Love Radio

Ebony LaDelle. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-66590-815-3

Both wholly modern and interwoven with nostalgic cultural references, debut author LaDelle’s romance blends comedic banter and poignant connection in a story about two Black teens giving love a chance. Focused on her dreams of becoming “the next Maya or Audre,” Danielle Ford avoids both dating and thinking about an incident of sexual assault that has her self-isolating from everyone she loves. Then she engages with classmate Prince—also known as Detroit radio relationship expert DJ LoveJones—who wagers that he can get her to fall in love with him in three dates. Dreaming of a future making radio “honest and relatable,” charming, confident Prince also cares for his little brother and his mother, who has advanced multiple sclerosis, and questions his dreams of moving to New York City. With the clock running down to graduation, and on their dates, Dani and Prince find that their romance may be just the thing they need to begin facing their problems head-on. The teens’ connection acts as the story’s warming center, as LaDelle showcases in their alternating voices the importance of support systems and asking for help, foregrounding young Black love in themes of community, creative passion, and deep appreciation of Black culture. Ages 12–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (May)
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