By Sarvenaz Tash
Published June 2019 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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?
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Virtually Yours centers on Mariam, a freshman at NYU. She and her high school boyfriend had broken up five months earlier, and as our story starts she’s heading into HEAVR, a virtual reality dating company, to see if she can find a match.
Lo and behold, she ends up matching with her ex-boyfriend Caleb (he’s one of three choices).
She ends up choosing him over the other two, because Mariam is still incredibly hung up on Caleb. We all know this is catfishing, except Mariam has convinced herself that Caleb will fall in love with her all over again and they can go back to the way they were before he ended things with her.
I felt for her, truly. And even though as the reader it’s super easy to sit on the outside and think, ok I wouldn’t do this because it’s wrong, I do get why she did it.
In the meantime, we have Jeremy (who is her top match) that she ends up working alongside and befriends. Jeremy is kind of just…there. Like he’s a nice guy, and he listens to all of Mariam’s woes and doesn’t complain, but as a character he didn’t really stand out too much for me. I guess I just didn’t feel a ton of chemistry building up between them.
Mariam’s family is awesome and I loved their banter with each other when they met up. They stuck up for each other when necessary but they definitely had no problem pulling the sibling card and telling each other how it was when it was needed. They weren’t a huge part of the book, but they were an important part and I loved their relationships with each other.
One thing I really loved is that this book isn’t about high school students, it’s about first year college students. I don’t feel like there’s a lot of books out there that focus on this age group and I always think it’s a good demographic because they’re just learning the ropes about adulthood and college is different than high school.
So we get to follow Mariam as she learns the ropes in college and tries to settle in and make new friends and I loved it. I loved her roommate and the new friends she makes. And I loved watching her journey into learning more about who she is as a person and where she wants to go in life.
Overall, I thought Virtually Yours was a great read. Because sure, it’s about romance but it’s also ultimately about a girl discovering who she is and how she’s grown as a person.