About the Book:
Title: My Mechanical Romance
Author: Alexene Farol Follmuth
Page Length: 272
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Publisher: Holiday House
Synopsis: Nerds are so hot.
Especially battle robot building nerds.
Bel would rather die than think about the future. College apps? You’re funny. Extracurriculars? Not a chance. But when she accidentally reveals a talent for engineering at school, she’s basically forced into joining the robotics club. Even worse? All the boys ignore Bel—and Neelam, the only other girl on the team, doesn’t seem to like her either.
Enter Mateo Luna, captain of the club, who recognizes Bel as a potential asset—until they start butting heads. Bel doesn’t care about Nationals, while Teo cares too much. But as the nights of after-school work grow longer and longer, Bel and Teo realize they’ve built more than just a combat-ready robot for the championship: they’ve made space for each other and themselves.
This sharply funny, academic rivals to lovers romance explores both the challenges girls of color face in STEM and the vulnerability of first love with unfailing wit and honesty.
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My Mechanical Romance follows Bel and Teo, rivals on a school robotics team. New to the school. Bel is encouraged to try out for the team, and the team is impressed with her creativity and innovativeness. However, Teo is used to being in charge, and Bel can’t find a way to make friends with her academic rival. Teo doesn’t think Bel is serious enough about the team, but as the pair works together to build an unbeatable battle bot for an upcoming competition, Teo and Bel’s rivalry turns into something more.
This was a fun YA romance with great representation of women in STEM. Bel and Teo have a cute rivals-to-lovers romance that develops slowly over the course of the novel. Their banter and chemistry are great, and I like how they begin to learn more about each other and grow closer. They seem so different, but they complement each other well. At first, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Teo and saw many of the same things Bel saw – arrogance and loftiness. However, as the story progressed and I learned more about Teo, my opinions of him changed. I loved that about this book! The way people’s actions and words changed my initial perceptions were great and made me think about the validity of first impressions.
I also really liked many of the secondary characters, especially Dash and Jamie. They are so supportive and encouraging! I do wish some of the secondary characters were a bit more developed, as I didn’t really understand some of their actions, words, and motivations, especially the robotics teacher, a couple of the parents, and one member of the robotics team who is particularly rude and harsh.
The story definitely has some powerful messages about the difficulties women face in STEM-related fields. It’s also a good commentary on the inequities of the American education system. There are so many disparities depending on where people live and socioeconomic status, and this story sheds light on that. The story also focuses on pressures many teens face – college worries and ambitions, applications, relationships, school stress, and more. I think readers will find many aspects of the story really relatable.
I think this is a really good read for people who like YA contemporary romance, coming-of-age romances, and YA books with strong STEM elements. Plus, there are some really cool battle bot and robotics elements in the story! I enjoyed seeing the characters prepare for and compete in the battle bot arena. Special thanks to NetGalley and Holiday House for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The sweet romance.
- The friendships.
- The messages.
- The robot wars!
Take up your own space, Bel. Don’t let other people tread over it.
I am who I am because of him. Where am I supposed to put all the stuff about me that i used to think of as his now that he’s gone?