Cover Image: Love, Decoded

Love, Decoded

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Member Reviews

Love, Decoded
Jennifer Yen

Love Decoded was a quick fun YA read that covers STEM, traditional matchmaking themes central to Chinese culture with a modern twist (nod to Emma), a Taiwanese American protagonist, and a bi-racial half Chinese love interest that is a friends to lovers trope. I thought this was cute, had fun characters, and I loved that this was about an app that goes viral. I enjoyed the way the story was told and though pacing could have been worked a little better towards the latter half of the book, I really enjoyed this one a lot. 

Thank you for the ARC copy all opinions are my own.
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3.5 stars

I had no idea that Jennifer Yen’s Love Decoded was an Emma retelling with an Asian main cast. However, this makes sense in hindsight since her debut was a Pride and Prejudice retelling. Love Decoded follows Gigi, the younger sister of the male lead, from A Taste for Love. While set in the same universe as the first book, there is no need to read A Taste for Love first other than you may appreciate the cameos in this book just a bit more…

Full review can be found in link attached.
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WHY DID I LISTEN TO LOVE, DECODED BY JENNIFER YEN?
If you’re looking to expand your palate when it comes to AAPI authors beyond Jenny Han, might I recommend Jennifer Yen? Love, Decoded is Yen’s sophomore book and it is such a fun read. I really enjoyed reading A Taste For Love via audio and decided to also read Love, Decoded via audio. Good choice, self. Yen so far has kind of niched, with writing contemporary retellings of Jane Austen starring Asian American teens. Love, Decoded is a loose retelling of Emma. FYI, if Yen writes more of these retellings I will happily continue to listen to them while driving and getting things done.

Love, Decoded by Jennifer Yen is a loose retelling of Emma. If Yen writes more of these retellings I will happily continue to listen to them.

WHAT’S THE STORY HERE?
Love, Decoded follows Gigi Wong, a high school student who has this drive to be the best. However, there’s always someone who is better than her in some aspect. Her friend Kyle is always gassing her up, however, so she doesn’t stay too down for long. When a new girl starts at Gigi’s posh, private school — Gigi has the idea for a friend matchmaking app. She believes this app will win her the competition for a prestigious technology internship which everyone else in her programming class is competing for. Soon, Gigi’s app goes viral and there’s some scandal and unintended consequences. She ends up making some big mistakes — how she goes about cleaning up her mess and setting things to rights — is key to her growth.

HOW DID I LIKE LOVE, DECODED?
I thought Love, Decoded was a cute audiobook. Jennifer Yen has a way of writing that made me really care about the characters. While I thought Gigi did come across as a little bit shallow at times, you could tell that she still had a big heart. She wants to do the right thing. For me, that intention does matter. Also, I liked that this book had a romance — even if it did take pretty much until the end to come to fruition. I won’t lie though, my only real understanding of Emma is Clueless so I kept making small comparisons and this did make me want to watch Clueless again. But, I thought Yen’s take was pretty unique and I did love the family that she gave Gigi too — also how it connects to A Taste For Love was awesome.


HOW’S THE NARRATION?
The audiobook is narrated by Annie Q. It is 9 hours and 6 minutes long. I found this audiobook to be really charming. It is an easy listen — and easy on the ears. Annie Q’s narration style is one that I really like — I did not find myself zoning out. I’ll admit to having sped up the narration to 1.25x but that’s because I am feeling some pressure to get through the books on my TBR.
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Gigi Wong is a perfectionist, striving to be the best at everything she does. When her teacher announces that she will be nominating a student for an app writing competition. Gigi jumps at the chance to submit an app. When transfer student Etta has difficulty making new friends, Gigi gets an idea to create a friend matching app. 

This is an Emma retelling, which I though sounded really fun when I first heard about it! But unfortunately, I just didn't vibe with this... I'm not 100% sure what it was about this story, but I just didn't enjoy it. It almost felt like a chore to finish. Everything just felt very surface level and juvenile. I also was just not a fan of Gigi, I felt like she was so incredibly selfish in everything she did. I listened to this on audiobook though, and didn't particularly enjoy the narrator when they were speaking as Etta, they made her so nasally and annoying in my opinion. I will give it major points for making multiple females have an interest, and be very successful in STEM though!
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This book was equal parts heartfelt and funny and I adored it so much! 

It was pitched as a Jane Austen inspired romcom and I was so here for it, it was very much that but also so much more! My favorite part was the women in STEM rep in here, it's always so delightful to see this shown and sends such a great message to young girls everywhere! 

So many feelings in this book and in the end, my heart just felt so full! This book is a delight and I hope to read books from Jennifer Yen in the future!
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A high school student named Gigi is from a rich Asian Family whose grandmother does matchmaking. She is interested in coding but the family wants her to matchmake and stay close to home. Gigi wants to do more than her parents expect from her. She decides to win the app competition by making an app to meet new people. Throughout the story, Gigi makes poor choices throughout the story and never fully takes responsibility for her mistakes. I had my teenage son read the book as well and he agreed with my assessment.
While some of the characters were very developed, I felt that some of the other characters fell flat. There were parts of the plot line that were great and flowed seamlessly,  but other parts that felt too convenient.- especially to development of the love story. This was a quick enjoyable read.
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This was a cute retelling of Jane Austen’s “Emma” and a friends to lovers story.

Gigi Wong is an overachiever, and puts enormous stress on herself to be the best, and perfect at whatever she does. Gigi works hard at her exclusive high school where she’s a junior, volunteers, is apprenticing with her Aunt Rose, who is a highly sought after matchmaker, and Gigi takes care of her mother, who has a heart problem. Gigi also has a great relationship with her parents, who deeply love her, but are also frequently absent due to professional commitments.

Gigi is a mentor, as part of her volunteering, and one of her mentees joins Gigi’s school on a scholarship. Etta is from a much less wealthy family, and is enthusiastic about many things, and is ignored by all her new classmates. Gigi takes Etta under her wing at school, and helps her update her wardrobe, and tries to guide her in who she should befriend in the highly competitive and frequently backbiting atmosphere at school. Gigi also dissuades Etta from talking to the former boyfriend of the school’s meanest girl, Summer, as Summer has a way of making life unpleasant for anyone she wants to.

Meanwhile, Gigi, who is a gifted programmer, decides to enter a contest to create an app. Her only competition at school is Anna, someone who gets equally good grades, and whom Gigi feels inadequate next to, and wishes she had worked harder to maintain a friendship with after something came between them.

Gigi works herself incredibly hard for the contest, and during the quality assurance phase discovers, much to her horror, that a bunch of other kids have decided to subvert the use of a part of her app to cheat.

Gigi is almost suspended, and her parents are furious. She also messes up her friendship with Etta, inadvertently sharing an unflattering opinion of the girl with another friend involved in the controversy around her app. She also loses the easy rapport she has with her best friend, biracial Kyle, the boy she’s known all her life, and who gives her heck for her behaviour to Etta (deciding how the girl should dress, spend time with, etc., and dismissing Etta’s kindness and openness).

On one level, this was a cute romance, but on the other, it also covered the intense pressure to succeed academically, and peer pressure. As well, it dealt with economic differences in friendships: Gigi can be incredibly oblivious about how her wealth gives her enormous privilege, as well as how Kyle is treated for not looking East Asian, even though he identifies as Chinese American. I liked also how well author Jennifer Yen used “Emma” effectively to deal with all this. I was never crazy about Emma Wodehouse and Mr. Knightley, but I really liked Gigi Wong and her best friend Kyle a lot. And, as a former programmer, I really appreciated how hard Jennifer Yen had Gigi work on coding her app.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Penguin Young Readers Group for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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So this was an Emma retelling? I don't remember the classics. This stands on it's own as such a cute romcom with a badass STEM female MC.
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This is such a cute romcom! The flow of the story was great and intriguing. I loved the dynamic between the characters and the development within themselves. It's my first time reading something by Jennifer Yen, I look forward to more by this author. I was laughing out loud at so many scenes in the book. I love the friend find love element. Definitely satisfied with this read!
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3.5/5 stars | to be honest, i was bored the first half of the book and almost dnf'd it but the second half it started to pick up and i was intrigued! the romance and drama is what kept me going. i also loved reading about a little bit of chinese culture. i absolutely loved how the main characters friend is filipino because i am filipino myself. i thought it was nice that the author put in words about filipino food/culture because i rarely see it in books! overall, despite half of the book not intriguing me i still enjoyed it and liked how it ended! thank you penguin teen for sending me an ARC! :)
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A fun Emma retelling that sticks surprisingly close to the original story, only with a contemporary setting (and a bit less romance). I actually wished I'd remembered that it was a retelling while I was reading--I saw it in the blurb after I'd already finished the book--because I think it would have helped me be more invested in the characters if I'd been making those comparisons while I read it. The book really picks up in the last 25% when everything starts to go terribly wrong (and then the pieces have to be put back together again). By then, I was furiously flipping the pages.
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SO CUTE! Absolutely loved the characters. I loved the focus on growing up and the matching making. This was a very lighthearted and entertaining book that was just what I needed.
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I really liked this one! I loved the first one and I was so excited to get to know Gigi! I loved the premise and I love the relationships in this book!
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I loved Jennifer's last book and this one was great too! She really taps into that YA mind frame and writes stories you can really connect with.
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Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me with an e-ARC of Love, Decoded in exchange for an honest review!

3.5 rounded up!

I didn't realize until the very end of Love, Decoded that this takes place in the A Taste for Love universe. & apparently it's an Emma retelling, which is something else I didn't realize until the end.

Love, Decoded is cute! I absolutely adored all of the characters, especially sweet Etta! It doesn't focus too much on the romance (although it subtly pops up throughout the book) & more so on Gigi & her growing up + creating her app + taking Etta under her wing.
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When I first saw Love, Decoded - based on cover, title, and some of the description I was expecting a cute rom-com, but I was met with a coming of age story instead. There was a lot going on at all times throughout the book, but this contributed to me feeling very overwhelmed, and eventually bored. It was either hard to keep track of everything or entirely impossible. I wanted more romance in this romance novel.
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I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I found the plot conflict to be messy and unclear — was it that Gigi wanted to be a matchmaker or did she feel like her family was pressuring her to be one? The heartfelt scene with her parents near the conclusion makes it clear that they don’t have any expectations of her, so then where did Gigi’s projections come from? It all made for a very confusing premise and there was little clarity at the end. I wished that Yen did more to tackle anti-Asian sentiments and talk about race in this book, aside from the quick dialogue about White-passing. What irked me the most about the book was how much Gigi reeked of privilege but fails to see it throughout the book — the callouts to brands in her OOTDs don’t help. Lots of potential for this YA book but I felt it fell short in many ways.
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From the first paragraph, I knew this book would be a good one. I immersed myself into the book from the first chapter and I cannot say enough good things about this book! Honestly amazing! The writing is incredible and the plot is just one to die for. I am absolutely obsessed with this book. My favorite part would have to be the character development throughout the book. Character development is something I look forward to and this book did not disappoint.
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This was my first book by this author and I had a fun time!

This story starts off with Gigi Wong wrapping up her final year of high school. Gigi has always wanted to be the best at everything but this last year of school is really shining some light on some unclear areas in her life and some dark spots on her character. When a school project goes south and her budding relationship with the new girl in school turns upside down, Gigi has to make some serious decisions that will affect her life forever. 

I felt a range of emotions when I was reading this book. From loving Gigi's relationship with her family and how much pride she took in the family business to laughing at how easy going and free her relationship with her bestfriend Kyle is, even though it's so obvious that he has feelings for her but Gigi is too blind to see it. But I also loved how the author wasn't afraid to show the dark areas of Gigi's character. Yes, Gigi is the prefect student and she does things out of the kindness of her heart, but she also has a lot to lean when it comes to having multiple groups of friends and treating them all the same no matter what their situation is.
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I am loving Jennifer Yen's retellings. They always feel like they add something a bit extra to the experience in this story's case, a bit of STEM magic.
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