cover image Clementine and Danny Save the World (and Each Other)

Clementine and Danny Save the World (and Each Other)

Livia Blackburne. Quill Tree, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-322989-1

Blackburne (the Queen’s Council series) delights with this Southern California–set enemies-to-lovers rom-com that tackles serious issues regarding gentrification and community. Classmates Clementine Chan, an anonymous tea blogger and student journalist, and Danny Mok, who’s spent most of his life working at his family’s tea shop, are barely on each other’s radars at school. But their secret online personae have been disagreeing with each other for years over Clementine’s reviews of local tea establishments and her opinions about social issues in their Chinatown community. When a large corporation buys out the plaza that houses Danny’s family’s shop, intending to redevelop, Clementine and Danny resolve to preserve the plaza with a student initiative. Even as the teens work together IRL, they continue to feud online. Initially lukewarm responses from the community, conflicting family and school obligations, and differing values create obstacles for Danny and Clementine, but their growing mutual understanding and attraction encourage them both to expand their perspectives. Opinionated and endearing main characters drive this slow-burning, nuanced read, in which Blackburne discusses the pervasiveness of misunderstandings through online communication, and the myriad interpretations of community development and advocacy. Most characters are of East Asian descent. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (July)