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Told in dual narrative, This Is My Brain in Love is a stunning YA contemporary romance, exploring mental health, race and, ultimately, self-acceptance, for fans of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Emergency Contact.

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. 

©2020 I. W. Gregorio (P)2020 Little, Brown Young Readers

Critic reviews

"If there's only one book you read this year, please let it be This Is Your Brain in Love! Everyone needs to read this beautiful and important book not only because it manages to be both laugh-out-loud funny and grab-a-tissue moving, but it's a novel that can open eyes, change minds, and hopefully change lives. Gregorio's writing made my heart hurt even as I was falling in love with Jocelyn and Will, two characters as complex and real as you'll ever meet on a page." (Ellen Oh, author of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings)

"Sweet, funny and full of feeling, This Is My Brain in Love is a heartfelt and earnest look at mental health in the Asian American community. Gregorio captures so many truths about living with anxiety and depression in a story full of humor, wisdom and generosity. This is a book I needed as a teenager." (Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist Picture Us in the Light)

"This is My Brain in Love is a sweet, honest love story about navigating mental illness, cross-cultural relationships, and self-acceptance. Humor and heart, happy and sad combine into a complex, contemporary romance as perfectly-blended as amah's dumplings." (Mackenzie Lee, NYT best-selling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and Loki: Where Mischief Lies)

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  • Kelly C.
  • 10-05-20


I was expecting this to a be hard hitting young adult contemporary. It was some in some ways and not in others. This does have triggers for forbidden love, mental health including stigmas around mental health, and racism. The first half of this story was pretty cute. Jocelyn is really trying to save her family restaurant and brings in Will to help. We get a lot around the restaurant the first half of the story. Honestly, not much really happened and I found myself skimming towards the end. We do not really hit anything around mental health until 2/3 into the story. I did not really like this. There was nothing leading up to introducing mental health into the story, and all of a sudden most of the characters were dealing with it. I wish we could see more into the struggles with Will and Jocelyn. It covers anxiety and depression, but you never really see them dealing with any of this until towards the very end of the story. Overall, this one was only ok for me.

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