Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance is out now.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Recommend to Others?: Yes
ABOUT: Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past and reinvent herself from scratch.
Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and is an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.
With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.
My Review: What a pleasant surprise this book was! I really enjoyed reading Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance. Delightful and delicious, this story swept me off my feet.
Radha is a very talented young Kathak dancer who has unfortunately lost her “dance joy” after family secrets and self-doubt turns her world upside down. She struggles to rediscover herself and find what truly makes her as happy as dance used to. Her character development was really good. I found Radha to be super relatable. Some of my favorite scenes were whenever she immersed herself in dance.
Jai is also a very relatable character and a joy to get to know. He’s very smart and clearly has a bright future ahead of him, but he refuses to take that leap out of a sense of family obligation. Jai is more concerned with the happiness of his teams and family that he forgets (dismisses) his own personal desires: med school. I love his sense of duty to his family and family by choice. However, I wanted to hug and yell at him all at once. I also liked how his storyline developed and interwove with Radha’s.
There is much to love about this book. The family dynamics were so well written. I liked learning more about Indian culture, especially through food and dance. What a great idea it was for the author to include a list of ingredients and some notes of the recipes Radha is learning throughout the story. The dance aspect was a lot of fun and Radha and Jai’s super sweet relationship. I really wish there was a video of Bollywood Beats’ winter showcase performance!
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance was a great YA read. It really delved deep in relatable topics like self-esteem, senior year, facing one’s fears, and standing up for yourself (especially to one’s family, which can be really difficult to do). And the cover art is just so lovely! I would highly recommend this page-turning novel.