Abbreviations #135: What's Not to Love, Dial A for Aunties + Luck of the Titanic

May 25, 2021


I picked up What’s Not to Love for two reasons: 1) I’ve enjoyed the other novels from Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka and 2) this is a rivals-to-something-more romance. Alison and Ethan have been competing at everything since high school began, each one determined to outdo the other in all things including garnering the title of valedictorian and getting into Harvard. When they’re assigned the task of co-planning a ten-year reunion for their high school’s alumni with the promise of a potential Harvard recommendation, the rivals agree to take on the job. But spending more time together might just be the thing they need in order to actually understand each other a little better and see past their rivalry. Now, admittedly, this isn’t my favorite Wibbroka read. It dragged a bit in the middle, leaned a bit too heavily into the rivals-to-lovers tropes and Alison was so, so frustrating for a big chunk of the book (I tried to exercise patience, since she is young after all). However, Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka demonstrate their ability, yet again, to take plot tropes and character types and whip them into a readable, relatable story. What’s Not to Love, in particular, appealed to my personal nostalgia about my senior year in high school, though my experience was very different from these two. Ultimately, it was a likable read, though is very much my least favorite from these authors so far.

Pub Info: April 20, 2021 by Viking Books for Young Readers | Add it on Goodreads


Dial A for Aunties
 follows the story of Meddelin Chan, a young woman who accidentally kills her blind date and winds up soliciting help from her mother and aunties in order to help get rid of the body. It turns out it’s a lot harder to cover up a crime, especially when the dead body is accidentally shipped to an island resort where Meddy and her family are working for the weekend for a big billionaire wedding. Further complicating matters is the appearance of the love of Meddy’s life - her college ex-boyfriend - on site. What’s a girl to do in order to pull off an extravagant wedding, sorting things out with her ex and covering up a crime? Listen, we can all likely agree that Dial A for Aunties has an outrageous set of circumstances for a premise. Armed with this knowledge, I simply went into this novel expecting to be entertained… and I totally was! If you’re the type of person who enjoys a story filled with shenanigan after shenanigan with even more shenanigans sprinkled on top (much like myself, and also, I really enjoy that word, if it wasn’t obvious), you’re very much in luck. The circumstances are, to be completely frank, over the top and ridiculous, but Sutanto magically just pulls it all together into a story that is engaging, funny and amusing. The author captures the spirit of a comedy film with her narrative style and plot navigation; she also does well with creating a colorful cast of memorable characters. I appreciated the specifically Asian touches as well, whether it was highlighting specific traditional practices, the multilingual abilities of immigrants, or the lovingly portrayed complications of family dynamics (especially among sisters). (Oh, in case you were wondering, there is a romance, but it’s not a central focus.) Hilarious, heartwarming and all around a good time, I can 100% recommend Dial A for Aunties!

Pub Info: April 27, 2021 by Berkley | Add it on Goodreads


I’ve always admired how Stacey Lee writes YA historical fiction with Chinese characters centered in the narrative. I was eager to pick up her newest novel Luck of the Titanic! In this particular story, readers are introduced to Valora Luck - a young British-Chinese woman who has stowed away on the Titanic. She has two goals in mind: finding her twin brother Jamie and convincing him that they should pursue a new life together in America, preferably as acrobats in the Ringling Brothers Circus. I’m going to leave the summary at that, as you can likely imagine how the story might end considering it’s set on the Titanic. Anyway, Luck of the Titanic was a great read! It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel set on the Titanic, but I used to find it fascinating (and terrifying) (and sad) at turns. There’s something undeniable about the pull I feel towards this large-scale tragedy; it’s unsurprising that I was eager to pick up a new story that includes it as the setting (and part of the plot). I really love how Lee wove her fictional tale about this headstrong young woman with the actual historical tragedy of the Titanic. It felt very seamless, and felt like a tale that I could fully believe was something that could have actually taken place all those years ago on this remarkable ship. It opened up a new perspective to an event whose key elements I was familiar with, which is always something I appreciate in historical fiction. I also enjoyed getting to know Valora, her brother and the variety of friends and foes she meets during her time aboard the Titanic. Luck of the Titanic was a wonderful addition to Lee’s existing body of work, and I can recommend checking it out!

Pub Info: May 4, 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers | Add it on Goodreads

1 comment

  1. I loved Dial A for Aunties too! And I'm surprised to hear that What's Not to Love is your least favorite EW & ASB book- you seemed to really be enjoying it when you started!

    ReplyDelete

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