cover image Bad at Love

Bad at Love

Gabriela Martins. Underlined, $9.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-48344-2

As an aspiring journalist born of Brazilian immigrant parents struggling to make ends meet, pansexual high school senior Sasha believes that a scholarship is her best shot at paying for college. So when the supervisor at her tabloid internship promises to recommend her for scholarship opportunities in exchange for a buzzy feature, she sets her sights on the music scene’s newest bad boy, Rotten. Getting dirt on the popular Brazilian guitarist seems doable, especially after Sasha and Rotten’s accidental meet-cute. But as the two grow closer, Sasha realizes there might not be any dirt: Rotten, whose real name is Daniel, isn’t a bad boy at all. He crochets, goes to bed early, and suffers from imposter syndrome. Despite Sasha’s disappointment around this revelation, she continues digging, but as she starts falling for him, she must reconcile her own agenda with newfound love. Sasha and Daniel’s smartly written alternating perspectives deftly explore the protagonists’ lived experiences via flirtatious dialogue. Occasionally heavy-handed classic rom-com tropes, endearing first love, and thoughtful conversations surrounding colorism, Latinx diaspora, music, and sexuality drive Martins’s (Like a Love Song) joyful romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Chelsea Eberly, Greenhouse Literary. (Aug.)