Cover Image: Dear Wendy

Dear Wendy

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Member Reviews

You know how when you read Alice Oseman's books, you feel like you're on a journey with the characters where you get into the minutiae of their lives and thoughts and feelings, and it all feels effortless from a writing perspective? This book also had a lot of that. Fortunately, getting wrapped up in imaginary people's lives one of my favorites things.

This book is warm and funny and makes you think about sexuality, gender, and social norms while never feeling like an infodump or lecture.

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I couldn't get enough of this spunky ace, YA enemies to friends story between two college teens on the aro/ace spectrum who find themselves online dating advice rivals and IRL friends. Full of great banter, a diverse group of characters and EXCELLENT on audio with a full cast of narrators, chief among them my very fav, Natalie Naudus.

What I loved the most was how relatable the queer rep was in the book and the honest, #ownvoices ace/aro rep was and the realistic discussion of the challenges associated with that identity. HIGHLY recommended for fans of authors like Amanda DeWitt. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy and @prhaudio for a complimentary ALC in exchange for my honest review!!

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When two aromantic and asexual college students start an online feud with each other while unknowingly becoming friends in real life, when their secret identities get out... will they still want to be friends? Sophie Chi loves running her instagram account where she gives out relationship advice called, "Dear Wendy". She prides herself in trying to be serious and helping people out as best as best as she can. Joanna "Jo" Ephron is pretty relaxed and started off a advice page just for fun, something that was completely opposite to Dear Wendy, which she called Dear Wanda. Now Sophie and Jo begin feuding online yet in real life they are both attending the same college and befriend each other.... however their secret online selves are far from friends. Can they find a way to keep their friendship once their secret is out? This book was just okay to me, honestly I was hoping for more but it just felt a little uderwhelming. I do however think this book is a great book for people who want to read about identity and friendship. The story really focuses on how each of the girls deal with their sexual identities and how they both want to help others and find friendship in one another. I was hoping for a bit more in the story but overall it felt like an okay read to me. I think younger readers will definitely appreciate the coming of age/ coming into identity that the story discusses though and would recommend it.

*Thanks Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group | Feiwel & Friends for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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This is such a special book, and I hope it does extremely well and there will be many more aroace books to follow.

Essentially, this is a platonic romcom. It follows two aroace main characters, and it uses so many romcom tropes for their budding friendship. This truly felt like a love letter to aroace people, and it was amazing seeing a beautiful friendship like this centered in the story. We need more friendship books!

I loved how funny this was, how lowstakes but very introspective, how many wonderful characters there were, and especially seeing these two aroace people find community, and all the wonderful conversations about their experiences.

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YA contemporary college platonic love story featuring two aroace MCs who become friends while unknowingly running rival advice instagram accounts at Wellesley. This novel is an absolute delight. It is a story of love and joy as well as coming of age. The characters are well defined and knowable, and we get a good look into some of the difficulties a-spec folks are faced with in a society obsessed with romantic love. Our MCs deal with erasure and dismissal from people both in and out of the LGBTQ community, and even some internalized aphobia. But we also see their individual support systems and witness their connection to and comfort in one another as friends whose understanding comes from experience. This novel is an interesting snapshot of our time, when awareness and understanding of a-spec sexualities is patchy at best. Happily though, the novel strikes a decidedly hopeful tone.

Zhao's writing is clear and lively and a dream to read. Cuts like butter. Required reading.

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This was the aroace platonic love story I didn’t know I needed until now.

Dear Wendy is a heartfelt and funny contemporary YA story about two aromantic and asexual first-year Wellesley students who get into an online rivalry with each other’s anonymous advice Instagram accounts while slowly, and unknowingly, become close friends in real life.

I loved Sophie and Jo’s relationship as well as the explorations of their aroace and gender identities in a society so dominated by notions of physical attraction and romantic love. I feel that Ann Zhao beautifully captures the messiness and confusion of being a nineteen year old trying to figure out who they are in the world. There were so many passages in the book that I highlighted mainly because it was putting into writing so many of my own thoughts that I had while trying to understand my own a-spec identity back in school. In particular, I related very much to Sophie’s own struggles with coming out to immigrant parents, and the oftentimes nuanced complications of understanding queerness within immigrant families who come from a very different cultural background. Zhao does a brilliant job at crafting distinct voices and personalities for Sophie and Jo, and showcases a compelling story arc for both.

Full of gen-z internet humour and the observations of love in its various forms, Dear Wendy is a wonderfully queer love story about self-acceptance and the power of platonic relationships.

Thank you to Fierce Reads, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, and Colored Pages Book Tour for a gifted early copy of this book.

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I was so incredibly excited for this book, but sadly I couldn't make it through. I stopped around page 55. However, I did appreciate the aroace rep, and it was nice that there were other queer characters aside from the two main characters. My main issues were that the dialogue between characters often seemed forced, and I found the main characters, Sophie and Jo, very annoying and their Instagram feud was even more annoying. There didn't seem to be a real reason for it. I would probably read other books by this author though!
Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for a digital copy in exchange for a review.

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<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

A solid, middle-of-the-road book for me. If you like lighthearted contemporaries that focus on identity, this is a great pick. Plus, it's one of the rare YA books (and actually YA, not adult/new adult) that's set in college!

The strongest element for sure was the aro/ace representation, which is what I came for. It did a good job of capturing the fact that asexuality is a spectrum and normalized it as an identity. Everything else though was a bit more rocky. Most noticeably for me was the voice/writing style. I'm constantly clamoring for YA books set in college, so I definitely didn't want this to sound like an adult book; however, both characters' voices sounded incredibly juvenile. I'm always hesitant to use that word when it comes to critiquing YA because there's nothing worse than an adult reviewer complaining that the teens in a teen book sound too much like teens--doesn't make sense. But in the case of <i>Dear Wendy</i>, the voice bordered on sounding like middle grade. I do think that there's a place for YA books with a younger voice since there are YA books with much younger characters, but for this book, it made it difficult to believe that these characters were in college.

Regarding the plot, I wasn't very invested in the whole Instagram feud thing. I do think that's connected with the juvenile voice thing though. It just felt like such a sudden, unrealistic thing to get so disproportionately mad over. It kind of reminded me of Season 4 of Sex Education (which I love), but with not enough dramatic moments to lead to such dramatic responses. The feud honestly made me really dislike Sophie and Jo, as it brought out a mean side to both of them that I couldn't enjoy (unlike in Sex Education, where everyone is kind of mean and toxic, but I fully enjoy it).

And then the last thing that's probably more of a personal thing but who knows: I wish the Wellesley love was toned down a bit. It became distracting, and it sort of chipped away at the relatability of the book, which I think is important in identity-based YA contemporaries. It wasn't the end of the world and it might not be an issue for other people, but I thought it created distance between the author and the reader.

Despite my long, fleshed-out list of cons, I still thought it was an enjoyable, easy read. If you're looking for ace rep and some bantering, this is a decent pick.

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Thank you to Netgalley for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

FINALLY! AN AROACE PLATONIC ROMANCE! BLESS!

Dear Wendy is a beautiful romantic comedy that really hits the aroace rep where it hurts. Both Sophie and Jo have their own experiences when it comes to their a-spec identity, but somehow both feel extremely relatable to myself. I felt just too seen.

The comedy is gold and really corresponds to LGBTQ+ gen-z culture. As a millennial that is borderline gen-z, I could really see fresh eighteen-year-olds talking like this, while also adding drama that has me laughing out loud. I love all of the cringey pop culture references and how even Wanda and Wendy's posts are formatted to look like Instagram posts/stories. Go into this story expecting not to take everything seriously. Just embrace the cringe of young college queer students.

The last quarter of the novel really captured the aroace experience and challenges. In a society that constantly prioritizes romantic relationships over platonic ones, both Sophie and Jo experience strong character development and face their inner fears through each other. I really loved how these topics were addressed--in a casual, but delicate and validating way.

I think this would make a perfect young adult Netflix flick.

NETFLIX PLEASE!!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

This book was such a beautiful friendship love story. I loved how messy they were and how they grew through their mistakes. They felt like real people. I loved the way queerness, and identity were talked about and the diversity the cast had.

The conversation around identifying as aro/ace spec was so genuine.

I will think about these characters for a long time.

If possible, I feel like I’m a Wendy and a Wanda. But I feel like my indecision makes me a Wendy.

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(4/5) adorable amazing fantastic. i thoroughly enjoyed this, although i will say, not a fan of the modern references. they felt constant and sometimes out of place in a scene. ALSO. i was absolutely shocked when i opened this arc and saw my hometown called out in the first page?? hello?? talk about crazy coincidences.

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I have had this book on my TBR literally since the day the deal for this was announced — before it even had a cover and (I think) a goodreads page?? I don't even think I identified as aroace when I first heard about it. I certainly had no idea that I would end up at a small, historically women's college not too far from where this book is set. So, getting approved to read this book early? The literal DREAM. And even though I did not enjoy this one, it means a lot to me that I'm in the position to read and review books that so closely resemble under-represented aspects of my life! So thank you to Macmillan (Feiwel & Friends) for the eARC for honest review.

DEAR WENDY follows two aroace students in their first year at Wellesley College, a historically women's college in Massachusetts. This is (supposed to be) a platonic love story, where Jo and Sophie form an online rivalry through their anonymous relationship advice blogs, while unknowingly growing into close friends in real life. There's a lot of use of the Wendy/Wanda dynamic at Wellesley: Wendy (our Sophie) is the put-together, always-prepared, thoughtful character type, while Wanda (our Jo) is goofy, cool, and more of a relatable mess.

Here's the thing: there wasn't really a single aspect of this book that fully developed. There were some moments in the beginning where Jo or Sophie would passingly reflect on part of their aroace identities and I was so ready to see these thoughts evolve and to observe their effects on their lives and relationships. But rather than exploring these concepts through the story, they just kept being thrown at the reader in a superficial way.

The only aspect I felt was sorta demonstrated through the story was Jo's fears and uncertainty about companionship as someone who can't and doesn't want to experience romantic/sexual relationships. Yet, while this was the only aspect of their aroace identity that had any real bearing on the plot, it kept being brushed off? Every time Jo would mention it, Sophie would respond with some sort of variation of "yeah, I used to feel like that but I'm past that now" and then we'd get some internal monologue about how much Jo wishes she had it together like Sophie. (And this EXACT discussion happened so many times in this novel!!)

In general, I felt like there was way too much telling and not nearly enough of the characters experiencing what they were talking about. At least half the book was Jo and Sophie either in a discussion during class or discussing identity when hanging out together. And every single time, they just shared conclusions they had come to and were like "omg same" and then moved on to the next suuuper relatable experience. It was like the author was trying to tick the box on every aspect of aroace discourse?? I don't want a list of ways people can be aroace, I want to sympathize and understand the actual, lived experiences of these specific characters.

I think there's something to be said about stories where the characters already are comfortable with their queerness, about allowing people who are past the initial self-discovery moment to live and exist as who they understand themselves. But if you're not going to have a coming-of-age story arc, I'm gonna need some character development. Sophie did not change from page 1 to the very end. Plus, because Jo's little moments of vulnerability were only approached at a surface level and given such concise and formulated answers, the story did not build. By the time the climax happened, I was underwhelmed.

I also just felt like the online rivalry between their online, dating advice personas was really petty and not at all funny. They were straight-up rude and nasty to each other, especially Sophie. She would literally acknowledge that something "Wanda" said was obviously a joke and then proceed to take it wayyy too seriously and give a mini essay on why they were wrong.

Also, even the in-person banter felt forced. So many times, one of them (usually Sophie) would make a supremely boring joke and they were described as "bursting into laughter" for long periods of time? Maybe it's just me (it's not just me), but I feel like banter shouldn't have to be pointed out as hilarious to be funny. It actually... makes it less funny. There was also heavy reliance on pop culture that already feels outdated and this book hasn't even come out yet.

We need more aro and ace fiction, more non-romance queer YA, and especially more of these stories from authors of color. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend DEAR WENDY for this because I do not feel it develops any of these concepts beyond what's already been said better by others.

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Funny, heartfelt, and real. Dear Wendy takes you on the most hilarious yet powerful journey of identity, sexuality, and friendship. Ann's contemporary voice SHINES on the pages and makes one feel so seen and loved.

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4.75 stars
I am LIVING for the a-spec representation in this book! As an asexual person, these characters made me feel so seen in many different ways.

Sophie and Jo are both aroace and attending Wellesley, and they are both secretly running anonymous advice accounts on Instagram. One is a serious advice column, and the other is a snarky take on it. Their rivalry heats up as their in-person friendship blossoms.

This is one of those books that I wish I'd had a decade ago. I love the platonic love, the Sapphic relationships around the two main characters, and the mixed media format of their posts and texts. I adore the various BIPOC representations and the college-level discussions of exclusion and attraction. The family and friendship dynamics were really interesting, and I adore the idea of an a-spec club.

I think the writing could have been tightened up a little bit, and I unfortunately think this book will not have the lasting power since it is so focused on actual current technology. But I definitely look forward to seeing more from this author with hopefully more a-spec characters!

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sophie chi, an aromantic and asexual college student, runs an instagram account called “dear wendy” dedicated to giving relationship advice, despite knowing she’ll never have a relationship of her own. jo ephron creates a parody of “dear wendy” called “sincerely wanda,” not expecting it to gain as much traction as it did. the two feud online, but keep their identities secret in real life, leading to the two becoming friends who bond over their shared aroace identities.

this was such a sweet book! i love the idea of two people with secret identities having different dynamics online than they do in person. both of their reactions to the other’s online identities made sense to me, too.

i loved reading about sophie and jo bonding over being aroace, as i’m sure this can feel isolating sometimes. they also had different reactions to being aroace: sophie has mostly accepted it, but jo is still coming around to it. i liked how both sides were represented. it was also cool how they set up a club for fellow aspec students!

side note: soooo many books were referenced in this one, and it was really fun trying to piece together the clues to see which specific book they were talking about!

i highly recommend this book to any YA readers!

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This book would fit so well with a fresh cup of coffee, crisp fall air, and the exciting feeling you get when school begins again.

"Dear Wendy" focuses on two characters, Sophie and Jo, who both run anonymous Instagram advice accounts for students at Wellesley. Both characters are aroace college students who deal with their own struggles of loneliness, friendship disasters, difficult families, and trying to build friendship and community during their freshman year of college. Sophie is a "Wendy," a type-A student who gets stuff done. And Jo is a "Wanda," a student who is more laid back.

I enjoyed the banter between Sophie and Jo throughout the novel so much. While the novel got serious at times, these two characters still made me smile. I don't think the two characters are as different as they were supposed to be, which may be why their friendship works so well.

All of the side characters in the book were very present, which was both good and bad. When I first began reading, it was difficult to keep the characters straight in my head, but it was fine by the end of the book. I think that the side characters being so present helped make the book feel real, though.

I feel like this book needs to be published and I'm so glad that I was able to read it. It was the first book I have ever read with aroace main characters and I learned a lot. I hope to read more books focused less on romantic relationships and more on friendship because of how much I enjoyed "Dear Wendy."

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to access this book in exchange for an honest review!


I honestly loved this book so much. I loved the friendship the was shared and the characters growth!! Ugh please read it!!

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I think we need more platonic love stories like this. I had a blast reading it! Both Sophie and Jo were so vivid and complex. I found myself relating to both of them in different ways. I realized I hadn’t read a book where the main characters were aroace before and I really loved how Zhao explained all the complexities and nuances of that community. The author’s note at the beginning was especially great. I really enjoyed the Wendy and Wanda battles. They were silly and ridiculous, but I found myself cackling several times at their online banter. I did think that the story dragged on a few places, especially towards the end, but I was still loving these characters and their friendship. I loved the focus on platonic soulmates. I did also think Priya and Lianne were reeeeeeeeally judgmental and off putting at times. Overall though, this was such a sweet read and I’m so happy it exists
CW: biphobia, lesphobia, aroace phobia, mentions of diaspora

Thank you to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for an advanced digital reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

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- 3.75 stars-

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to access this book in exchange for an honest review!

I think the concept of Sophie and Jo’s growing friendship versus their growing rivalry as Wendy and Wanda is hilarious! And for those who are searching for themselves in a story and haven’t quite found it yet, this might be the book for them. I identified as ace for the better part of 8 years before finding that that was not in fact the case, but during that time, I think I would have found comfort in this book and dreamed of a friendship like Jo and Sophie’s. At this stage in my life, there were parts of this I could have passed on, namely the parts that tend to fall into that buzz-wordy category a lot of my recent reads have landed in, but given the purpose of the book, I think this was to be expected, so I won’t fault it for that.

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Wow, I really want to scream off of the rooftops about this book. Please read it! It's such a lovely aro/aspec story and I think so many will appreciate the authentic representation.

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