This is My Brain in Love
Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade.Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper. Then Jocelyn's father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it's up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook).What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.

This is My Brain in Love Details

TitleThis is My Brain in Love
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 14th, 2020
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780316423823
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Contemporary

This is My Brain in Love Review

  • Laurie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful story of real-world teen struggles and and how the balance point of love and brains is joy. I really enjoyed this book!
  • Nenia ❤️️ I hate everything you love ❤️️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    GETTING AN ARC
  • Katerina Kondrenko
    January 1, 1970
    6.7 out of 10 Read this book for work. Not my usual reading choice, 'cause between contemporary and mental illness I'd always pick up fantasy) Still! The story is pretty good! I mean, if not for my preferences, I'll give it 4 stars without doubts. Gregorio knows how teens think, feel and act. How families can be. And how to make different POVs different.
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  • rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I was a sensitivity reader for Ilene for this book as a side character is on the autism spectrum. Charming and full of heart, THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE is about two teens who deal with being first generation immigrant kids, the family business, mental health issues, and falling in love. Recommended for fans of The Sun Is Also a Star.
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  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.THIS MY BRAIN IN LOVE is told by two POV's, Jocelyn and Will and set in Utica New York. Joc is the daughter of Chinese restaurant owners, struggling to keep afloat. She crosses paths with Will whom she hires to jumpstart the business, otherwise, her family would have to move. He helps with social media, getting the accounts out of the Stone Age, and narrowly missing death by a Chinese father when Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.THIS MY BRAIN IN LOVE is told by two POV's, Jocelyn and Will and set in Utica New York. Joc is the daughter of Chinese restaurant owners, struggling to keep afloat. She crosses paths with Will whom she hires to jumpstart the business, otherwise, her family would have to move. He helps with social media, getting the accounts out of the Stone Age, and narrowly missing death by a Chinese father when he falls for Joc and vice versa. Joc is a clever and down to earth protagonist that we can all relate to. But she is also a perfectionist and can come across as callous at times. Will, having anxiety himself, recognizes something in Joc that concerns him. Will is an all-around nice guy and is so super sweet to Joc and her family and friends. I loved him as a love interest and protagonist. Both main characters are persons of color. Will is half Nigerian and Joc is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Together, they were a refreshing pair. Unlike a lot of YA contemporaries, their eventual romance is held back by more than just outside interference. Although we do have the classic, harsh Chinese parents who set restrictions on their relationship. But Will's habit of not wanting to make people uncomfortable about his condition and Joc's denial of her own makes for a rocky road. Joc's friend, Priya is the best, but I did wish we saw more of Will's friends. The references to movie culture and food drew me in. I am a sucker for any book set against a restaurant, food truck, ANYTHING WITH FOOD. I am familiar with American Chinese food (my fav!) but I loved learning about Nigerian food and I promptly looked for restaurants in my area!Against the backdrop of yummy Chinese food and teenage love, is the topic of mental health and the stigma that holds people back from properly addressing their concerns. I think this book hit the mark with how most people feel when faced with the idea that they may have depression, anxiety or any other mental illness. This book will resonate with the YA community for its diversity and realistic portrayal of mental illness. BEWARE: this book will make you hungry.
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  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! Thanks to The Novl sending a free advanced copy, I had a chance to read this fantastic book early. Now that its out, I highly, highly recommend ordering a copy you can also check the authors insta for how to get a signed bookplate & more this month (April 2020)!.Reasons to read This is My Brain in Love:🥟 POTSTICKERS🥡 Speaking of, its set in a Chinese restaurant💰 Crazy Rich Asians references💖 Cute romance (and yes this is coming from ME)😍 Diverse (including neurodiverse!) 4.5 stars! Thanks to The Novl sending a free advanced copy, I had a chance to read this fantastic book early. Now that it’s out, I highly, highly recommend ordering a copy — you can also check the author’s insta for how to get a signed bookplate & more this month (April 2020)!.Reasons to read This is My Brain in Love:🥟 POTSTICKERS🥡 Speaking of, it’s set in a Chinese restaurant💰 Crazy Rich Asians references💖 Cute romance (and yes this is coming from ME)😍 Diverse (including neurodiverse!) characters🖤 A nuanced, complex look at race, racism, micro aggressions, and stereotypes📺 Movie buff girl meets journalist boy💭 Teens with big dreams🌚 Find out the context for this out-of-context quote: “Nothing says I love you more than whispering sweet homicidal nothings.”*Seriously, this book was so good. This is the kind of YA contemporary romance I love seeing published! It's a great mix of fun/funny and complex/deep. The characters' voices felt perfect for YA and the dual narration worked beautifully.As a Chinese American woman, so many little details about the story spoke to me. Small things, like the mention of youtiao (fried dough sticks -- like Chinese doughnuts -- that you can dip in drinks) made me tear up. It's such a little thing, but it spoke to my experiences growing up, to the foods I remember eating but have never seen mentioned in print before. And OMG the description of postickers... *drools*.At this point, this probably goes without saying, but I feel it's my duty to warn you that this book will make you VERY, VERY hungry. Highly recommend reading this while eating your favorite Chinese foods!*Quote from the ARC, may not be final
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    It was really jarring to see so much of myself in Will, and maaaan I wish I'd had this book in high school or even college so I could've understood exactly what was going on with my brain and why I sucked at the sourcing aspect of Journalism. I thought this was really great, if a little lighter on the "love" portion than I was expecting - and an excellent reading buddy with Jennifer Dugan's VERONA COMICS - and was inspired enough by the author's note and resources to flag them so I could use It was really jarring to see so much of myself in Will, and maaaan I wish I'd had this book in high school or even college so I could've understood exactly what was going on with my brain and why I sucked at the sourcing aspect of Journalism. I thought this was really great, if a little lighter on the "love" portion than I was expecting - and an excellent reading buddy with Jennifer Dugan's VERONA COMICS - and was inspired enough by the author's note and resources to flag them so I could use them for myself. I'd call that a win.
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  • Emilia
    January 1, 1970
    Jocelyn runs a Chinese restaurant with her family, and Will applies for a job there. About a month after Will gets a job there, they kiss, and Jocelyn's dad doesn't approve of their relationship. To be able to date each other, they need to save the restaurant. Will and Jocelyn both have mental illnesses, which I thought was interesting. Also, I think that this book helped me learn a lot about different types of mental illnesses. I thought that this book was good, but was boring at times. Jocelyn runs a Chinese restaurant with her family, and Will applies for a job there. About a month after Will gets a job there, they kiss, and Jocelyn's dad doesn't approve of their relationship. To be able to date each other, they need to save the restaurant. Will and Jocelyn both have mental illnesses, which I thought was interesting. Also, I think that this book helped me learn a lot about different types of mental illnesses. I thought that this book was good, but was boring at times. Overall, I think that this is a 3.5 star book!
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  • Maura
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, The NOVL, for sending me another great ARC in exchange for an honest review! I loved the first half of this book, and the sweetness of a high school crush was just what I needed last week. Dual perspectives are the best way to tell a love story, in my opinion, because you can see both characters falling for each other. The cultural aspects of the book included both Chinese and Nigerian culture, and I really enjoyed seeing the similarities and differences between Jocelyn and Will's Thank you, The NOVL, for sending me another great ARC in exchange for an honest review! I loved the first half of this book, and the sweetness of a high school crush was just what I needed last week. Dual perspectives are the best way to tell a love story, in my opinion, because you can see both characters falling for each other. The cultural aspects of the book included both Chinese and Nigerian culture, and I really enjoyed seeing the similarities and differences between Jocelyn and Will's families, especially since they were divided by both economic status and race.I think my 3.5 star rating is more a reflection of my current state of mind than the book itself. I've read several contemporary YA romances lately where the main themes and conflicts are caused by mental illness (see my reviews for Permanent Record, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and When the Stars Lead to You), and this was one that hit the mark for me. It's so important to address mental health stigma, especially in Asian communities, and I appreciated the inclusion of Jocelyn's family's racism as well (this was more satisfyingly handled than it was in Frankly in Love, in my opinion, though that probably means Frankly's version is more true to life). I just think I would have appreciated all of these aspects more if I had read this book before I was burned out on the genre. I found the ending to be predictable, things started to drag in the middle, and I was hoping we would get more of that initial Jocelyn x Will chemistry at the end (we didn't, sadly). But I did enjoy how everything was wrapped up in a way that was hopeful without being unrealistic. Overall a worthwhile read, but don't let the early lighthearted tone and the cute chapter titles fool you! This one takes a serious look at anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation.
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    This is My Brain in Love celebrates family and is a wonderful representation of mental health in YA. From everything from a positive experience of therapy to overcoming the stigma of a diagnosis, cultural and family expectations and denial, this is a positive and inclusive portrayal of anxiety and depression. Its also a wonderful mix of cultures and the wonderful food that comes with those cultures. If you enjoyed The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, this is the perfect book for you. Jocelyn This is My Brain in Love celebrates family and is a wonderful representation of mental health in YA. From everything from a positive experience of therapy to overcoming the stigma of a diagnosis, cultural and family expectations and denial, this is a positive and inclusive portrayal of anxiety and depression. It’s also a wonderful mix of cultures and the wonderful food that comes with those cultures. If you enjoyed The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, this is the perfect book for you. Jocelyn Wu is surprised to learn her family’s restaurant is facing closure. Sure, it’s old and kind of rumpled around the edges, but it’s home. To prevent having to move away from her best friend, she sets out to improve the restaurant, including adding social media pages, new features and employing someone to help out and build them a website. Enter Will Domenici. They click and working together is fun, but both Will and Jocelyn are hiding secrets and saving the family restaurant might not be enough to save their budding romance.Whoa. That prologue kind of threw me, giving this book a sort-of trigger warning for suicide. And while the narrator tries to reassure the reader, it kind of did the opposite. It certainly had me intrigued and ready to jump straight into the book to find out more.And, actually, things never get as serious as hinted at at the start and a few times foreshadowed in the book. It’s a light book, despite the overtones of mental health and depression, financial difficulties and the possible failure of a family business.I really enjoyed Will and Jocelyn’s relationship. They connect straight away, and despite their awkwardness manage to form a relationship pretty soon into the story. This is where the book differs from other YA romances. We don’t have to wait for the outcome of the possibility. We already have that, the characters must face and focus on the obstacles to their continued dating (and kissing), including their own mental health and the expectations of their families. I really enjoyed the times, and it is the majority of the book, where Will and Jos are working together to improve her family’s Chinese restaurant. They make a great team and the project and work they throw themselves into was a great part of the book. The inclusion of all those dumplings and smells and tastes of the food didn’t hurt either. A sweet story about facing the reality of mental health, the complications of relationship and the blessing of family and good food, lovers of realistic YA fiction will eat This is My Brain In Love right up.The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
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  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was a straight-up romance until I hit 2/3 of the way through, and then the heavy-handed mental health education began. It was surprising to me, because the description I read of the book did not even mention the mental health issues the characters faced. A few things stood out to me while reading the book. 1. The use of the word trope. I will have to look it up on my Kindle to see how many times this word came into play. Altogether too many, if you ask me. I am quite sure I I thought this book was a straight-up romance until I hit 2/3 of the way through, and then the heavy-handed mental health education began. It was surprising to me, because the description I read of the book did not even mention the mental health issues the characters faced. A few things stood out to me while reading the book. 1. The use of the word trope. I will have to look it up on my Kindle to see how many times this word came into play. Altogether too many, if you ask me. I am quite sure I did not know or understand that word as a teen. 2. Will's diagnosis of his girlfriend: I really didn't think she was depressed. Jocelyn is living in a crappy situation and is working WAY too hard to keep her family's restaurant afloat. Her parents are out of touch with American youth, and she has to navigate landing a boyfriend who is not Asian. These are big burdens for any teenager to carry. 3. It was unrealistic to me that she and Will, after their heavy makeout session in the car, would continue to see each other daily yet not even ONCE be together romantically. Not a look or a touch or a kiss or anything. I felt like the author completely turned off the romance trope and turned on the mental health trope at about 67% through the book. (See what I did there?) It was almost like reading two different books, and I would've preferred that these two different plot lines were a little more integrated.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Just when Jocelyn was finding her groove, the family business takes a turn for the worst. In an effort to save A-Plus Chinese Garden, Jocelyn enlists the help of Will, and the two embark on a mission to rebuild the business. As the ideas to jumpstart the business flew, so did the sparks, but this romance hits a few roadblocks, and some may be insurmountable. Pro: I had no problem rooting for everyone and everything in this story. I wanted the restaurant to succeed, for Jos's movie to be a hit, Just when Jocelyn was finding her groove, the family business takes a turn for the worst. In an effort to save A-Plus Chinese Garden, Jocelyn enlists the help of Will, and the two embark on a mission to rebuild the business. As the ideas to jumpstart the business flew, so did the sparks, but this romance hits a few roadblocks, and some may be insurmountable.• Pro: I had no problem rooting for everyone and everything in this story. I wanted the restaurant to succeed, for Jos's movie to be a hit, for Will to get his story, for Jos and Will to find their HEA. It was important for me to see them all get what they wanted or needed, because I guess I thought they deserved it. • Pro: The food! Not only did we get to "enjoy" many Chinese treats, but there was also a bit of Nigerian food in the mix. It was all described in such rich detail, that my mouth actually watered. • Pro: I never was involved in any sort of small business, but I was fully enthralled by all the different things Jos and Will were doing to try and resuscitate the restaurant. • Con: I would have liked more time dedicated to the actual romance, though the bits that were there were wonderful. • Pro: I always appreciate an OwnVoices perspective, and Gregorio wrote this story as an Asian person, who has battled mental illness, but is also a doctor. I think because this, she brings a lot of insight to this story, which is not found in many other similar type books. • Pro: Depression, anxiety, and multiple spectrum disorders are featured in this book. Though the mental illnesses were given a deeper treatment, I appreciated the way all were explored. Overall: An honest story of family and young love, which tackles mental illnesses and the stigma that surround them. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Paige Green
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received an arc from TheNovl! Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: This is My Brain in LoveAuthor: I. W. GregorioBook Series: StandaloneRating: 5/5Diversity: Chinese and Nigerian culture/characters!Publication Date: April 14, 2020Genre: YA ContemporaryRecommended Age: 14+ (mental health discussed, love)Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young ReadersPages: 384Amazon LinkSynopsis: Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to Disclaimer: I received an arc from TheNovl! Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: This is My Brain in LoveAuthor: I. W. GregorioBook Series: StandaloneRating: 5/5Diversity: Chinese and Nigerian culture/characters!Publication Date: April 14, 2020Genre: YA ContemporaryRecommended Age: 14+ (mental health discussed, love)Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young ReadersPages: 384Amazon LinkSynopsis: Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade.Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper.Then Jocelyn's father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it's up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook).What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.Review: I thought this book was very well done. The book doesn’t shy away from the tough issues faced in this book and the characters are very well developed. The plot was intriguing and I loved how the book did with the dual POV. It was such a cute story!My only issue was that the story moves fairly slowly in places. Verdict: A well done contemporary!
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  • Shelby
    January 1, 1970
    *Thanks to The Novl for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewTHIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE was such a great read! Its a fantastic story of love, family, friendship, culture, and mental illness. First, I loved the characters. Jocelyn and Will were fun, realistic, smart protagonists, and I loved seeing both of their perspectives. Jocelyn is Asian and Will is Nigerian, and their families and cultures play a huge role in their lives and motivations. There was lots of discussion *Thanks to The Novl for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewTHIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE was such a great read! It’s a fantastic story of love, family, friendship, culture, and mental illness. First, I loved the characters. Jocelyn and Will were fun, realistic, smart protagonists, and I loved seeing both of their perspectives. Jocelyn is Asian and Will is Nigerian, and their families and cultures play a huge role in their lives and motivations. There was lots of discussion regarding culture and mental illness, which I hadn’t been fully aware of; this was a meaningful contribution to the story. I loved seeing the Asian and Nigerian cultures represented in our characters, and the food in particular that was described was excellent. In turn, family is a huge factor in their lives as well. I love a good family dynamic, and the one in this story was complicated and far from perfect, but realistic. I also loved the characters’ motivation for the restaurant they’re both trying to save; the business side of the story was executed really well and lent to the maturity of our characters. The mental illness in the story is own-voices by the author and is handled expertly. I thought the relationship between Jos and Will was also done really well and wasn’t insta-lovey, but there was immediate attraction; the balance was excellent. The characters went through realistic struggles, but towards the end of the book Jocelyn was really starting to get on my nerves, and I didn’t think she had quite the reasoning she thinks she did. She struggled throughout the book, but toward the end was really frustrating. This is my only complaint, because I did really love this book. THIS IS MY BRAIN IN LOVE is a realistic, modern love story between two teenagers that had *my* brain in love with the story.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 starsFull of tough topics, this book doesn't shy away from how real and serious mental health can be. I devoured this book and hope to have my review done soon. Thanks to the publisher for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
  • Keah
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked the diverse characters and learning a bit about Chinese and Nigerian food. And the exploration of mental health and the stigmas surrounding it was important.However, I went into this expecting a light hearted romance about two teens trying to save a restaurant but it was actually pretty heavy as it dived into mental illnesses.It also dragged a bit in the middle and I wouldn't exactly label this a romance.I feel like this book could be important for a lot of people, but it just I really liked the diverse characters and learning a bit about Chinese and Nigerian food. And the exploration of mental health and the stigmas surrounding it was important.However, I went into this expecting a light hearted romance about two teens trying to save a restaurant but it was actually pretty heavy as it dived into mental illnesses.It also dragged a bit in the middle and I wouldn't exactly label this a romance.I feel like this book could be important for a lot of people, but it just wasn't for me.(i received an arc from novl for review)
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Super informative, deeply compassionate & hopeful. An insightful exploration of how teen relationships and self-care are impacted by mental health.
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    I loved I.W. Gregorio's first book, None of the Above, so when I found out about This is My Brain in Love, I couldnt wait to get my hands on a copy of it. As it turns out, I love it even more than I loved None of the Above.There is so much to talk about in This is My Brain in Love that I dont know where to start. I love the fact that its not a one-dimension portrayal of characters of color. Every character in this book is three-dimensional, from Jocelyn and Will to Priya, to their parents.This I loved I.W. Gregorio's first book, None of the Above, so when I found out about This is My Brain in Love, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of it. As it turns out, I love it even more than I loved None of the Above.There is so much to talk about in This is My Brain in Love that I don’t know where to start. I love the fact that it’s not a one-dimension portrayal of characters of color. Every character in this book is three-dimensional, from Jocelyn and Will to Priya, to their parents.This is a book that brings up racism, not only in how the characters experience racism and microaggressions, but in how their families participate in racism as well. Jocelyn’s parents, in particular, display their own racism against Will and against other Asians.This is a book that at times touches on privilege and wealth and those who have it and those who don’t.But above all, this is a book about the mental health of two teens.Gregorio has done an incredible job creating two characters who have mental illnesses that impact their everyday lives, and who have to deal with the stigma of their disorders, all while not stigmatizing them at all. I especially connected with Will, as I also have anxiety, and the portrayal of his anxiety was spot on. There were so many moments when he reminded me of myself. The portrayal of Jocelyn’s depression was also perfect. Gregorio understands the ups and downs of anxiety and depression and was able to capture them wonderfully throughout the novel. This book also discusses the stigma of mental health, particularly within Will’s and Jocelyn’s culture, again in a way that was well-executed.I love the characters in this book—all of them, not just Will and Jocelyn. But what I especially love about Will and Jocelyn is that they’re real, flawed characters, not because of their anxiety and depression, but because everyone is real and flawed. There were moments when I loved them and there were moments when I couldn’t stand them. Their anxiety and depression is raw and real and heartbreaking at times, and it was impossible for me to feel anything but empathy and compassion for them, and I wanted so badly for everything to work out for them in the end. I don’t necessarily mean I wanted a happy ending; rather, I wanted them to be in a place where they could talk to their family about their mental health and ask for help.The other thing I really love about this book is that it doesn’t romanticize mental illness, and it talks about how people who have mental illnesses interact with each other and how difficult that can be. There are moments in the book when Will and Jocelyn question their actions and how they’re affecting each other. Will worries that something he says to Jocelyn might increase her depression. Jocelyn worries that something she says to Will might increase his anxiety. They aren’t trying to fix or save each other; they’re trying to love and support each other and navigate the complexities of having a relationship with someone who has a mental illness when you yourself have a mental illness. They don’t always say the right things, and they don’t always respond to each other in a way that’s healthy, but they’re trying. This is such a complex and nuanced topic with mental illness that I haven’t really seen addressed in other YA books. People with mental illness don’t live in a vacuum, and mental illness is so prevalent that at some point, someone who has anxiety or depression is bound to know someone who also has a mental illness. I love it that Gregorio recognizes and chose to create characters who aren’t trying to save or fix each other and instead focuses on characters who have compassion and empathy and who recognize that their words and actions can affect other people in positive and negative ways, and who are just trying to figure things out.Last: This book is pro-therapy, which we need more of, and it’s also pro-medication for those who truly need it. Gregorio recognizes that medication isn’t for everyone who has a mental illness, and she takes care in discussing why and when an individual might decide it’s time to try medication. We need more of that, too.Overall: This is My Brain in Love is a wonderfully nuanced examination of mental health in which Gregorio destigmatizes mental health, particularly in minorities. YA needs more books like this, and I am so grateful that this one exists.
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  • Abbie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sorry but I didn't like Jocelyn.
  • Beth Menendez
    January 1, 1970
    Loved the real liked struggle these teens faced and solved their problem in ways that are not really just a bow and moving on. I liked their solutions were fairly realistic to what teenagers are capable of and I liked the dialogue this book will open.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    I've been looking for a YA novel that digs deeper into mental health, and This is My Brain in Love was everything I hoped it would be. I.W. Gregorio really gets into the heads of teens and portrays mental health issues with complexity and care.When Jocelyn learns that her familys restaurant, A-Plus Chinese Garden, is struggling, she hires a new employee to help increase their business so that her family wont have to move (again). That new employee is Will, who needs a summer job for his resume. I've been looking for a YA novel that digs deeper into mental health, and This is My Brain in Love was everything I hoped it would be. I.W. Gregorio really gets into the heads of teens and portrays mental health issues with complexity and care.When Jocelyn learns that her family’s restaurant, A-Plus Chinese Garden, is struggling, she hires a new employee to help increase their business so that her family won’t have to move (again). That new employee is Will, who needs a summer job for his resume. In alternating perspectives, Jocelyn and Will express worries, fears, and joy as they fall for each other while working toward their goals. Their voices felt both distinct and authentic.Will has been seeing a psychologist for anxiety disorders for several years, and as he and Jocelyn grow closer, he notices that she is struggling. It’s a difficult subject for Will to broach, and Jocelyn’s path to admitting she needs help isn’t easy. I appreciated the conversations about therapy, prescription drugs, and depression, as well as the author’s note at the end about her own experiences.Plus, saving the restaurant isn’t just a plot device to set up the romance; Jocelyn and Will put business plans into action, like promoting at a local event and targeting the college population. I found their enthusiasm and drive so motivating and loved the detail that went into this aspect of the book.This is My Brain in Love offers diverse perspectives and a heartfelt exploration of mental health, family, and young love—and it’s sure to be one of my favorite YA contemporary novels of the year.I received an advance review copy from NOVL.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    #ThisIsMyBraininLove#MustReadBrilliant book about race, family, and finding ourselves in a mixed up world.
  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    When Jocelyn finds out that they might have to move because her family restaurant isn't making money, she goes into overdrive. She hires Will to help them grow the business. Will wants a better position at his school newspaper and the faculty advisor says he needs more experience building a team, so he agrees to work at the restaurant. This is My Brain in Love has so much going on and it all works. Jocelyn is Taiwanese, has depression, and her family is not well off. Will is black, has anxiety, When Jocelyn finds out that they might have to move because her family restaurant isn't making money, she goes into overdrive. She hires Will to help them grow the business. Will wants a better position at his school newspaper and the faculty advisor says he needs more experience building a team, so he agrees to work at the restaurant. This is My Brain in Love has so much going on and it all works. Jocelyn is Taiwanese, has depression, and her family is not well off. Will is black, has anxiety, and his family has plenty of money. There is lots of talk of the two families' cultural backgrounds that fits really well here without being forced. And the description of the two characters mental difficulties is done in a way that feels entirely real. I'd definitely recommend this.
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  • Lovely Loveday
    January 1, 1970
    This is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio a sweet young adult romance that will sweep you off your feet. A story about two teens who deal with being first-generation immigrant kids that is charming and full of heart. Follow along as they face struggles that every teen faces along with being part of a small family business, mental health issues and falling in love. Recommended for fans of The Sun Is Also a Star. This well-written story will pull you into the lives of the characters as you go on This is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio a sweet young adult romance that will sweep you off your feet. A story about two teens who deal with being first-generation immigrant kids that is charming and full of heart. Follow along as they face struggles that every teen faces along with being part of a small family business, mental health issues and falling in love. Recommended for fans of The Sun Is Also a Star. This well-written story will pull you into the lives of the characters as you go on an emotional roller coaster of discovery. This is My Brain in Love is more than a young adult romance with its underlying and intuitive sensitiveness to the characters. Gregorio showcases honesty and compassion with her well researched and well-written novel. This is My Brain in Love is a must-read that you do not want to miss!
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  • Allison Renner
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to KidLitExchange and Little Brown Young Readers for sharing This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio. This book will be released April 14, 2020, so get excited! This is one you won't want to miss.Jocelyn Wu has always helped out in A-Plus Chinese Garden, her family's restaurant. She and her little brother help cook, serve, clean up, roll silverware, and more - all while juggling their schoolwork and social life. Well, at least now Jos has a social life. It took her awhile to make Thanks to KidLitExchange and Little Brown Young Readers for sharing This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio. This book will be released April 14, 2020, so get excited! This is one you won't want to miss.Jocelyn Wu has always helped out in A-Plus Chinese Garden, her family's restaurant. She and her little brother help cook, serve, clean up, roll silverware, and more - all while juggling their schoolwork and social life. Well, at least now Jos has a social life. It took her awhile to make friends in her small, homogeneous town, but now she has a best friend, Priya, and they spend all their free time making movies. When news breaks that the family's business is failing, Jos begs her dad to let her help revive the restaurant. She's determined to build a social media presence and bring in more customers. Her dad grudgingly agrees, and even lets Jos hire an intern.Enter Will, a journalist-in-the-making who needs a summer job. He doesn't know what to expect, but he's good at coding, so Jos immediately hires him for the restaurant. Will has to push past his anxiety to help the business, but he doesn't mind, because he's finding he likes Jos as more than just a coworker. The more they work together, the more Will notices that Jos seems to have some mental hindrances. He tactfully tries to express his concerns, but even though she knows something is wrong, too, Jocelyn isn't receptive. She can't afford to admit defeat on any front - not with her family's livelihood and her budding social life at stake.This Is My Brain in Love is told in two distinct voices. Will and Jocelyn are relatable and honest, and the way they talk about mental health is needed. The storylines are interesting and engaging while still being realistic - there aren't unrealistically high stakes or a glossed-over happy ending. But mental health is handled in a way where readers will understand the story and develop empathy, or they will see themselves in the characters and know what steps can be taken to get help - and that it's ok to want and need that help. I.W. Gregorio is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and has previously published None of the Above, which is another must-read!
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  • Daphne
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from TheNovl for an honest review.I'd rate more as 4.5 stars. My first book by this author, I knew going into it that it'd be diverse and talk about mental health, and it delivered on both. The book follows the dual POVs of Jocelyn (Jos) Wu and William (Will) Dominici, and is set in a small(ish) town called Utica in central New York. Jocelyn's family own a small Chinese restaurant named A-Plus Chinese Garden, and in an effort to help her family's business and not have to move, I received an ARC from TheNovl for an honest review.I'd rate more as 4.5 stars. My first book by this author, I knew going into it that it'd be diverse and talk about mental health, and it delivered on both. The book follows the dual POVs of Jocelyn (Jos) Wu and William (Will) Dominici, and is set in a small(ish) town called Utica in central New York. Jocelyn's family own a small Chinese restaurant named A-Plus Chinese Garden, and in an effort to help her family's business and not have to move, Jos gets the okay to hire Will for the summer to help with the restaurant in multiple ways like social media, website, outreach, etc. I loved that both MCs were people of color, yet have had both similar and different experiences growing up. Jos is the daughter of two immigrant parents of Chinese descent, while Will is half Nigerian (his mom's side) and of half Italian descent (his dad's side). Both characters also have economic differences, with the Wu's working seven days a week to run their restaurant and barely making a profit, while the Dominici's don't have to worry about money to that extent, with Will's mother working as an OB/GYN and his father working as a patent lawyer. There were many relatable parts for me, as I am also a first generation Asian American like Jocelyn, and characteristics of her family seemed similar in some areas, although I have to admit that my parents were never as strict as hers or as demanding of me (she has a extremely strong restaurant work ethic!). Jos is smart and loyal, yet can be hard on herself and suffer from self-esteem issues. She also has avoidance tendencies with harsh moods that hurt her loved ones. She can be highly cynical, which made it hard to like how she acted sometimes, but it felt real and human of her, and those facets of her are also part of the things she has to face. Will is sweet, smart, and caring. He suffers from anxiety, but has been getting help for it since he was eight years old. He's always worrying about his actions and their effects on other people, but that part of his character helps to bring up possible issues with Jos with his highly observant behavior, and that also helps him support her. He's seriously the sweetest.Jos and Will working together to help the restaurant was fun and interesting to read about- all the tactics and efforts made + the business planning to improve it. Amidst it all, there's attraction between the two and it was adorable to read of them falling for each other with all the young love feels. The romance was sweet, although not without its rocky moments like with Jos' family's (infuriating) interference and Jocelyn's own issues that are addressed throughout the story and something she has to acknowledge and seek help for. Besides the two main characters, Jos has an awesome best friend name Priya and their passion with films and tropes was an amusing addition throughout. Even though Jocelyn's family could be frustrating, they love one another even where there's moments with conflict, stemming from those generational differences and gaps between experiences of an immigrant vs a born-and-raised American. I loved the references to the food that had me salivating while reading- not just descriptions of Chinese food like dumplings and congee, but also Nigerian food from Will's experience like egusi stew and jollof rice, which coincidentally, I just read about recently in Notes from a Young Black Chef. Besides the diversity in the pages, I liked the look at mental health, especially when it's examined from a non-white perspective, with the common denial or dismissing of needing professional mental health help, both from Jos' family's side, and Will's Nigerian side (for example, his grandmother). Receiving additional mental care help is something both characters have to face. Even though those serious topics are discussed, the book made me laugh plenty of times.I appreciated the conversation on mental health like depression and anxiety, the depictions of it, the characters, and all the diversity. It was a mix of funny, heartfelt, and real, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    Chinese food, diverse characters, teenage love, and exploration of mental illness which not mentioned enough in the Asian community, whats not to like? While this book started off with a strong start, the last third of the book was a disappointment and left me wanting a lot more.It was a tad bit too long. I struggled with the middle as it dragged on, eventually skipped some. Also, some of the similes used throughout the book were odd: lips compared to a mochi cake, feelings compared to a Game of Chinese food, diverse characters, teenage love, and exploration of mental illness which not mentioned enough in the Asian community, what’s not to like? While this book started off with a strong start, the last third of the book was a disappointment and left me wanting a lot more.It was a tad bit too long. I struggled with the middle as it dragged on, eventually skipped some. Also, some of the similes used throughout the book were odd: lips compared to a mochi cake, feelings compared to a Game of Thrones character, mentioning The Godfather. (Why are HS sophomores watching these shows/movies?). Also, the flow of the book seemed unbalanced. Author tries to capture so much it just ended up feeling jumbled.I did enjoy Will’s narrative. The story of a shy teenager that thinks way too much who struggles with anxiety, I think was done well. Jos’ POV, not so much. And this is what I struggled with the most. Jos has a LOT on her plate- family business, dating, college, quarrels with friends and bf. She becomes a distant and quiet for a day or two after a chain of events. She’s immediately told she has depression and needs to get help. By another teenager.I know not one mental illness is the same, but with Jos’ case, her character needed to be more nuanced bc her story of mental illness was very sudden and one-dimensional. If teens are the audience, we need to tread carefully before telling an already insecure, emotional teen they need to get help. Are you just being moody bc life/hormones, or do you need therapy/ help? It just becomes such a heavy-handed theme.I did like the diverse characters, and enjoyed seeing Will & Jos put their ideas into action to save the Wu’s restaurant. I especially appreciated how she captured economic disparities (through education) between Will and Jos in subtle ways. Will builds a website and digitalizes the Wu’s business and utilizes the community through his connections. However, the length and the one-dimensional characterization of Jos and the depiction of her mental illness left me pretty disappointed. In between a 2.75-3⭐️
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  • Jyll Foy
    January 1, 1970
    There are many reassuring truths to be learned from This is My Brain in Love. Im not sure how the author crawled into the heads of these characters, but its spot-on the way teens think. And make no mistake - I was very willing to visually eavesdrop on their thoughts! My own long-past teen insecurities came rushing back around Page 192, and I felt the shadow of my teen years sneak up on me. I couldnt wait to see how these two handled it.This wonderfully written book offers more than the obvious There are many reassuring truths to be learned from This is My Brain in Love. I’m not sure how the author crawled into the heads of these characters, but it’s spot-on the way teens think. And make no mistake - I was very willing to visually eavesdrop on their thoughts! My own long-past teen insecurities came rushing back around Page 192, and I felt the shadow of my teen years sneak up on me. I couldn’t wait to see how these two handled it.This wonderfully written book offers more than the obvious story lines. With underlying and intuitive sensitiveness to the characters, the author showcases honesty, compassion and understanding in the telling. Along with the growing trust between Will and Jocelyn comes permission to finally say the Unspeakable Word - because depression doesn’t discriminate. Of course I knew this, but I’d forgotten until I read this book.As much as the dialogue in this book focuses on the story line of Will and Jocelyn’s relationship, the message that resonated with me, as I am sure will with the YA audience, is the reassurance that those coping with mental health issues on a daily basis have untold company. Even the most casual Reader will understand that as paralyzing and isolating as the feelings of a mental health diagnosis can be, there is treatment that can help. And there need be no shame in asking for help. How I wish this book had been written when I was a teen!
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  • Kate Anthony
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to I.W. Gregorio and her publishing team for an advanced copy of This Is My Brain in Love. Boy oh boy, where do I begin? This book is LOVELY for many reasons. here are some pros. The focus on REAL teenage struggles is beautifully conveyed and described through writing and word choice. The focus on racial injustice and mental health were beautifully done. All tough issues addressed are fully addressed as well and nothing is glossed over. The two POVs - neither of them bothered me in Thank you to I.W. Gregorio and her publishing team for an advanced copy of This Is My Brain in Love. Boy oh boy, where do I begin? This book is LOVELY for many reasons. here are some pros. The focus on REAL teenage struggles is beautifully conveyed and described through writing and word choice. The focus on racial injustice and mental health were beautifully done. All tough issues addressed are fully addressed as well and nothing is glossed over. The two POVs - neither of them bothered me in ways, in fact, I loved their arcs throughout the entire novel. Joc and Will provide a refreshing escape for a YA pairing and I really enjoyed seeing how they grew on their own as well as together. I was a really big fan of seeing the contrasting between Joc's Chinese American life and Chinese parents and Will's Nigerian Culture - another addition to why I loved them as characters. I am someone who has had major mental health issues over my years and found myself relating to Will a lot. If I can provide any cons it would be:I loved Priya but I wish we saw more of Will's friends as well. Portions felt a bit slow for me. Overall I really enjoyed this book! I know I'll be picking it up again, maybe while sitting in a Chinese restaurant perhaps? 4.5/5
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Mental health, race and self love are the main topics in this touching romance written by Gregorio. Will struggles with anxiety and he doesn't ever forget that his name doesn't exactly scream biracial. Jos has just learned that her family's restaurant is about to close unless a miracle happens and the last thing that Jos wants is to move away from her best friend and all she has come to love. Determined to help her father get the restaurant back on track, Jos decides to hire someone to help with Mental health, race and self love are the main topics in this touching romance written by Gregorio. Will struggles with anxiety and he doesn't ever forget that his name doesn't exactly scream biracial. Jos has just learned that her family's restaurant is about to close unless a miracle happens and the last thing that Jos wants is to move away from her best friend and all she has come to love. Determined to help her father get the restaurant back on track, Jos decides to hire someone to help with their website and social media to increase foot traffic and sales. Will applies for the job he is just hoping to break out of his comfort zone, what he doesn't expect is to fall for Jos. When Will starts to see some red flags about her behavior he struggles with whether to say something or not; Jos isn't exactly welcome to any sort of confrontation or criticism. On top of all that Jos' father has set up criteria for Will and Jos to see each other that hinges on how well the restaurant does. Gregorio strength, IMO, is her ability to write as a teenager...the feelings, the angst, the struggles, she nails all of them without sounding rude or condescending. Thanks to Hachette for the ARC!
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