If You Still Recognize Me

HarperTeen. May 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063283268.
Gr 8 Up–British Chinese teen Elsie Lo, whose family is from Hong Kong, is making grand-gesture plans to confess her crush on Ada, the biracial Nigerian and white British fanfiction writer she befriended on Tumblr. She’s going to try to locate Theresa, the old friend and likely long-lost love of Ada’s grandma, in the hope of earning Ada’s affections. But before her hunt across England begins, she runs into her own long lost-friend, Joan Tse, who moved away when they were 11 and never wrote Elsie back. They reconcile, catch up, and come out to each other: Joan as a lesbian, and Elsie as bisexual. Now back in each other’s lives, and along with Elsie’s best friend, Ritika, the grand-gesture adventure ensues after Elsie hears about Ada’s grandmother’s own long-lost pen pal. The novel attempts to weave together so many different back stories and side plots, sacrificing the main plot and severely slowing the narrative down before coming to its abrupt conclusion.
VERDICT Despite some bumps this is a good purchase where teens are deeply into fandom.

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