It’s been a while since Nisha Sharma’s last YA novel, but she’s back with another contemporary. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book from Little Tiger Books. So thanks so much for this! This is loosely connected to My So-Called Bollywood life, with the main couple making a cameo. But this is a different story and one that feels a lot more emotional and serious.
Radha was on the verge of becoming one of the best Kathak dancers in the world until a family betrayal puts her off dancing. Moving to a new school, she meets Jai, captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team. His dream has always been to go to medical school, now he doesn’t want to go to college and leave his family. Together they learn a lot about each other and help to reach their dreams.
This book does sound like it could be very cutesy. But in some ways, it was a little too insta-romancey for me. And it shouldn’t be. The romance doesn’t happen until halfway through the book. But it barely felt like we had any time with them together. A lot of them getting to know each other was in the background.
But despite what the title is…I think that’s more because this book isn’t really about romance.
It’s about Radha and Jai’s relationships with their families.
Radha feels betrayed by her mum – fairly – and it has completely destroyed her faith in her own skills too. She’s only just getting to really know her Dad, after years of them living together but being distant. It seems like her mum only really wants her to be the best. And that’s kind of sad. Reminds me of one of my favourite anime character who has a lot of issues.
Jai, on the other hand, still has his family. But his dad and his ‘adopted’ grandpa are both disabled thanks to past illness. He wants to stay with his family, help them run the shop and keep them earning. But his own dreams of being a doctor mean they want him to go off to college. There are plenty of arguments because of this.
This book was easy to read. The chapters were a decent length, but I got through the book pretty fast. I didn’t cry, but my heart was definitely aching over a lot of the scenes. This book was complicated and emotional. But it wasn’t really what I expected it to be. Sharma even makes a note that this couldn’t just be a cutesy romance like her other YA novel. Because her own experience with Kathak was complicated. And I appreciate that.
Sharma shared a lot about food and dance, blending that with difficult topics and came up with an easy to read and enjoyable book. It’s not the light, fluffy book you might be expecting, but it was still good.
Check it out when you feel like an emotional contemporary, but one with a cutesy, happy ending.
Title: Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance
Author: Nisha Sharma
Age Range: YA
Publisher: Little Tiger
Release Date: 22/07/2021