While You Were Dreaming, by Alisha Rai, (March 2023, Quill Tree Books), $19.99, ISBN: 9780063083967
Best-selling romance author Alisha Rai released her debut YA novel, While You Were Dreaming, and it is so good! Sonia is a teen living with her undocumented sister, Kareena, after her mother is deported. Sonia lives in constant fear of her family’s circumstances being discovered, and she tries to make herself as invisible as possible. One day, when her crush, James, accidentally falls and is in danger of drowning, Sonia – in cosplay superhero costume – jumps in to rescue him, becoming a viral sensation. At the same time, Sonia ends up connecting with James’s family, who don’t realize that she’s the person who rescued their son. So is James crush-worthy, or are the sparks flying between Sonia and James’s older brother worth exploring? Readers who love Ms. Marvel and Sendhya Menon’s rom-coms will devour this delightful read. Sonia is a smart, relatable main character surrounded by an interesting, developed cast. Rai touches on the stresses of living undocumented in America by exploring Sonia and Kareena’s sometimes contentious relationship and through Sonia’s desire to remain invisible for her sister’s sake; the pain of living apart from her mother comes through loud and clear. Hand this one to your rom-com fans for sure; they will thank you for it.