This delightfully disastrous queer YA rom-com is a perfect read for fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Sandhya Menon.
When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.
That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.
Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.
Sugiura (This Time Will Be Different) once again delivers an emotional story, this time from the perspective of a Japanese American teen from Illinois. Nozomi Nagai, 17, and her brother Max, 21, are spending part of the summer in San Francisco, working at the private museum their uncle Stephen curates and catching up with their grandmother, Baba. Nozomi is happy to leave the drama of her parents' divorce behind, and a summer away is exactly what she needs to reinvent herself following the embarrassment of a pity kiss from the girl of her dreams. When Nozomi's crush, Willow, asks her to fake a relationship to make Willow's ex jealous, optimistic Nozomi thinks the arrangement might be an opportunity to win Willow's affection. Things grow more complicated when it becomes clear both that Baba is starting to lose her memory and that Willow may not be the girl for Nozomi. Alongside swoony first kisses, Sugiura steeps this romance in cultural and generational specificity, exploring traditional Baba's unwillingness to accept same-sex relationships and the heartbreak that poses for her family. Ages 13–up.