Cover image for This is my brain in love
Title:
This is my brain in love
ISBN:
9780316423823
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
378 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade. Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper. Then Jocelyn's father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it's up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook). What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.
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Stillwater Public Library1On Order

Summary

Summary

Told in dual narrative, This Is My Brain in Love is a stunning YA contemporary romance, exploring mental health, race and, ultimately, self-acceptance, for fans of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Emergency Contact .

Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade.
Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper.

Then Jocelyn's father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it's up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook).
What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.


Author Notes

I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. After getting her MD at Yale School of Medicine, she did her residency at Stanford, where she met the intersex patient who inspired her debut novel, None of the Above (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins), which is a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist, a Spring 2015 Publishers Weekly Flying Start, an ALA Booklist Top Ten Sports Book for Youth, and a 2015 ABC Children's Group Best Book for Young Readers. It was also named to the 2016 American Library Association Rainbow List. She is proud to be a board member of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, and is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Scientific American, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and New York Post , among others. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram and Twitter as @iwgregorio, or on her website at www.iwgregorio.com .


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up--Jocelyn Wu has a plan to save her family's struggling Chinese restaurant in Utica, NY. With her father's reluctant approval she decides to hire a summer intern to help out at the restaurant and increase its online presence. Enter William Domenici, new intern and aspiring journalist looking for a story. Will and Jos hit it off; although they are very different, they have a lot in common. Jos, an American-born Chinese girl, and Will, the son of a Nigerian doctor and an Italian lawyer, are both entering junior year of high school and don't exactly blend into the background of their predominantly white, upstate New York town. Told in alternating first-person chapters, the story quickly immerses readers in the drama that unfolds over the course of the summer: Can the restaurant be saved? Will Jos and Will get together despite Mr. Wu's strict rules? Issues of mental health also come into play. Will, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when he was younger, has spent years learning how to manage his anxiety with the help of his therapist. It is his sensitivity to mental health issues that enables him to encourage Jos to seek help for her depression. VERDICT Deftly navigating issues of race and mental health, as well as giving voice to the reality of American teens born to immigrant families, many of whom grapple with different cultural and familial expectations, Gregorio, a founding member of We Need Diverse Books, has written a heartwarming foodie rom-com. Recommended for fans of realistic fiction.--Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn


Publisher's Weekly Review

Gregorio (None of the Above) introduces Taiwanese-American Jocelyn Wu, 16, who is determined to save her family's failing Chinese restaurant in central New York, and biracial (half black, half white) William Domenici, also 16, in need of both a paying summer gig and the "investigative skills" required to earn a more significant role at his school newspaper. A charmingly awkward meet-cute ends with Jos hiring Will to help the business. As feelings develop between the two, familial expectations and difficult truths--including the failing restaurant, Jos's depression, and Will's anxiety--threaten to quash their relationship. Gregorio introduces the protagonists through alternating perspectives, unspooling each character's quirks and the ways their strengths, insecurities, and experiences affect them and those closest to them. Readers will come to this story for dynamic romantic and familial relationships, but they'll stay for its smart exploration of depression, anxiety, and self-care. Gregorio doesn't preach or prescribe, instead offering readers a safe space in which to consider and develop their understanding of mental health and, like Jos and Will, find the courage to ask for help if needed. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Apr.)


Kirkus Review

Mental illness is no match for love in this diverse, compelling novel. After years of missing New York City, Chinese American teenager Jocelyn Wu has finally gotten used to living in Utica. She's got a best friend, a spot in a college-level film class, and has even found a bubble tea place. So when her father announces that their family has to move back to the city because their restaurant is bankrupt, she's determined to find a way to stay. Her first step is to hire teen Will Domenici, a biracial (Nigerian/white) budding journalist who lives with acute anxiety. Sparks fly, and what started out as a summer internship becomes a full-blown romance--one that Jocelyn's father, Mr. Wu, stipulates can continue only if the pair fulfills the terms of a contract that include raising the restaurant's revenue by 30% before the end of the summer. With her happiness at stake, Jocelyn begins to suffer from her own mental health issues--ones that she's not sure her relationship can survive. Gregorio's (contributor: Our Stories, Our Voices, 2018, etc.) diverse cast of characters authentically navigate their mental illnesses through the twists and turns of a fast-paced plot, and the romance between Will and Jocelyn sparkles. A sweet, entertaining romance. (author's note, resources) (Romance. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Gregorio (None of the Above, 2015) takes readers into the world of restaurants in her latest novel, where they'll join rising junior and first-generation Chinese American Jocelyn Wu and new employee Will, a teen struggling to manage his anxiety. As A-Plus Chinese Garden contends with a lack of customers, Jocelyn hatches a plan to bring the family restaurant into the present with a larger social media presence. Meanwhile, her romance with Will threatens the restaurant and her family relationships. In part a love letter to family, this strikes on themes of depression and stigmatized perceptions of mental illness and its treatment, topics informed by Gregorio's #OwnVoices perspective and expanded upon in a moving author's note. A standout read in terms of packing timely issues into a contemporary and charming plot, this colorful novel will find love with fans of Maurene Goo's The Way You Make Me Feel (2018) and Eric Smith's Don't Read the Comments (2020), while giving others plenty to chew on.