In Laura Silverman’s book Recommended For You, Shoshanna loves working at Once Upon, the local bookstore. But when she meets new hire, Jake, as well as hears about the sales competition going on during the holidays, things change. Her fantastic work environment becomes a source of stress, and with tension at home, Shoshanna’s life is becoming difficult. But against all odds, she becomes closer to Jake, who perhaps has more in common with her than she imagined.
Firstly, Shoshanna is a sweet, witty protagonist. She’s a bit immature and reckless, and can act a bit selfishly sometimes, but these flaws enable her character development throughout the novel to really shine. And her sense of humor is charming and fun.
I also quite like Jake, as well as Shoshanna’s friends and parents, though none of them are as well-rounded as she. Still, overall a great cast.
The passages about what it’s like to work in retail, especially a bookstore, are simply perfection. Either Silverman has interviewed booksellers or has herself worked in a bookstore, but either way, she nailed it. I related so much to Shoshanna’s and Jake’s work experience, and it was fantastic.
As for the themes, I loved seeing through Shoshanna the lesson that one cannot control everything and everyone. Sometimes, merely being supportive and taking a step back is better for everyone. Also, the conversation Shoshanna has with her mama about how being sensitive is not a bad thing was wonderful. Showing emotion isn’t a weakness, and this is truly the heart of this book.
In the end, Recommended For You is an enjoyable novel, with a cute romance, a fun set of characters, spectacular diversity, and a light and fun plot. There are strong elements of family, friendship, and romance all in excellent balance. It isn’t the most groundbreaking work I’ve ever read, but it’s sweet and accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. A delightful summer read!
Overall rating: 8.5/10