‘Love, Decoded’

A modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’

By Stefanie Davis

Friendships, an app development contest and a little romance are all a part of this modern-day retelling of Austen’s Emma. Gigi Wong is a Chinese American high school junior at an elite prep school in New York. She comes from a family of matchmakers, and her great-aunt Rose is known to be one of the best around.

Gigi’s future seems pre-determined, that is until her computer science teacher announces an app development contest. The winner will land an internship at a leading private computer engineering firm with one of the top computer programmers in the country. Gigi’s parents had high expectations for her brother James but seem convinced that Gigi will stay close to home for college and continue the family matchmaking business. As such, she is spending every Saturday at Rose’s shop in Chinatown to develop her matchmaking skills. Gigi is top of her class, co-editor of the school magazine, and a peer mentor – but she still feels she has something to prove.

Her best friend Kyle questions the longevity of a matchmaking business but reassures her that she is one of the best teen computer programmers. This inspires Gigi and she decides to create Matchmaker 3000 and take her great-aunt’s matchmaking business into the 21st century. Gigi tries, unsuccessfully at first, to convince Rose to digitize her matchmaking business. Realizing that she needs to test her app, but unable to test a romance matchmaking app on her classmates, she is forced to come up with a new app. This is where transfer student Etta enters the story. Gigi is asked to be Etta’s mentor, and she learns that Etta is struggling to make new friends as a transfer student. Believing that she can help her friend while also creating a better app, Gigi turns Quizlr into a friendship matchmaking app.

Will her plan work out? Find out more in this warm tale of friendship, family, coming of age and light romance by Jennifer Yen. Recommended for grades 9-12, this novel follows Yen’s retelling of “Pride and Prejudice” in her previous book, “A Taste for Love.” If you enjoy this story, you may also enjoy “29 Dates by Melissa De la Cruz, “If You, Then Me” by Yvonne Woon and “Match Me If You Can” by Tiana Smith.



“The Cheat Sheet: A Novel” by Sarah Adams

“Twice a Quinceañera” by Yamile Saied Méndez

“Business Not As Usual” by Sharon C. Cooper

“Falling For Your Enemy” by Emma St. Clair

Young Adult:

“Love from Scratch” by Kaitlyn Hill

“Year on Fire” by Julie Buxbaum

“Flip the Script” by Lyla Lee

“This Will Be Funny Someday” by Katie Henry


“Code Name: Serendipity” by Amber Smith

“Healer and Witch” by Nancy Werlin

“Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu

“Meant to Be” by Jo Knowles