Cover Image: Dear Wendy

Dear Wendy

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Member Reviews

The feud between our two main asexual characters created such a fun dynamic from the start. It was nice to see a not so typical kind of love story with fresh social media features throughout. The characters were well defined and immediately made me happy to read about. I look forward to more from this author!

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Dear Wendy was, well, I don’t even know what to say. It was exactly what I wanted and everything I needed at the exact same time.

I will admit, going into it, I was worried I had hyped it so much in my head that the actual book would disappoint. (I preordered this book in April 2022, for gods sake, before I even knew how the arc request process would work.) I am very, very happy to state that it didn’t. In fact, it surpassed my expectations entirely.

Ann Zhou’s portrayal of not /only/ aroace characters, but being a non-white and queer, meant the world to me. As an Asian-American, I have never fully seen myself in any of the aroace characters in media today (and there is a distinct lack of them). And yet, for the first time, I felt so incredibly seen not just because I am aroace, but because I am a person of color as well. We need more poc queer representation, more poc /aspec/ representation, and I’m very very glad that a book like Dear Wendy exists and that I (I!!!) had the opportunity to read it (early!).

I saw most of myself in Sophie Chi, as I myself fit into the “Wendy” label probably just a little bit too much—I think every academic asian-american with parental pressure will find the Wendy label somewhat relatable—But I saw parts of myself in Jo Ephron as well. Like Sophie, I’ve identified as aroace for roughly 5 years. Like Sophie, I am asian-american (specifically, singaporean with chinese heritage—my parents’ views on being aroace are like Sophie’s parents; they don’t believe it exists.) Like Sophie, I am, and always will be, in love with college a little “too much”. (Like Sophie, I work for my school’s newspaper, I have a little sister, I love Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, I love gossip, etc. etc. etc.) But like Jo, I go to a college in my state. I live half an hour away from my parents, and go home every weekend. Like Jo, I worry immensely about being lonely in the future (I worry about everyone hating me). Like Jo, I have always felt somewhat alone, even though I have friends who care about me.

There was numerous parts throughout the book where I felt like someone had reached into a part of my thoughts, feelings, who I am, and put it within the pages of this book. I don’t think I have ever felt this seen in my life. Following Sophie and Jo’s journey and seeing learn how to be comfortable with being wholly themselves, has made me want to achieve that. And I think, because of this book, I am one step closer to accepting myself for who I am.

(Five stars. Could it be anything less?)

Thank you to Netgalley, Feiwei and Friends, (even though yall rejected my original request), and Ann Zhou for the opportunity to read this early! This review is my honest opinion and I was not paid to do it. Preorder Dear, Wendy which is out April 16th, 2024!

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What a fun an exciting novel following in the steps of Loveless! The setting of the college is well-realized and detailed (despite occasionally feeling like an ad) and the main characters have unique and engaging voices and perspectives. Although side characters can occasionally feel same-y at the beginning, they flesh out well by the end.

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This was a really well done young adult novel, it had everything that I was hoping for from the description. I was engaged with the characters and that they felt like real people in this story. It worked well with what I was hoping for. Ann Zhao has a great writing style and left me wanting to read more from the author.

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What a fun enemies-to-friends story, exploring the aroace community and college self-discovery all in one. The voice was a delight, and the inevitably colliding paths of the MCs was a beautiful trainwreck I loved to watch. A joy!

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Zhao has written a beautiful queer platonic love story that is desperately needed in the genre of "romances." Sophie and Jo represent varying aspects of the aroace spectrum, and while their experiences aren't monolithic, they are extremely relatable as someone who identifies as aroace. I wish this story was available for me when I was a young adult, and I am so glad it exists now for all of those––young or older readers to help find themselves.

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Sophie and Jo, two aromantic and asexual college students, find themselves in a big social media beef, but they don’t know each other’s real identities and they have no idea that simultaneously they’re becoming friends in real life!

We need more ace books like this!!! This was a really lighthearted, low conflict, cozy book🥰 And I loved the ace rep. It was relatable to aromantic asexuals, as well as other identities across the whole ace spectrum! The characters touched on so many topics that aro-ace people have to think about, like how friends ditch you for their significant others or worrying that you’ll wind up alone because everyone else is going to pair up with a partner. I’m not aromantic, but when the characters talked about those topics they made me feel LESS alone. And I’m so happy that teens across the asexuality spectrum will have access to the book so that they can see that they’re not alone.

Speaking of the characters, I absolutely LOVED Sophie! Sophie and I are a lot alike. I saw myself in her so much! She was so kind and very much Type A, like myself. I even related to her turning her stuffed animals around when she knew her roommate was going to be having sex in their room while she was gone. That was so funny and definitely something I would do because those babies don’t need to be exposed to all that!😂 But I just could not connect to Jo’s character. I feel like the whole internet drama was completely her fault. She not only copied Sophie’s idea, but she kept messing with her. Jo bullies Dear Wendy (Sophie’s Instagram advice account) for fun, but it’s one sided, because it’s not fun for Dear Wendy, only stressful. If it was fun for BOTH of them I could understand, but Jo is just purposely annoying people just to be annoying and I can’t stand people like that. Jo reminds me of Jimmy Pesto from Bob’s Burgers, just annoying people for fun. But, then again, I am definitely a Wendy, so maybe that’s why I just can’t connect to Jo. She’s the complete opposite of me. The book could’ve been an easy 5/5 stars for me if I didn’t dislike one of the main characters.

But other than my dislike of Jo, I loved everything else about this book and really enjoyed it! I can’t wait for ace teens (& adults actually) everywhere to be able to read and enjoy this book!

Thank you Feiwel and Friends and NetGalley for this arc! All opinions are my own.

TW: acephobia & arophobia

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I think this will be such an important book for teens, young adults, anyone who's still figuring out their identities. It's also a great story about friendship, and I think it can help bring some clarity to those college years when everything is amazing but sucks at the same time.

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Sophie and Jo, freshman at Wellesley College, both run anonymous relationship advice columns. Sophie's Dear Wendy account gives type-A, researched and thought-out advice, While Jo's Dear Wanda account gives short, laid-back advice with lots of swearing. Sophie and Jo meet in class and bond over their shared a-spec identities. This book obviously isn't a romance - it's about Sophie and Jo's friendship and navigating their futures. I enjoyed it fine, although it was slow at times and I find myself ready for it to be done.

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4.5

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC. This book and the intersectional representation made my heart very happy as an asexual person of color. This book was everything I imagined and simply didn’t disappoint.

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t's a beautiful novel that I think will find an eager audience looking for inclusive, heartfelt, and gentle representation. Every page feels like a warm hug. Zhao beautifully crafted a story that will resonate and represent readers while also showing the amazing––and various––ways our hearts can love. I can't wait to read Zhao's next book!

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I have mixed feelings about this book. One one hand, I love that Zhao is turning romance novels on its head by framing this one as a story of friendship, but with those same romance novel beats. I loved the ace representation and love for small liberal arts colleges. However, this felt like an after school special for womens, gender, and sexuality studies -- like too much dialogue, that could have been taken out, in my opinion. It made the novel drag on, when really I just wanted to see how Jo's and Sophie's relationship would develop.

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A beautiful, fun story about platonic love (and so much more) that promises to be incredibly special for those who need it. The aspec representation was great, and I enjoyed both of the lead characters, flaws and all. It's clear that their experiences, as well as the college setting itself, were heavily drawn from the author's own life, which made everything feel so real and interesting to read about. If this seems like the kind of novel that would appeal to you, you'll definitely enjoy it. And probably take a lot away from it, too.

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I really did like this one. I picked it up purely for the ace rep, and it delivered on it so much better than I ever could've dreamed. It addressed so many of the deep-seated fears I've held tightly, and it made those discussions feel like a hug. The focus on platonic love was something incredibly special to see and something we deserve to see way more often. I really, really enjoyed reading this one and I cannot wait to see what Zhao writes next.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Such a sweet read! Loved Sophie and Jo from the first page. Great pacing and great arc to their friendship. So moving too to finally get to read a book about aro ace characters! And what beautiful rep it is.

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such an amazing book!! I am so grateful to read it early. I loved Dear Wendy so much and I cannot wait to recommend it to my book club. Ann Zhao captures the times of being a college student amazingly.

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I think this book is going to mean a lot to some teens, so I'm glad it exists for them! I just felt that it read too much like a debut and could have used a few more rounds of edits. I also found Jo a bit difficult to like, particularly in how she treated her roommates.

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I've never read a story like Dear Wendy in my life! In fact, the only a-spec representation I've ever really encountered that felt legitimate was Isaac in season 2 of Heartstopper. I love that Jo and Sophie are both a-spec but completely different, fully realized characters. I love the how their internal exploration of their identities plays out differently for both of them. And I love their dynamic. I think this book will speak to people in all phases of their journey to understanding themselves. Plus the writing is just so cozy, even in the novel's most tense moments. I finished the last page feeling like I'd been wrapped up in a warm hug. Ann Zhao has created something really special here.

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Yay for more ace and aro representation in YA novels, first of all. This book didn't fully click for me, but I am in no way its target audience. I deeply wish something like this had existed when I *was* its target audience, though, I might've figured out a few things much earlier.

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I may or may not be the author of this book, so I may or may not be giving it a very biased review here, but I think this book is pretty cool. :)

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