Saturday, April 15, 2023

Hot Dutch Daydream

Boyce, Kristy. Hot Dutch Daydream
April 18, 2023 by Harper Teen
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Sage is spending her last summer before going to Johns Hopkins doing her best to improve her research and data analysis skills. She spent part of her senior year working in England with Dr. Reese, who has asked her if she will spend the summer being a nanny for Reese's son, three year old Diederik. In exchange, she will be able to attend an important oncology conference in Germany with her mentor. After her father passed away from lung cancer and her older sister, Wren, had a baby during her senior year in high school, Sage is determined to keep her focus on school and career rather than cluttering up her life with romance. This is hard when Dr. Reese's son, Ryland, comes home for the summer rather than continue on his backpacking trip. Dr. Reese doesn't trust Ryland with Diederick because he is an artist who is often distracted by his work or by his large group of friends. Dr. Reese would also like to see Ryland get "a real job" instead of selling artwork and working occasionally as a food tester. Sage finds Ryland cute but annoying, but he does come in handy when the tempermental Diederik has temper tantrums. Inspired by Sage's dedication to her work and her cutting comments about his own, Ryland asks Sage if she will try to keep him motivated in exchange for more help with his brother. Sage soon is in possession of Ryland's phone so the constant texts from friends don't distract him, and even turns away people at the door. The two work together in Ryland's studio in the evening. Sage is better able to balance her work for Dr. Reese with taking care of Diederik, and even gets out to see the city a bit more with Ryland's help. Ryland makes a lot of progress in completing work to enter a local competition. When Sage starts to fall for Ryland, despite Dr. Reese's express request NOT to get romantically involved, will she be able to extricate herself from the romantic entanglement and concentrate on her scientific work?
Strengths: I adore travel books like the Lost In books by Callaghan or Love & books by Welch, or books like Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Jouhanneau's Kisses and Croissants, and Henderson's Flirting in Italian. These are popular with my students as well. Middle school romance usually has fewer problems than Young Adult romances, but this was happy enough that my readers will sigh over Ryland and how sweet he is. The two don't really fight; they just don't quite agree on being a couple for a while. Once they do, they have a good time hanging out in Amsterdam, which is a bonus. The problems they face are easily overcome, and everyone is happy at the end. What's not to like. Details about living in Amsterdam were fun to read, and I really enjoyed Sage's work ethic and her plans for her future. Reading this was a great way to vicariously travel! 
Weaknesses: As an adult, I know that Dr. Reese was right the first time, and that Sage should concentrate on her career and forget all about Ryland, but that's not very fun or romantic. People will always let you down. A career might let you down, but at least you don't have to take that personally. 
What I really think: This was a very fun, middle grade appropriate romance and and even better travelogue of Amsterdam! This reminded me of the fabulous Simon Pulse Romantic comedies. Hot British Boyfriend has been popular with my students, so I'll definitely be looking forward to Boyce's next title. 
Ms. Yingling

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