The cute, Christmassy rom-com Recommended for You by Laura Silverman delivers on more than just a romance between rival teen booksellers. It’s also a heartwarming story of family and friendship: the trifecta of feels.
Shoshanna Greenburg has the rare privilege of working at her happy place: indie bookstore Once Upon. Home used to be a happy place, but now her moms fight constantly, making a place once warm and welcoming, now cold and tense. Money is also tight, and her precious car, Barbra, is in desperate need of repair. Shoshanna’s paychecks aren’t enough to cover it. Serendipitously, her boss announces that the employee who makes the most sales will receive a special holiday bonus, just the amount she needs. Nobody is more enthusiastic about books or has better recommendations, so she’s confident she’ll be victorious. Except… new employee Jake Kaplan is a better salesman than she anticipated. At first, she thought he was cute, but he quickly reveals himself to be rude and uninterested in being friends. Even worse, he doesn’t read!
Shoshanna has more problems than Jake, however. Her moms show no sign of making up, even with holiday spirits in the air; both are perfectly miserable. Her best friend wants to be a make-up YouTuber, but doesn’t have the confidence to get started. Worst of all, she and Jake overhear their boss saying that Once Upon will have to close! Shoshanna is determined to fix everything, and Jake insists on helping her save the bookstore. The more time the two spend together, the more Shoshanna finds that he’s not as awful as she first thought, and they might have more in common than they realized.
Shoshanna intrigued me as a main character. I’m a quiet, shy, introverted bookworm who enjoys reading contemporaries about other quiet, shy, introverted bookworms, and while they never get old, she was a welcomed change of pace. She still loves to read more than anything else, but she’s loud, bubbly, awkward, and honestly a bit much. She’s also very naive, and though she selflessly wants to help everyone, she ends up messing everything up. It’s frustrating, but I liked it because it felt realistic. The mistakes she made felt like mistakes I would have made five years ago, when I was her age.
One thing that bothered me about this book was the timeline. The story takes place in the week before Christmas, which makes sense, because the plot revolves around the rush of holiday shopping, but I wish it had taken place over a longer period of time. It felt like too much was going on at once. It also messed with the romance. I don’t like instalove, so I didn’t buy Shoshanna and Jake falling in love so quickly, especially since they started out hating each other. They thawed to each other too fast, where I would’ve preferred something more gradual.
All the supporting characters came to life in this novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Jake was my favorite—even though I didn’t totally buy the relationship, I found him adorable. I devoured this book in three hours on a long car ride. It isn’t one of the great American novels, by any means, but it’s warm, fun, cute, and it made me really happy for those three hours. I highly recommend it… for you! (I’m sorry, I had to).