Title: Love Radio
Author: Ebony LaDelle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Review Copy: ARC from publisher
Availability: Available May 31st
Summary: Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers—or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own segment on Detroit’s popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, where he dishes out advice to the brokenhearted.
Prince has always dreamed of becoming a DJ and falling in love. But being the main caretaker for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his little brother means his dreams will stay just that and the only romances in his life are the ones he hears about from his listeners.
Until he meets Dani Ford.
Dani isn’t checking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan: ace senior year, score a scholarship, and move to New York City to become a famous author. But her college essay keeps tripping her up and acknowledging what’s blocking her means dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago.
And that’s one thing Dani can’t do.
When the romantic DJ meets the ambitious writer, sparks fly. Prince is smitten, but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. She gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for.
Three dates for the love expert to take his own advice, and just maybe change two lives forever.
Review: I’m just going to admit that I keep accidentally calling the novel “Love Jones”, after the 90’s Black romance film that had many folks swooning (including me). In fact, in Ebony LaDelle’s debut novel, “Love Radio,” Dani mentions the movie on the at the beginning of the book as her mother is a lover of romance, especially Black Love. With just those few words (and movies identified) I knew this was going to be a fun read as I “watched” two characters fall in love.
The heart of any good romance is the two main characters and Dani and Prince shine individually and together in this novel. Both are at the cusp of major change in their lives, being seniors in high school, but are having difficulties choosing which direction they want to go in. Dani has a direction, knows what she wants, but is suffering from crippling writer’s block. Prince, on the other hand, has big dreams but is afraid to allow himself to reach for his dream without feeling like he would abandon his family. Those are heavy weights these two carry, so when Prince decides to pursue Dani, it provides a nice distraction for each of them. What I loved about Prince was that he was straightforward and honest with his feelings toward Dani. He made it very clear why he wanted to date her and a relationship is worth it. Dani is very hesitant at first but eventually begins to become more open with Prince. Prince always wears his heart on his sleeve, but through learning love Dani, patiently, he learns more about himself. Both Dani and Prince grow from their relationship that is built on mutual friendship and trust, rather than an instant attraction. In fact, their 3 dates are actually spread over a few months, rather than over a short time period as Prince makes sure to give Dani her space to figure out her own feelings. Prince was all about consent and I absolutely loved him for it. In fact, it is a crucial theme of the book and added to Dani and Prince’s story, making their slow-to-burn romance all the more sweeter.
While Dani and Prince’s love story was the main, there was another love story underneath – the love for Detroit. I don’t know much about Detroit but I really felt the love and pride for the city through LaDelle’s writing. She makes so many references to specific events, specific places that are unique to Detroit that showed how the city is still a vibrant place with a wonderful community. I learned so much more about Detroit and fell in love with the city as well.
I’m a sucker for an excellent romance, especially one with Black Love, and Love Radio definitely delivered.