Book Review: “Love, Decoded” by Jennifer Yen

I’ve become a little lazy over the last few years (like most folks, I assume), so one of my goals for 2022 is to read more. I was excited to come across Love, Decoded and immediately snatched it up. It seemed like a fun, modern story outside of a world I have any real knowledge of. The story follows Gigi, a high school junior living in New York, who is trying to figure out what her life is going to look like despite pressure from her family. Along the way, she makes some new friends, some old friends return, and naturally, a bit of drama ensues.

As is customary, as soon as I get a shiny new hardcover, I take off the dust jacket and stow it away. I do this partly so I can preserve the book, but also because I don’t want to be spoiled or get pictures of the characters in my head due to the artwork. This wouldn’t have mattered in this case because the characters are clear as day. Yen does a fantastic job in showing us exactly who each and every person in her world is, and in a way that doesn’t demean or focus solely on their appearances. I have found this to be more true in recent years, and I hope that the “trend” continues.

As a geriatric millennial, admittedly, I had a slightly hard time with some of the vernacular. I am not so out of touch that I didn’t understand it, but clearly, the book is not written for my demographic – which is fine! I did appreciate the very tongue-in-cheek names for the school, Superbia (a very elite private school), and SJW Tech. I don’t know if they were intended as such, but they made me smile nonetheless. I do wish there weren’t mentions of COVID since that will date the book, but I understand the struggles of writing during this time and the desire to include a brief commentary on these years.

Not only does the novel include a delicious slow-burn romance, but as a white woman, I learned a bit! I had fun learning to pronounce the Asian names and references, repeating them over and over until I had them correct. Those little touches made the entire story feel more authentic.

Overall, I really enjoyed Love, Decoded and plan to look into Yen’s other books. I can’t wait to pass this along to my fellow readers!

An advanced reader’s edition of this book was provided by the publisher, Razorbill, for review.

Buy on Bookshop Buy on Amazon