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"What We Deserve" by Alyssa Nohar

What We Deserve cover

Amaya Bhatt is about to have the worst summer of her life.

Well actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, so let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

Last summer Amaya was finally diagnosed with social and generalized anxiety disorder after years of suffering in silence. She spent her Grade 12 year going to therapy sessions, adjusting to her new anxiety medication and overall just trying to get herself together, all while keeping her grades up. Amaya figured that after all of that, she would at least get to have a lovely, peaceful summer vacation before starting at university in the fall.

Unfortunately for Amaya, she is wrong about most things, this being one of them.

After her sister, Sonam, signs her up for a summer internship, Amaya is forced to work alongside four other recent high school graduates. Now instead of spending those glorious two months reading, sleeping and sunbathing, she now has to spend it socializing and trying her hardest not to act like the most awkward person alive.

Amaya Bhatt thinks that she is about to have the worst summer of her life, but fortunately for her, she is wrong about most things.

Publication date: #March2020 #2020year

BONUS! Check out Julie's #OwnVoices review of What We Deserve here: (and yes, this Julie in question is me, founder of YADDB!!)

This book was just too cute, sweet, & heartfelt for words.
After being diagnosed with generalized & social anxiety, Amaya Bhatt has spent countless hours in therapy trying to ease and lesson her symptoms. Now, one year later, Amaya finally thinks she can put all of that behind her and focus on having a peaceful summer reading and relaxing before beginning her first year at university.
However, when Amaya’s sister, Sonam, signs her up for a summer internship (where she’ll be forced to confront her social anxiety head on), all of her prior fears and worries come tumbling right back, forcing her to ask herself the question: Is she truly ready to take this bold step and put her anxiety past her?
First, I would like to begin by addressing the anxiety representation. Besides The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow, I have yet to discover too many books with on-page ownvoices anxiety representation. It’s for this very reason that I jumped to request a review copy from the author—because this book, and others like it, are extremely important & truly serve to fill a much-needed gap in the world of YA literature.

“You know when there’s a character that you relate to on such a deep level it almost feels like you’re reading about yourself?” — What We Deserve by Alyssa Nohar

I would just like to state for the record that everyone’s experience with anxiety is personal & unique , and therefore not every reader with anxiety may see their exact symptoms/circumstances reflected in Amaya. That being said, for me personally, this book captured with *perfection* my experiences with social & generalized anxiety and the painful reality of what it’s like to live in a world of fear & self-deprecation. I fully connected with Amaya and her personal struggle between desperately wanting to form relationships with others while being terrified of all the ways in which that could go wrong.

“It wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk to others or make friends, it was that she was too scared of making a fool of herself, too scared of putting herself out there, too scared of what everyone else would think of her.” — What We Deserve by Alyssa Nohar

I truly adore the quote above because I believe that this is the perfect way to explain anxiety for those that do not possess it. As Amaya states, it’s not that she doesn’t want to socialize, it’s that she’s honestly petrified of all of the problems that socializing could entail.
Which brings us to her co-workers at her summer internship. At first, Amaya is completely panicked about whether or not they would accept her, especially considering that they had all already been a close-knit friend group prior to the internship. But as time goes by, Amaya begins to find not that she’s not just accepted, but also viewed as a true, valued member of the group.
One thing to note, however, is that this is a character-driven story, so if you like stories that contain more of a scripted plot, this may not be for you. However, I personally found this to be a refreshing change from the books I usually read!
Overall: This is the quiet YA book you didn’t know you needed in your life. If you’re looking for a soft, diverse contemporary with ownvoices anxiety rep and a supportive & adorkable friend group to add to your shelves, I couldn’t possibly recommend this one enough!!❞ - Julie

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