Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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 & Jai’s Recipe for Romance is a sweet and easy read about two high school seniors who have a shared love of dance and are trying to figure out their own futures. It was an enjoyable read which I found perfect for reading one afternoon in the sunshine.
Radha, is a skilled kathak dancer and is struggling with performance anxiety and a lot of self-doubt. She was a relatable and entertaining character to read about. Jai, is the captain of his school’s Bollywood dance team, secretly dreams of been to Columbia but feels responsible to keep his family’s store running. He is a sweet, caring and relatable character who I am sure so many readers will fall in love with. I sympathised a lot with both of the characters which made it very easy to root for them to achieve their dreams.
Something I found really interesting with this book is the different family dilemmas and dynamics that the characters are facing. Radha is taking a step away from her dreams and her love of dance because of the links it has to her family. Whereas, Jai feels as though he has to step up and look after his family even if it means letting his dreams die. I enjoyed seeing characters with different backgrounds and family issues work together to find resolutions. As well as, giving each other strength to follow their dreams. I would have loved to see more of Radha’s dad and cousin as they were some of my favourite characters even though they had quite small parts.
The author does mention in a letter to the reader that she initially started out writing a rom-com, but then started exploring how it could also be a story about grief and anxiety. This to me made the story feel quite disjointed. It was like it was two different books in one. You had the feel-good, classic rom-com moments as one story and then the complicated family issues storyline as another. Then, there was the cooking. I think this was meant to be the bridge between the two but to me to just seemed to be there (even if it did make me very hungry!). There just seems a little bit too much going on at points for me!
Overall, this was still a fun read with a cute romance storyline, a very honesty portrayal of anxiety and characters figuring out what to do next in life. I would recommend this one for fans of rom-coms, Bollywood, dancing and food. It was an enjoyable read for sure!