Courtesy of Cupid

S. & S./Aladdin. Jan. 2024. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665939881.
Gr 4-8–Erin Johnson has no time for love. She may only be in middle school, but she has big plans: become a biologist; cure colon cancer; and win a Nobel Prize. And to start, she needs to secure her spot as president of the Multicultural Leadership Club. There’s only one thing standing in her way: Trevor Jin. Erin’s academic rival since kindergarten, Trevor has his eyes on the presidency, and he is ready to fight for it. Then, on her 13th birthday, Erin discovers that she is the daughter of Cupid, and she has inherited the power to make people fall in love. Erin uses her newfound abilities for her own benefit and enchants Trevor with the intention of manipulating him into dropping out of the race. But as her own feelings toward Trevor begin to change, Erin must face the consequences of meddling with love. A diverse cast of characters enriches the academic enemies trope. Erin is Black and Trevor is Korean, and they form a bond as they share their cultures with one each other. But while the triumphs and humiliations of adolescence are vividly depicted, the plot tends to wander, and the central romance lacks that spark that would make the book a more satisfying introduction to rom-coms.
VERDICT An optional purchase, except where there is a dire need for middle grade romance.

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