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Love, Decoded
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Love, Decoded
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A hilarious, heartfelt rom-com about the unexpected consequences of one teen's quest to help her friends find love, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Jane Austen.High school junior Gigi Wong strives to...
A hilarious, heartfelt rom-com about the unexpected consequences of one teen's quest to help her friends find love, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Jane Austen.High school junior Gigi Wong strives to...
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Description-

  • A hilarious, heartfelt rom-com about the unexpected consequences of one teen's quest to help her friends find love, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Jane Austen.
    High school junior Gigi Wong strives to be the best. After all, that’s what everyone expects of her—her parents, friends, and even potential colleges. Thankfully, her best friend, Kyle, is always there to listen with a smile and a delicious bowl of ramen. Still, with her future—and her dreams—on the line, how is she to stand out when her classmates seem so perfect too?
     
    Her answer comes in the form of an app writing contest. If Gigi can secure the nomination to represent her school, she has a chance at a prestigious tech internship. That’s sure to get her applications noticed . . . All she needs is a winning entry.
     
    When transfer student and new friend Etta confides that she’s struggling to fit in, it gives Gigi an idea. What if she takes what she’s learned from shadowing her aunt Rose, a professional matchmaker, to create a fun friend-making app? Perfect!
     
    When Gigi's app goes viral at school, she's the center of attention—and a major scandal. She never meant to hurt anyone, let alone Etta and Kyle. Can she save all she worked so hard for and the relationships that mean so much to her?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Chapter 1

    If love is one of life’s greatest mysteries, then you want the best detective on the case.

    Okay, so maybe I’m not the Sherlock Holmes of relationships yet, but it’s only a matter of time. After all, there’s something I know that most people don’t:

    Love is amazing, frustrating, and often complicated, but what it isn’t . . . is magic.

    It’s science.

    Love is facial symmetry, body proportions, and hormones. It’s sizing up the person in front of us in seconds, looking for the right combination of physical features and personality traits we want to pass on to our future children. Love is nothing more than our brains doing math, and unsurprisingly, some people need more help than others.

    That’s what my great—aunt Rose tells me, anyway, and she’s one of the best—-or, if you ask her,the best—-matchmakers you’ll find outside of Asia. For her, love comes down to the numbers. Height. Weight. Sun and lunar signs. Your family’s lineage. Howmuch money you make. What zip code you live in. Even how many exes you have. All of those things matter when you’re looking foryour soul mate, the one person who is supposed to be your better half and complete your world.

    (I’m not so sure about the last part, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

    I admit I’m still new to this whole love thing. The closest I’ve come was watching my brother James fall for his girlfriend, Liza, last summer. Auntie Rose said she knew it was a good match because he went through her “Four Stages of Love”—-confusion, denial, fear, and concession. Considering James hasn’t stopped smiling since they met, I suggested happiness be added as thefifth, but Auntie Rose dismissed it, saying I still have a lot tolearn. Nonetheless, I do come from a distinguished line of skilled “mathematicians,” and there’s no doubt I’ve inherited the matchmaking talent. Several of my friends would still be dating Netflix if it wasn’t for me.

    Last year, Auntie Rose decided it was time I start training to take my place as the next generation of matchmakers in the family. Infact, she loves recounting that at just six years old, I pointed to a groomsman and a bridesmaid at a wedding and predicted they would get married. How much of this is true is up for debate, but she’s certain it was a sign of things to come. According to her, all I need is a little time to nurture my matchmaking talent. That’s why I’ve been spending my Saturdays at Rose and Jade, the Asian import and souvenir shop Auntie Rose owns in Chinatown.

    This weekend, however, I’m at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I need to choose a painting to critique for my art history project. It counts for 40 percent of the final grade, and I need an A if I want to stay in the top 1 percent of our class. I walk into the first room of the old European masters’ wing. Cream—colored walls are lined with oil paintings of all sizes, framed in gold and lit by soft light overhead.

    Despite the beauty around me, I’m immediately drawn to the well—dressed pair of visitors standing in front of a painting of a foxhunt. The two must have come together. They’re standing shoulder to shoulder, though there’s always distance betweentheir bodies. The woman stares up at the piece of art, pointing at one of the figures on horseback as she says something to the man. He leans toward her, closing the gap ever so slightly. The woman continues talking, completely oblivious to the fact that the only thing...

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2022
    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)

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 24, 2022
    Yen offers a satisfying spin-off to A Taste for Love in this fast-paced Emma update, which follows James Wong’s younger sister, Gigi. Wealthy, perfectionistic Chinese American high school junior Gigi Wong, 17, “one of the most popular girls” at an elite Upper East Side prep school, has it all: good grades and a full portfolio of extracurriculars; 10 years of best friendship with loyal neighbor Kyle Miller, who is half-Chinese and white-passing; a sweet mentee and enthusiastic new friend in Etta Santos, who is Filipinx; and an expected post–Ivy League future inheriting her great-aunt Rose’s matchmaking business. But when a statewide coding contest consumes Gigi’s waking hours and awakens latent competitiveness with former friend Anna Tam, the resulting app, intended to help students make friends based on similar quiz answers, causes consequences both unintended and unforeseen. Allusions to contemporary media, fashion brands, and familiar New York City eateries ground the narrative firmly in the present, as themes of familial pressure, purpose vs. passion, and a friends-to-lovers romance prove timeless. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2022
    Grades 9-12 Gigi Wong strives to be the perfect student, daughter, and friend. She has high standards for herself, even when her parents and best friend, Kyle, do not expect perfection. When Gigi meets Etta, the new loud, unfashionable, but exceptionally nice student, she tries to help Etta fit in and find friends. However, Gigi's tactics are unsuccessful, so she creates an app that serves two purposes: to help Etta find friends and to win a contest that will hopefully land her a prestigious internship. Excited, she asks a few friends to test it out, but after someone forwards the app to more students, they start using it for unethical reasons, and trouble ensues. In this stand-alone continuation of 2021's A Taste for Love, Yen wonderfully mixes the plot of Jane Austen's Emma with a modern heroine who loves to program. This combination creates an exceptionally blended novel featuring romance, friendship, and computer programming that young adult readers will enjoy.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-Gigi strives for the best, whether it's perfecting a database for Auntie Rose's matchmaking business or being impeccable in her school activities. This year, Gigi finally has the chance to prove her worth as a coder when her teacher announces an app writing competition. However, when the new transfer student, Etta, confesses to having trouble making friends, Gigi creates a friendship matchmaking app that goes a little too viral, imploding all of her important relationships, including the one with her best friend, Kyle. Inspired by Jane Austen's Emma, Yen creates a romance of errors (set in the same world as A Taste for Love) as Gigi navigates love and friendship. Gigi is a people pleaser who can't say "no," a quality that many teens will find relatable. As her relationships fall apart, Gigi sees her lack of honest communication as the driving force for the mishaps with her friends and family. The characters' connections are well written, though readers may want additional time to immerse themselves in backstory and development. While readers will be screaming for more Kyle and Gigi moments on page, the ending is ultimately satisfying. Gigi is Chinese, Kyle is biracial (Chinese and white), and Etta is Filipina. VERDICT For admirers of Lyla Lee or shows like Indian Matchmaking, this lighthearted romp is guaranteed to lift spirits.-Emily Walker

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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