Jenny Han meets The Bachelorette in this effervescent romantic comedy about a teen Korean American adoptee who unwittingly finds herself at the center of a competition for her heart, as orchestrated by her overbearing, loving family.
Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.
But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.
The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.
But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.
Yes, you’re at the right blog. I read a romantic comedy. If you regularly read my reviews, you know this isn’t a typical genre for me. For whatever reason, when the publisher sent me a widget I decided to play outside my usual sandbox and give it a try. After finishing this delightful book, I would have kicked myself if I’d passed it up.
Recent high school graduate Jasmine has dated Paul the pig (my name for him – trust me, it’s well-deserved) for the past four years – they even have plans to move in together when college starts. While the early years might have been happier, Paul now points out skinny burritos on the menu at a restaurant they frequent (and she’s never enjoyed) and suggests she order diet sodas. And now you agree with my nickname for him. After a hurtful incident occured in middle school, Jasmine’s self-esteem plummeted so far that she considers herself lucky to have her pig boyfriend and plans to pursue a career in a profession that’s considered more stable instead of her dream of becoming a chef. Stability and safety have become her mantra.
Enter her ginormous (50+ strong – and that doesn’t count all the cousins), intrusive, well-intentioned family. They reminded me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I adored them all. They want Jasmine to learn her worth, to see herself as they do and realize that she deserves so much more. Naturally the way to do that is to screen teen bachelors until they come up with three worthy candidates to date her. It’s not difficult to figure out what happens when their well-meaning intentions spiral out of control. At least their hearts are in the right place.
From the first page, I adored Jasmine’s voice and laughed out loud so many times at her internal thoughts. Some chapters are first person in her POV, but several chapters are the text conversations between her family concerning the contest – utterly hilarious. This novel has so many important messages for teens and adults alike – pursuing your dreams, living life instead of watching from the sidelines, valuing yourself, and not conforming to someone else’s expectations just to name a few.
From start to finish, The Jasmine Project is a charming, entertaining read – an outstanding debut by this author. I’d be shocked if someone doesn’t snatch this up for a movie. I’d recommend this to fans of romantic comedies and readers like myself who want to step outside their comfort zone. Easily a crossover.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.