ARC Review: Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance

So I ended up in a bit of a Kathak dancing YouTube hole after reading this book – what a beautiful art form. I love books that introduce me to new things. Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance is a lovely YA story about two teens from completely different backgrounds who enjoy dancing. For different reasons, both Radha and Jai are a bit lost and I liked the way this united them if a little unexpectedly. I enjoyed the introduction to a new culture in a similar way to the way I did with A Pho Love Story. If you like YA stories with interesting characters that span outside of the teenagers then you will probably like this too.

Star rating: 4 stars

At the beginning of the book Radha is on the verge of becoming a world Kathak dancing superstar, but a close family betrayal leads to her dropping out of the competition and becoming an outcast in the USA Kathak community. Moving to New Jersey, she enrols in a new performing art school in hope to escape her past. There she meets Jai, a talented teenager with a passion for dance and medicine – though tight family funds mean medical school isn’t really on the cards for him. There’s a slim chance of winning some money through a regional Bollywood dance competition, but with the loss of the team choreographer it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Jai’s team with qualify…that is until Radha is convinced to choreograph to get her out of performing herself.

I loved the dance elements of this story. It gives me joy to read about characters that have such a passion for their hobbies. Radha has a difficult relationship with dance, mostly because her whole life she has been pushed to be the best by her mother who used to dance Kathak herself. The two have a strained relationship because of it. Radha also suffers from anxiety both due to stress and performing, hence her reluctance to ever perform again after dropping out of the major competition before the finals. Jai wants nothing more than to become a Doctor but his strong loyalty to his family means he is all set on helping them with the family restaurant. Radha’s choreography skills give him a new hope that extra funds might be achievable, but he knows unless she chooses to dance the team isn’t quite good enough. Their teacher has a big impact on both of their lives and it was good to see that she cared about her students. I did think that Jai’s family connection to the Director was a little strange, though.

The book isn’t without its teenage angst, and there was some very realistic drama between its central protagonists. But I liked that it was therapy positive and that both characters went on a little bit of a journey of self-discovery with the help of each other. One of the trickiest themes was the difference in wealth between Radha and Jai but I thought the author addressed it well.

How did I forget to mention the food? Part of Radha’s healing process involves her connecting with her father’s side of the family. She learns to cook with the help of family members she had lost touch with and I really enjoyed this element of the book. The book is integrated with recipes which was such a nice touch.

Overall, Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance is a great book with a lot of depth. I enjoyed learning about new cultures throughout. I think if you like YA romance then you’ll really enjoy this story – I found it really touched my heart.

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance

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