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A whirlwind rom-com perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Axie Oh, and Ann Liang, following a desi bisexual immigrant teen who goes off on a road trip to claim her summertime crush – while trying to avoid falling for someone else. With Bollywood references aplenty and a slow burn romance, this hilarious debut by Anahita Karthik is a love letter to India.

Eighteen-year-old Krishna Kumar has just had the best summer of her life. She’s ticked off every point on her “summer before med school” checklist – well, almost every point, because she didn’t quite have the elusive summer fling she’s been dreaming of with the cute boy next door, Amrit Acharya. Sure, they’ve been flirting on and off, but there’s still an asterisk for no kissing on her list. So, when Krishna’s flight back to the US gets cancelled and Amrit sends her the text – promising a raincheck on the goodbye kiss he “owes” her, winky face emoji and all – she sees a chance to finally have her moment.

Unfortunately, Amrit isn’t in Mumbai anymore; he’s at his second-cousin’s wedding in Goa – having left her farewell party early to make the trip – which is a day’s travel away. Which means Krishna needs to convince her best-cousin-turned-enemy, Priti, the only one with access to a car, to join her on a road trip so that she can crash a wedding, tell Amrit how she feels, slay her first kiss, and return in time to make the next flight home. Problem is, said car belongs to Priti’s brooding best friend Rudra Desai, who has been a stranger to Krishna all her life, a background character in Krishna’s sunshine montage.

Now, Krishna has to spend twenty-four hours cooped up in the car, on the road, with Snow Queen and her equally cold best friend, without sending her DDLJ-esque plans spitballing down the drain. That includes avoiding confrontational fights with Priti about why Krishna’s immigration split them apart, owning the pieces of her culture she lost when she moved, and most importantly…avoiding falling for Rudra Desai.

Better Catch Up, Krishna Kumar Anahita Karthik - HarperTeen ‘25 - art by Yasemin Anders
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