All the Right Reasons

S. & S./McElderry. Feb. 2022. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534499034.
Gr 8 Up–When Cara Hawn records a private online journal entry after a tough counseling session with her recently divorced parents, she has no idea it will change her life. It turns out that the biracial Korean American teenager didn’t actually make that post private, and the video of Cara and her mom destroying pictures of her dad has gone viral. It has grabbed the attention of the creators of a new reality dating show, Second Chance Romance, featuring single parents trying to find love along with their kids. After a whirlwind audition process, Cara and her mom are whisked off to Florida where Cara’s mom will try to find love, and Cara will evaluate her potential stepsiblings. Of course, the one thing Cara doesn’t expect is to fall in love herself. Fans of the typical reality television drama will enjoy the portrayal of this fictional show, which features everything from contestants with memorable introductory gimmicks to the traditional, universally despised villain who somehow sticks around until the finale. The backdrop of the show doesn’t overshadow the complex, realistic relationship between Cara and her mom, or the difficulties of navigating new family dynamics. Secondary characters are fleshed out well and details about the show’s production will satisfy those who want to know how real reality television is. Above all, this unconventional rom-com will have readers laughing at everything from Cara’s creative rating scales to the banter with her unexpected love interest.
VERDICT Hand this to fans of Maurene Goo and Amy Spalding, reality TV lovers, or anyone who loves a happy ending.

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