RECOMMENDED FOR YOU by Laura Silverman is a charming YA romance featuring a heartfelt cast of characters who work at the Once Upon Bookstore. If you have ever wanted to work in a book store, the setting alone will draw you in. But the main character, Shoshanna, is sure to win your heart. She juggles a lot – her moms are arguing, her car is falling apart, and the cute new guy at the book store is really annoying. Add in misunderstandings with her friends, and it’s a perfectly delightful read.
I’m so happy to welcome Laura Silverman to chat about RECOMMENDED FOR YOU.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU is a love story, but also feels like a love letter to book stores. Do you have experience working in a book store? If not, did you need to do a lot of research? Is ONCE UPON based on a real store?
It definitely is a love letter to bookstores! Some of my favorite memories as a child are picking through bookstore shelves, reading while tucked away in their corners, and asking my parents to please just buy me a few more books. I did technically work in one bookstore, but it was the textbook department of my college campus bookstore. Once Upon wasn’t based on any one store in particular, but to make it realistic, I used my own customer service experience from working other part-time jobs, researched online, and asked my good friend who worked at an indie many, many questions!
Jake and Shoshanna are an unlikely couple, yet readers will cheer for them. Was it important for you to write about young love with two Jewish characters?
Absolutely! Growing up, I never encountered Jewish characters unless the book was about the Holocaust. Although I believe it’s important to read about the Holocaust, I believe Jewish teens also deserve to see themselves in lighthearted romps. I’m quite jealous of all of those Christmas holiday romance movies and would love to see two Jewish characters fall for each other during the holidays!
Shoshanna has a big heart and good intentions, but plans don’t always work out the way she hopes. What are your thoughts about her character development as she comes to terms with her choices? Do you think she needs to dial it back a bit or is she just a little unlucky in the execution of her well-meaning deeds?
Shoshanna definitely has a big heart! She also has a lot of enthusiasm and not a lot of impulse control. But I believe it’s important to show characters growth throughout a novel. I really enjoyed writing about a teenage girl stuffed to the brim with feelings because I wanted to show that you can mature while still keeping all of your passion, eagerness, and joy. I love Shoshanna’s energy and heart, and I hope other people will too!
Tell me about Shoshanna’s very supportive group of diverse friends. Did you need to do research to make sure you portrayed them in an authentic way?
Growing up and still today, I was lucky to have a diverse group of friends from different backgrounds. This wasn’t something I actively sought out as a teen – I was just lucky to find myself part of an incredible group of people. You’ll see some reviews on books like mine and others that say the diversity is unrealistic or forced. But it’s not unrealistic at all. These are the wonderful experiences I know. And yes, I did work with sensitivity readers/consultants to help make the representation authentic and emphatic.
Thank you, Laura! Wishing you much success with RECOMMENDED FOR YOU!
Laura lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can learn more about Laura and her books here: LauraSilvermanWrites.com