Cover Image: Dear Wendy

Dear Wendy

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Member Reviews

This is a book that young adults *need*. In this story, friendship is front-and-center, while love — in more forms than just romantic — is its heart.

I got sucked into Sophie and Jo's college life very quickly as well as their Wendy/Wanda beef lol. I loved how very *college* this book (which obviously makes sense, since it's set on Wellesley's campus). I wanted to know how Sophie and Jo's Wendy/Wanda rivalry progressed/was resolved; I wanted to sit with them as they talked about being asexual (and their differing experiences with being ace-spec); I even wanted to be there while they took their classes! (See, I'm definitely a Wendy.)

A book that doesn't talk down to teens/young adults, but rather is one that talks *with* them — and, most importantly, *listens* — DEAR WENDY is an absolute must-read!

Oh, and I'm definitely a Wendy (with a smattering of Wanda's humor) :)

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This book had me sobbing from queer joy. This was, believe it or not, the first aroace story I have read, and it was everything I have ever wanted/needed. For starters I love Jo and Sophie, and related so hard to the both of them. They felt so incredibly real to me, with their fears and insecurities and passions and relationships. For Jo, I truly understood her struggles with gender identity and accepting their aroace identities, and their feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. I loved that by the end of the book she was more confident in herself. As for Sophie, I loved how confident she was in herself from the start, but I also deeply understood how it was rooted in a lack of acceptance from her family, with whom she had a complex relationship. I admired her strength so much. In both Jo and Sophie I adored their friendships, both with each other and with the side characters There was also so much queer rep in the side characters which was amazing. As for the plot, it was pretty lighthearted, composed of mostly the journey of self discovery and growth for Jo and Sophie, and of course their online rivalry. There was a perfect mix of funny, lighthearted moments, and deeper, more emotional scenes. I loved everything that happened over the course of the book, but most of all the love letter, which is Austen worthy. It made for a great conclusion to Jo and Sophie’s first year of college and this story. Overall, I highly recommend this book and it is definitely an all time favorite for me.

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This was such a cute read! I’ve never read anything like this before. A platonic love story between two humans, Jo and Sophie, who identify as aromatic and asexual. When they end up working on a group project and become friends they don’t realize they’re also fighting online using anonymous profiles. Growing up is hard so when you meet people in college who become your people and get who you are it’s the best feeling. Definitely a must read for people who love YA or are looking to diversify their reading.

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4.5/5.

i absolutely loved this book! it's such a refreshing platonic love story that was equally moving and funny. as an asian aroace girl who goes to college in america, i immediately knew i had to read this. i had really high expectations because this is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint. i really wished i had this growing up.

i loved all the characters, but most especially sophie and jo; it's great to see a book with not one, but two aroace main characters. they each represented me in such different ways, and gave two different but intersecting points of view on being aroace that were both relatable. another thing i found refreshing was that these two characters, but especially sophie, never hated themselves for being the way they are (which, believe me, happens in more aspec media than i wished). the struggles they faced were very real and made me tear up multiple times, but their self-doubts never got to the point of melodrama and lingering self-hatred, and i think the fact that they both established their fears and worries without being harsh on aspec identities really strengthened the themes of the book. i could ramble on about this forever. it was so relieving to see aroace characters who didn't hate themselves, oh my god.

i also really appreciate that not every single struggle was resolved! some conflicts just came, the characters dealt with it, then it went. or they processed their feelings with each other, and the conflict didn't magically fix itself overnight — especially with family views. i loved how realistic it was and i'm really thankful nothing fell into place miraculously. and the friendships felt so integral to all of it, even dynamics outside of the main sophie-jo friendship. it actually made me so emotional that i ended up crying and thinking about my own friends the entire last maybe 25% of the book.

i do have to say that while the writing style was very easy to follow, a lot of the aspec/queer terminology or discussion points were not that subtle, and sometimes it felt really obvious when the author was trying to explain something to the audience. i didn't mind it, it was funny to notice, but some people might want to keep that in mind.

but!! i totally recommend it. this is probably my top 1 recommendation for aspec media right now — not that there's a lot of competition, but hey, this book is a step forward. i feel so happy thinking about all the young aspecs who might come across this book, it makes me feel oddly proud of the author even if i don't know her personally. anyway please read this book especially if you love platonic love stories and think your friends are neat.

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Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao was easily 5 stars. The way platonic relationships were at the very front and center of this book was truly delightful.
Both main characters are aroace (aromantic-asexual) and it makes me happy to have found out about another book with that representation. I'm even more greatful to have been given the opportunity to read and avanced copy. The majority of the characters in this book are queer (yay!) and it's done in a really nice way of showing how not all queer people have the same experiences.
Ann's writing was so compelling and I never wanted to stop reading. There were funny scenes (the Wendy and Wanda accounts banter👀) as well as some that were more deep and sentimental.
Everyone should add this to their upcoming releases tbr!!!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an e-arc of Dear Wendy. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

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I love this book so much! More books that discuss the aro ace community in a fiction storytelling setting are greatly needed and appreciated. Please pick up this book when it comes out 🤩😄

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This was so good, I’m literally sobbing!! The absolute best aroace representation, and I loved all the references to the college campus. I felt like I knew it so well, even though I’ve never been! Sophie and Jo are amazing main characters, and HELL YES TO PLATONIC LOVE!!!!

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I really enjoyed this book! Dear Wendy and Dear Wanda are two anonymous advice accounts that have been "fighting" with each other over the internet. Meanwhile, in real life, the two owners of the account, Sophie and Jo, are becoming closer with each other, bonding over being aroace. I really enjoyed this book!

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Dear Wendy,

I randomly picked this galley from my Kindle and I was so absorbed I ended up finishing the entire book in one night.

This book is a heartfelt novel dedicated by the author to the aromantics, asexuals, and aro-aces that is perfect for fans of Sex Education and Perfect on Paper.

DW revolves on story of two aro-ace teens who started a secret relationship advice account in Instagram for Wellesby students. Both Sophie and Jo started their own account to fully express themselves and help their fellow students in whatever situation they are in. The twist is Sophie and Jo became friends in their gender class but they did not know that they are the ones handling the Dear Wanda and Dear Wendy IG accounts respectively.

What I liked the most about DW is how insightful this one is especially in giving information and sharing experiences from the perspective of aromantic, asexual, and aro-ace characters.

Both Sophie and Jo identify as aro-aces and throughout the novel, they found comfort knowing that they have each other to lean on and discuss about their experiences being aro-aces in Wellesby.

I also liked the relationship advice aspect of the book and as a big fan of the Netflix series Sex Education and Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, I enjoyed reading about the Dear Wendy and Dear Wanda entries that were scattered all throughout the book.

There are also content warnings that may trigger some readers especially the parts about homophobia, identity erasure, and bullying.

Overall, a great YA debut that will be added soon in the ever-growing queer books repertoire. 4stars

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4.5 stars

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Feiwel and Friends for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’m so grateful I got the chance to read and review this book early. As someone who’s aroace, media that represents us is very few and far between. And GOOD media is even fewer. Which is why I’m so glad this book exists for the young aroaces out there still figuring themselves out.

I loved the dual POV. I loved the characters. I loved the plot. (I am definitely a Wanda, considering I’m manually typing the caps for this since I have autocap off on my phone.) I love the portrayal of their being something other than simply friends or simply dating. That you can love someone, be /in/ love with someone, without that love having to be romantic.

As someone with immigrant parents, it was also very healing for me to see Sophie go through the phases of accepting how her parents view her sexuality. I think there’s so much media where parents are either entirely accepting or entirely unaccepting, but not much about parents who are in the middle, especially due to cultural differences between our home countries and the U.S.

All in all, I really loved this book (though I gotta dock that half a star for all the Taylor Swift refs, soz to the Swifties but her silence has been deafening.) I’m so glad we’re getting more books about aroace folks out there and I hope this will lead to more stories about aroace people being picked up in the future! Please check it out when it comes out April 16th!

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So this 3-star rating comes with some caveats, namely: I'm glad this book exists. As an aroace sapphic, I think there should be no shortage of representation, and I'm particularly glad this exists for teen audiences.

I'll start off with the things I did like:
- The Instagram feud
- The development of Jo and Sophie's friendship
- The framing of that friendship as a type of love story
- The setting was interesting and worked well for the story

Now, here are the things that didn't work for me. These aren't necessarily things I think need to be changed and they aren't inherently bad things, they just aren't a style I'm particularly interested in.
- Because this is an a-spec story, the plot structure and storylines were quite different from other things I've read. In some ways this was interesting to see play out, but overall I think in this case it made it so the stakes were too low and when conflict did come up it just felt kind of...silly? With this type of story structure, character becomes increasingly important and even though I liked the characters and their developing relationships, I still felt like there was something missing there.
- This book contains a lot of conversations between characters pertaining to a-spec identity. This will probably be a great thing for young readers and those unfamiliar with these terms, but as an a-spec person who's been on Tumblr since 2016 those conversations were kinda old potatoes. I'm sure those conversations will help lots of people, they just didn't hit for me.
- The plethora of pop culture references did get old after a while. I know it's to be expected in contemporary YA at this point, but it was just a little too much for me.

Anyway, don't let my 3 star rating deter you from reading this. It didn't fully work for me but there was still lots to love and I'm sure this book will help lots of people. Anyone who likes lighthearted stories about friendship will probably enjoy this, and I'll be interested to read Zhao's future work.

Thank you, NetGalley, for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I! Love! Books! About! Friendship!

Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao is a heartfelt coming-of-age story that follows Jo (she/her) and Sophie (she/they), two first-year students at Wellesley College who start dueling anonymous advice columns–at the same time they're befriending each other in real life, unaware of the other's online identity. It's kind of like a new spin on the old You've-Got-Mail trope, except that there's no romance in this version because Jo and Sophie are both aroace and a lot of their budding friendship is based on the the relief of finally having someone who understands the nuances of that identity. I think this is a book that's going to make people feel very, very seen, from the discussions of what it means to realize you're aroace in a world where ideas of happiness and success are often tied to the belief that you need a long-term romantic partner to the discussions of what it means to be a queer person of color/the child of immigrants (Sophie is Chinese American and a lot of the other characters are queer people of color).

It's also a very readable, engaging story. Jo and Sophie are very likable characters that also balance each other out as co-protagonists–Jo as an ambitious, type-A college student and Jo is more laid-back and yet still struggles with accepting her identity. I really appreciated the heartfelt and complex way this story explores different kinds of love, especially familial and platonic relationships. This book is about advice columns that often dispense love advice, but the story itself is also a love letter to finding community and friendship that truly understand and support you. I basically read this book in one sitting (while on a roadtrip) and I think others will be similarly sucked into the story, finding the characters appealing and the explorations of identity and platonic love honest and heartwarming. (I have to say, though, as someone who recently graduated from a different American liberal arts college with a robust student radio program, Jo has such basic taste as a DJ! Sorry, Jo, but it's true...)

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4 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and Feiwel and Friends for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

I have been anticipating this ever since I saw Ann Zhao's book deal announcement. I don't think I have ever read a novel with an aroace main character, let alone one that had two main characters who were aromantic and asexual. I was really excited to see a story centered around friendship and how important and life-changing they can be. I was also looking forward to seeing a book set in university following protagonists who were finding themselves.

This was such a quick and sweet book. I really liked how different Sophie and Jo are, despite both of them being aroace. Even their relationships with their sexualities defers from each other, showing that there isn't one type of experience. I also liked seeing how different the leads' home lives are. Sophie's relationship with her parents is completely different than Jo's, and it explains a lot about the characters' personalities and struggles. I really loved that while Sophie couldn't go to her parents with a lot of her problems and worries, she was able to reach out to her professor and have a space where she feels heard by an adult. I also liked Sophie and Jo's roommates and the friendships they had with them. I do wish there were more moments of the friend group intertwined, but I liked the interactions that they did have. I believe that the final chapters are the strongest of the book. That is when the platonic love between Sophie and Jo seemed the strongest and their bond the closest. I found it so endearing how many "romantic tropes" were used in their entirely platonic relationship.

I do feel like Jo had more of an blatant arc and changed in a more obvious way, compared to Sophie. That's not a bad thing, considering Sophie is a very internal character when it comes to her struggles, but I do wish we got to delve in her head a little deeper. I also feel that the writing had moments of being a little distant and doing more telling than showing, despite the chapters being first person. That said, this was so clearly written with love and to bring comfort to other a-spec people, especially those who feel lost or unsure about what their lives will look like. All in all, I think Ann Zhao achieved what she set out to do with this book.

I had a nice time with this book and the last few chapters truly brought a smile to my face and made my heart flutter. Seeing the development is Sophie and Jo's friendship was so beautiful. It makes me very happy that so many a-spec people, but especially a-spec teens, will have this story and be able to see themselves in it, as well as a future for themselves.

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So I'm not sure of I'm aro/ace exactly or somewhere else on the spectrum there but this book definitely hit close to home for me. It's definitely one I think could help others who are struggling to find where they fit on that spectrum or just make people feel more seen.
This is a really good book overall. It was sweet and fun and I really enjoyed the characters. I've seen this idea done a couple times before but never with aro/ace characters and I really liked that aspect of the story. I liked watching the characters bond and a romance not being the end game. Overall this is a really solid book and I definitely recommend it!

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Aroace representation is having its moment and I couldn’t be happier. Following in the steps of Alice Oseman, Ann Zhao makes a lovely debut with this casual story of two college students feuding online and finding friendship in real life. This story feels true to today’s teens and young adults who navigate the world through different platforms. I am eager to see what else Zhao has to offer as an author!

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This is such an earnest, lovely little book. You can feel how much the author cares about this book and about having representation on the page, while also having a genuinely delightful writing style that never feels inaccessible to young voices. Highly recommend.

An asexual/aromantic story for everyone who wanted all the vibes of a YA romance but for an ace-spec audience. The author's love of writing this book pours out of every page, and creates a charming, endearing experience. Would send this to young adults questioning their aromantic and asexual identities, as well as just anyone else who wants a lovely, fun time.

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Dear Wendy is perfect for fans of books like Loveless. If enjoy books with queer representation set at a college then you will absolutely want to pick up this book. I really loved the journey the two main characters took as well as the side plots. The different characters stories combining was pretty fun and I just really liked the overall message of this book. A great new YA book you will want to pick up when it is released.

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I'm not the target age range for this, and yet I've never felt more seen. As someone a-spec who's inching towards 30, this is the first time I've come across a novel that I feel, uh, gets me. Friendship trauma of being dumped for a romantic partner? Navigating feeling unwanted and unloveable? I laughed but mostly cried my way through this story. Sophie and Jo are the perfect dual POVs. An odd couple, comedy of errors type of story set against the ultra-modern, on trend issue of social media and its many pitfalls. Loved, loved, loved this. Hope it helps some queer kids who are trying to figure things out. A perfect first read for 2024.

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This book was everything. I can not and will not get over this anytime soon.

The aro/ace rep in this book was SO much better than I could have imagined. The amount of times I put this book down just to pause for a moment with how relatable something was.

The author did such an incredible job at describing what it’s like to be asexual. The feeling of loneliness that being asexual (or anything under the aro/ace umbrella) can bring was written so well. Knowing you don’t want a romantic relationship but feeling left behind or feeling pressured from family and/or society to be “normal” and find a significant other. Seeing friends get into relationships and lose interest in you. It was painfully relatable as someone under the umbrella terms of asexuality.

Sophie and Jo had such good rivals to platonic lovers’ vibes. Getting closer in person, finding someone who they could talk to about being aro/ace and quickly becoming best friends all the while online, on secret accounts being annoyed by the other.

This book was so refreshing to read. It was so queer and I just know it will help out anyone struggling with weather or not their ace or aro or anything along those terms.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5)
Release Date: 16, April 2024
POV: Switching, First Person
Rep: Aro/Ace (MCs), Chinese (MC), Lesbian (SC), Bisexual (SC), LGBTQIA+ Characters, BIPOC (SCs)

⚠️ Content Warnings:
Moderate: Acephobia/Arophobia

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Dear Wendy is a fun, modern take on a You've Got Mail storyline. Two students are both running rival advice accounts at their liberal arts college, while not knowing that they've struck a friendship within their women and gender studies class. Told through alternating perspectives, the reader waits to see when they will both figure it out, and how they will react. This was a fun read. I love books set in college, especially liberal arts college and that focus on social science, so this was perfect for me. I also liked the focus on friendship, which stood out to me as different and needed within the genre.

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