cover image Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat

Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat

Sonya Lalli. Berkley, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-44065-0

Jasmine Randhawa, the heroine of this highly emotional rom-com from Lalli (A Holly Jolly Diwali), has stubbornly forged a path away from her family’s Punjabi traditions. Now she’s broke and newly single and hates that she’s living up to her family’s expectations of her as the “problem child.” When she overhears her parents ask her sister, Niki, to join them and others from their South Asian community on a 10-day Alaskan cruise, Jasmine is hurt not to be invited herself and surprises all by agreeing to go when Niki cannot. Also joining the cruise is Jake Dhillon, the Washington State Punjabi community’s golden child. Jasmine initially writes Jake off as a “douchebag,” but when they both volunteer to co-host the cruise’s amateur dance competition, she learns there’s more to him than she first realized. Jasmine’s looking for a partner, not just another lover, but to get her happy ending she must both reconnect with her roots and stop caring what others think of her. Lalli brings the cruise to vivid life, with exiting excursions along the way and plenty of meddling aunties on board. This ought to make some waves. Agent: Martha Webb, CookeMcDermid. (Apr.)