Love! Dance! Food! Anxiety! Great and not-so-great parents! Complex relationships! What more could you want from a book? Well, you get all that and more in Radha & Jai’s Recipe For Romance.
Let’s get to the review!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest Kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now, she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past, and reinvent herself from scratch.
Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.
With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.
Radha has had a tough time. After learning something chilling at her last dance competition and dropping out, now she’s unable and unwilling to dance. It also doesn’t help that her mother isn’t understanding of what Radha wants or needs. And now in a new city where she doesn’t know anyone and her parents’ recently divorced, she has to find a way to make it at her new school after her world was turned upside down.
Then there is Jai. His family runs a store and is looking to open another one, but funds are tight and he’s putting his dreams on hold to make sure his family doesn’t have to sacrifice anything. Or at least no more than they already have. He also happens to be the captain of his dance team at school and if they win, the cash prize could help his family and possibly let him go to medical school.
When he meets Radha, he thinks she can be the answer to his prayers, but once he actually gets to know her and learns the truth of her past, he finds she answers a different kind of prayer for him. She is someone he could easily fall in love with.
And with the way he understands her, Jai is easily someone Radha could fall in love with too.
But with their pasts and the things they have going on in their lives, theirs is not an easy relationship. Each of them challenge each other. Jai on Radha’s refusal to dance and Radha on Jai’s refusal to see that him sacrificing his future is not helping his family at all.
While working together on choreographing Jai’s team’s dance (Radha can choreograph but can’t perform), Radha is also reconnected with her father and her roots via food and learning how to cook. Her father is a chef in Chicago and while they never had a close relationship because of Radha’s dance schedule and her overbearing mother, now that she’s far away, they connect with recipes and talking over the phone and the internet.
This book is as fun as it is emotional. I loved Radha! I loved how complicated she was. She had been through SO. MUCH and yet, she was still willing to help people, still willing to try and find joy in life and friends.
Jai was also so caring and supportive. There were definitely times I wanted to shake some sense into him because COME ON MY DUDE, but I so loved him and Radha together.
I am giving Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma 4 out of 5 stars. The characters, the dancing, the food, it was all beautifully written. If you like YA contemporary romance, this is definitely a book you want to check out.
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance is available now!
Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for a free eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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