English, some Yiddish.
Recommended For You has quiet power in the way diversity is clearly written into the plot. Characters are disabled, LGBTQ+, and in interracial and inter-abled relationships. Main character Shoshanna works at a bookshop called Once Upon, and it’s the place she feels safest and most happy. It lets her recommend books she loves to customers, earn some money to fix her wheezing lemon of a car, Barbra Streisand, and Shoshanna can escape her house where her moms have been arguing more and more.
In this easy reading YA book, we follow Shoshanna as she tries to win the winter bonus at the bookshop, ignore the obnoxious (but very cute) new employee Jake, and fix her home life. I enjoyed this book because it’s an excellent example of how diversity can be seamlessly integrated into plot lines with casual mention of characteristics. It’s not a main point that Once Upon’s owner is a wheelchair user of color, nor is it a revelation that she’s happily married or a strict boss. The believability of how characters are written was lovely, and instead of our imaginations being left to determine which character might be tokenized diversity, none of them are. Also let’s be real, I’m here for LGBTQIA+ storylines that are not The Main Point, and don’t involve any persecution due to identity. Shoshanna’s parents are having normal marital difficulties, and she’s upset about it. Just like any teen would be upset about their parents fighting. A quick and lovely read, perfect for Jewish American Heritage Month!
It was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are my own.
Laura Silverman is an author and freelance editor and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, Recommended for You, and the upcoming Those Summer Nights. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and You Asked for Perfect was named to best teen fiction lists by YALSA, Chicago Public Library, and the Georgia Center for the Book. You can contact Laura on Twitter @LJSilverman1