by Dahlia Adler
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 27 Jun 2023
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
"This is what it looks like when a brilliant high concept is executed to perfection. It’s got all the Dahlia Adler trademarks—romance, wry humor, specificity, and genuine emotional depth." - Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Kate in Waiting and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
A queer Sliding Doors YA rom-com in which a girl must choose between summer in NYC with her dad (and the girl she's always wanted) or LA with her estranged mom (and the guy she never saw coming).
In Dahlia Adler’s Going Bicoastal, there’s more than one path to happily ever after.
Natalya Fox has twenty-four hours to make the biggest choice of her life: stay home in NYC for the summer with her dad (and finally screw up the courage to talk to the girl she's been crushing on), or spend it with her basically estranged mom in LA (knowing this is the best chance she has to fix their relationship, if she even wants to.) (Does she want to?)
How's a girl supposed to choose?
She can't, and so both summers play out in alternating timelines - one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the girl she's always wanted. And one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the guy she never saw coming.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 524 members
This book was just pure delight. I loved the parallel timelines so much! It’s such a fun take on the pun of bi and neatly skirts the love triangle trope that this could have fallen into. I enjoyed the culture, the growth, the family bonding, the romance, and the writing style thoroughly. The ending as a choose your own adventure moment was also super cute!
CONTENT WARNING: brief mention of prior self-harm
I’m at the point with Dahlia Adler books where I don’t even need to read the blurb to know I want the book, and it’s never been more clear than with this book. All I needed to see was bisexual and I wanted to read it. The fact that it had Jewish representation only made it more appealing. But … when I started reading, I was surprised by the alternating timelines, because I seriously didn’t bother to read the blurb.
Natalya is an awesome character. She’s an only child, and in the summer before her junior year, she’s given the choice to stay in NYC for the summer with her dad or head across the country to spend her summer in LA, where her mom lives. But each of these options comes with pros and cons: staying in NYC means she’s doing what’s easy and comfortable, spending the summer with her big group of friends and the parent she’s closest with, and potentially getting to know the mysterious redhead she’s been crushing on for a while. But getting out of her comfort zone and spending the summer in LA means months with her mother, with whom her relationship is very distant, all to secure an internship she knows would look good on her resume but she isn’t sure she really wants.
The story allows both scenarios to play out, making this the ultimate bisexual dream. I really enjoyed seeing how both experiences challenged Natalya, allowing her to grow and change. At 17, she’s struggling with the path her life should take, especially when (on both coasts), she’s surrounded by people who know exactly what they want to do, and she’s kind of foundering. As she forges a path in each scenario, she realizes more about herself and discovers a new path forward for herself, but what was intriguing was not only the differences between how things go on each coast, but what stays the same in each scenario.
Perhaps my favorite part of this story was the proud Jewish representation in it. Every Jewish family practices differently, and this is never more clear than in this book. Natalya and her father make sure to have Shabbat dinner every Friday night, and to avoid using electronics afterwards, instead spending the night reading on the couch together. Their neighbors are Orthodox, and are much more observant than Natalya and her father, but Natalya does keep kosher, which gets brought up more than once in the story. When she goes to LA, her mother is more of a secular Jew and doesn’t have Shabbat dinner or practice much of anything.
I especially loved the fact that not only isn’t there any negative pushback on the Jewish representation, or any antisemitism incorporated into the story, but there are also a number of openly LGBTQ and non-binary characters in the story, and there’s nothing harmful regarding that either. None of the characters experience homophobia, transphobia, or anything negative, and it was beautiful to see a book with so few triggers. There is mention of divorce and a brief mention of prior self-harm, but overall this was a sweet, fluffy romance that was beautiful. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come with any samples of the food mentioned in it, because now I’m starving!
Okay, this book was an absolute DELIGHT to read! I thought the way this book was written was so freaking cool. It felt like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I liked seeing the different ways Natalya grew, depending on her environment and the people she had around her. Also, the way bisexuality was done was top notch. I did feel more connected to her story in L.A. with her mom and Adam (found family AND food trucks!), but her story in New York was also really great. I loved both groups of friends she had in both places, but like I said, the L.A. group just really spoke to me. I also loved the way L.A. was more food focused (do not read this on an empty stomach!) and NYC was more about music. I don’t know, I just loved this book. I haven’t stopped smiling since I finished it. What a cool way to write a story about choices and expanding your horizons.
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an advanced digital reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
Eternal gratitude to Wednesday Books for an arc of this one!
When Natalya has to choose between two options for her summer- stay with Dad in New York City, or visit her estranged mother in LA- it feels impossible to choose. So she chooses both. Cue the split into two possible timelines as Natalya experiences summer in New York with the hot redhead at the same time as summer in LA with the hot intern. All the while, both Natalya's are figuring out what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
This was so good! I knew I would love it because Dahlia Adler is a god, but this was so so good. I don't understand how I could root so hard for two completely different options at the same time! I love both Elly and Adam and how creative and determined they both are. It's so cool to be able to see both possibilities.
I truly love Natalya and her friends and family so much! There are so many interesting characters in this book I just want a spin off for everyone of them. Like please give me a book about Evan and Mateo!!!
I learned a lot about Shabbat dinners from this book which is super cool. I love how confident Nat is in both her bisexuality and her religion! And it was cool to see the way she experienced those things with her parents.
This book is so so good and will sit in a metaphorical place of honor with my other beloved Dahlia Adler books (metaphorical because I have no shelf room for a physical place of honor).
CW: self-harm (past, mentioned), parental abandonment, divorce