Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

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How bad can one little virtual lie be?

NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal.

It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love? (Goodreads)

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash was more than I was expecting. From the summary, I expected a cute rom-com with recognizable tropes, but what I got was a deep exploration of coming of age. I loved the characters; they all felt real and whole and likable. I appreciated that there's no real antagonist because Mariam, the protagonist, is the one holding herself back, which meant there was no mean girl or mean love interest. The setting was one I wish to see in more YA: college. It didn't focus much on the classes, but instead on the free time Mariam had; it was still enjoyable because that's the majority of college time anyway, and where young adults turn into the people they'll most likely be for years to come. I almost always enjoy a good morally gray character whose thrust into awkward situations by her own making, so I loved that Mariam made the decision to go out with her ex to prove a point, even if it meant lying to him and things potentially crashing and burning. For the most part, Virtually Yours had the ending I expected, but it felt earned and right.

I give Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash, out June 4, 2019, 5 out of 5 stars. (Preorder)