cover image My Mechanical Romance

My Mechanical Romance

Alexene Farol Follmuth. Holiday House, $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5010-7

Seventeen-year-old Bel Maier, who is half-Filipino and half-white, doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. She has been avoiding college applications, but her knack for engineering and love of building things lands her a spot on her private Los Angeles high school’s robotics team after a teacher encourages her to audition. Bel’s initial disinterest in math and sciences and her unorthodox approach to projects causes friction within the team, however, and she butts heads with intense club leader Mateo “Teo” Luna, who is half-Mexican and half-white, and Indian American Neelam Dasari, the only other girl on the team. When Bel and Teo fall for each other, they must navigate a relationship amid the boys’ club atmosphere of high school robotics, even as a cutthroat competition and uncertainty about their post-high school futures work against them. Follmuth’s humorous debut lightly addresses discrimination faced by women of color in STEM, as well as issues of privilege and resource accessibility, set within an upbeat romantic comedy populated by a sympathetic and inclusive cast. The characters’ struggles are realistic, and the romantic chemistry is palpable, making this a joyful read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Amelia Appel, Triada US. (May)