Thanks to KidLitExchange and Little Brown Young Readers for sharing This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio. This book will be released April 14, 2020, so get excited! This is one you won't want to miss.
Jocelyn Wu has always helped out in A-Plus Chinese Garden, her family's restaurant. She and her little brother help cook, serve, clean up, roll silverware, and more - all while juggling their schoolwork and social life. Well, at least now Jos has a social life. It took her awhile to make friends in her small, homogeneous town, but now she has a best friend, Priya, and they spend all their free time making movies. When news breaks that the family's business is failing, Jos begs her dad to let her help revive the restaurant. She's determined to build a social media presence and bring in more customers. Her dad grudgingly agrees, and even lets Jos hire an intern.
Enter Will, a journalist-in-the-making who needs a summer job. He doesn't know what to expect, but he's good at coding, so Jos immediately hires him for the restaurant. Will has to push past his anxiety to help the business, but he doesn't mind, because he's finding he likes Jos as more than just a coworker. The more they work together, the more Will notices that Jos seems to have some mental hindrances. He tactfully tries to express his concerns, but even though she knows something is wrong, too, Jocelyn isn't receptive. She can't afford to admit defeat on any front - not with her family's livelihood and her budding social life at stake.
This Is My Brain in Love is told in two distinct voices. Will and Jocelyn are relatable and honest, and the way they talk about mental health is needed. The storylines are interesting and engaging while still being realistic - there aren't unrealistically high stakes or a glossed-over happy ending. But mental health is handled in a way where readers will understand the story and develop empathy, or they will see themselves in the characters and know what steps can be taken to get help - and that it's ok to want and need that help.
I.W. Gregorio is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and has previously published None of the Above, which is another must-read!