend Adrian, who goes ballistic over a minor error. Theo’s there, and he tries to defuse the conflict, but the last thing Dylan expects is to see him turn up at Wok Warriors and rave over the xiao long bao. Even more unlikely? The two of them riding around Chinatown in Theo’s Ferrari taste testing mooncakes. Dylan entered the Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making contest, a competition for teens hosted by a Malaysian celebrity chef. He hopes a win will bring in a much-needed financial boost for his aunt’s business. Meanwhile, Theo uses subterfuge to send $5,000 from a fake grant program to help Wok Warriors. In return, Dylan agrees to join Theo at his cousin’s Hamptons wedding as his pretend boyfriend: Theo’s family will stop trying to matchmake for him, and they’ll be even. Spending more time with Theo does not help to squash Dylan’s budding crush, but can they date for real with all the family drama the glitz and glam brings? Debut novelist Lee presents a rom-com romp full of meddling and hijinks. Foodies will have lots to savor, and cultural heritage and appreciation are at the forefront too, as Theo, who has a White father and a mom from Hong Kong, is eager to reconnect with his Chinese heritage.

Sweet-filled fun. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9780593569955

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Underlined

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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