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Virtually Yours

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Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. How bad can one little virtual lie be? NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. How bad can one little virtual lie be? NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right? Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL. Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?


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Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. How bad can one little virtual lie be? NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring Modern love plus online anonymity is a recipe for romantic disaster in this lighthearted new romance from the author of The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love. How bad can one little virtual lie be? NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right? Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL. Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

30 review for Virtually Yours

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    4.5 Stars The older i got, the more I realized I chose optimism. I chose it despite the odds stacked against it, despite living in a world whose currency was much more deeply rooted in cynicism and irony. It wasn't because I was weak and naive; it was because I was strong enough in my convicitions that the world could be all right anyway." I honestly fell more in love with this story and with Miriam the more I read it. It was constatnly surprising me and just brought me so much happiness! Virtu 4.5 Stars The older i got, the more I realized I chose optimism. I chose it despite the odds stacked against it, despite living in a world whose currency was much more deeply rooted in cynicism and irony. It wasn't because I was weak and naive; it was because I was strong enough in my convicitions that the world could be all right anyway." I honestly fell more in love with this story and with Miriam the more I read it. It was constatnly surprising me and just brought me so much happiness! Virtually Yours follows college freshman Miriam Vakilian as she enters the dating world through HEAVR, a virtual reality dating site that guarantees a happily ever after. But when Miriam is matched with her recent ex, things become a lot more complicated in Miriam’s love life. Things I Liked Miriam is surprisingly likable! I thought I would have a lot more negative feelings toward her because of the whole deceptive dating situation. But I loved that she was so self-aware through the whole situation. She really seemed like a person - flaws and all - and I kinda loved her for it. There was some truly great friendships on display throughout the story - with Miriam’s roommate and co-worker each having developed and individual relationships. And I really loved seeing Miriam’s family and her relationship with her siblings. They also just felt really real. And you know I’m always a sucker for a sibling relationship. I thought Miriam’s class about the American Welfare System sounds so cool and definitely like a class I would have taken in college. And I really loved seeing Miriam's growth outside of her romantic relationships. I thought that all the characters handled the drama and missteps with maturity. Yes there was initial emotional outbursts (all rightfully earned) but reactions were true to characters, and honest for people with history who truly care about one another. It was just very well done in my opinion, when it could easily have brought my enjoyment down. Things I Didn’t Like I think the premise of the story is inherently a little bit icky, but that’s kinda the point. The anonymity of online dating is brought to the extreme, with avatar stand-ins and fake names in lieu of real information. And lying and deceptiveness is also a pet peeve of mine in relationships, but I thought it was handled as good as it could have been, given the situation. The name HEAVR is ridiculous and I laughed every time it was brought up. But other than that, I had a truly wonderful time with Virtually Yours. I thought the characters were real and well defined, with relationship I wanted to follow. Once I got about 75 pages in, I couldn’t put the story down. And I don’t think you’ll be able to either. I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    julia ♥

    read my full review on my blog: here "How bad can one little virtual lie be?" It's no secret that 2019 has an amazing line-up when it comes to to-be-released books, but a good chunk of those include some diverse contemporary romances with amazing covers. Virtually Yours, then, is no exception. When I got an ARC for this, I couldn't wait to get started reading this! What is this book about? Virtually Yours follows college freshman Mariam, who just broke up with her (now) ex-boyfriend Caleb. Both goin read my full review on my blog: here "How bad can one little virtual lie be?" It's no secret that 2019 has an amazing line-up when it comes to to-be-released books, but a good chunk of those include some diverse contemporary romances with amazing covers. Virtually Yours, then, is no exception. When I got an ARC for this, I couldn't wait to get started reading this! What is this book about? Virtually Yours follows college freshman Mariam, who just broke up with her (now) ex-boyfriend Caleb. Both going off to separate colleges, Caleb doesn't want to risk doing the long-distance thing. Determined that Caleb is making a mistake however, Mariam is ready to get him back. She creates a profile on a virtual reality dating site called HEAVR, where she is assigned three top matches. One of them is, of course, her ex-boyfriend Caleb, but her best match is her cute new colleague at work called Jeremy. What do you do when your heart says one thing, but the universe tells you another? What did I think about Virtually Yours? I was infinitely excited for this one. I've recently been testing the waters when it comes to Contemporary young adult romances (I love YA fantasy and New Adult romances, but I've always thought I had outgrown YA contemporaries a little), so when I heard this one was set in college I jumped at the chance to read this. This was a cute quick read, hence the somewhat short review. I liked the main character, Mariam and I really enjoyed Jeremy as a character too. I loved how Mariam really seems to come into herself at the end of the book, and really starts to invent herself (including her needs when it comes to her own life). Her personal journey in this book is really fun and relatable and one of the things that makes YA contemporaries such a great genre. I also loved how the author incorporated her own background into the novel. Mariam is from an Iranian family (like the author!), and I really liked how she incorporated the culture into this book. I loved reading about their family get-togethers and traditions! Plot-wise, however, I had some minor issues. I didn't like the cat-fishing plot. I'm aware this a necessity where it concerns Mariam's character development, but I didn't really like how it was executed. Mariam didn't show any concerns until almost half-way through the book, and had to be reprimanded by one of her friends. I also thought a lot of the drama felt a little contrived since I found Caleb a little two-dimensional as a romantic interest. I didn't fully understand why Mariam was so hung-up on him when the guy had next to no developed personality. All in all, I enjoyed this book and thought it was a quick and fun read. I had a few issues with the plot which did take away from the rating a little, but overall this was a nice YA contemporary!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joshee Kun (조수아)

    Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I had put so much of my identity into who you and I were together that I'd never had time to figure out who I was or wanted to be on my own. Have you watched or played Sword Art Online? Because this novel made me think of it. People today are not strangers to online dating, but building a relationship through virtual reality is another story. Technology does make communication (and life in general) Thank you, Simon & Schuster, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I had put so much of my identity into who you and I were together that I'd never had time to figure out who I was or wanted to be on my own. Have you watched or played Sword Art Online? Because this novel made me think of it. People today are not strangers to online dating, but building a relationship through virtual reality is another story. Technology does make communication (and life in general) more comfortable for us. However, as far as love is concerned, can it give us the happily ever after that we desire? This book might answer that question for you. Fresh from a painful breakup, Marriam tries a VR program called HEAVR (Happily Ever After Virtual Reality). Using this innovative software, she can hopefully find new love. HEAVR presents Marriam with three ideal matches, and to her surprise, one of them is Caleb, her ex-boyfriend. Surmising that fate or the universe wants them to get back together, Marriam creates a false persona and goes on virtual dates with Caleb. Everything is fine at first. Caleb seems to be falling in love with Mariam again. But it's not really her, is it? Based on my summary alone, you probably think that Mariam's a weak protagonist. After all, instead of pining for someone who already broke her heart, she should have moved on and looked for someone better. Also, if I were Caleb and discovered that my new girlfriend was actually my ex in disguise, I would freak out and file a restraining order. It didn't matter if Caleb broke up with her for the wrong reasons; Mariam was more or less guilty of stalking and phishing. In retrospect, Mariam wasn't downright annoying. She couldn't ignore her conscience for a long time, and she valued the advice of her family and friends. I particularly liked that she was proud of her Iranian culture, particularly its cuisine. The dishes that were described in the book triggered my hunger many times. It's also worth noting that Mariam belonged to a tight-knit, Muslim family. Her father was supposedly devout, so the book had some insights on their perspective on topics like dating and gambling. If you're an advocate of racial/religious diversity in YA, you might enjoy this book. The two male characters, Caleb and Jeremy, were also people of color. The former was African-American, while the latter was Mexican. Between the two of them, Jeremy had a better personality. It was fun to read about his interactions with his family, as well as his light and serious conversations with Mariam. For me, Caleb was just a means to an end. He and Mariam didn't have much chemistry (e.g., he was indifferent to her passion for social work), so I didn't understand why they had dated in the first place. Contrary to its genre, this book had dystopian elements. I enjoyed its Big Brother discussion. HEAVR supposedly had a very accurate algorithm, and Mariam suspected that it was a result of surveillance. The AI responsible for the matches could be so cunning that you would think it was human. If virtual dating became so effective, what would happen to face-to-face communication? Would we prefer to date avatars instead of actual people? Contemporary novels usually don't have such themes, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Ultimately, Virtually Yours isn't a typical YA novel. It has tropes, but the story can also be refreshing. Virtual reality is significant in the world of video games, making the impossible seem possible. Still, when it comes to romance, I'd rather stick to the traditional kind and love someone who could be actually mine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    I had read and enjoyed Sarvenaz’s other books and I was intrigued by this premise, but it was a little bland for me. I liked Mariam well enough. Her inner monologue sounded much younger than her age, but she does grow in the story. There is an excellent group of secondary characters and they’re all so supportive. I especially loved Mariam’s roommate, Hedy. Plot wise, it was all about the VR dating thing and that got pretty stale pretty quickly. I would have loved to see the friendships fleshed o I had read and enjoyed Sarvenaz’s other books and I was intrigued by this premise, but it was a little bland for me. I liked Mariam well enough. Her inner monologue sounded much younger than her age, but she does grow in the story. There is an excellent group of secondary characters and they’re all so supportive. I especially loved Mariam’s roommate, Hedy. Plot wise, it was all about the VR dating thing and that got pretty stale pretty quickly. I would have loved to see the friendships fleshed out a bit more. The direction of the story felt disjointed and all over the place; if it was done intentionally to reflect how Mariam felt at her first year at school, it was effective. Unfortunately, it kept me from settling into the story. I did love seeing the diversity, culture, and f/f relationship on the page. Overall, it was a cute idea, but it lacked a spark that I was hoping for. I never really connected to any of these characters, so I was fairly indifferent to their journey. **Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster BFYR for providing the arc free of charge**

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary H

    THIS SOUNDS AMAZING, AND THE COVER IS GORGEOUS.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nikki (Book Allure)

    Did this just use catfishing as a means to get the love interest.... Yikes

  7. 5 out of 5

    Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)

    This is another YA contemporary set in college that is releasing in 2019. I think the concept sounds like it has the potential for lots of interesting drama. I am not sure that I have read a book that features online dating . Looking forward to finding out more about this one!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Based on the description, I wasn't really sure how Virtually Yours would work for me, but I sat down and read this cover to cover almost all in one evening (I stopped with fifty pages left because I have to work UGH). Mariam's narrative voice is fantastic, and that's what drew me into the story and kept my attention. She's punny and silly and loving but also makes bad choices in a way that's really understandable and kinda relatable. Despite all the lying she does within the pages, she has an hon Based on the description, I wasn't really sure how Virtually Yours would work for me, but I sat down and read this cover to cover almost all in one evening (I stopped with fifty pages left because I have to work UGH). Mariam's narrative voice is fantastic, and that's what drew me into the story and kept my attention. She's punny and silly and loving but also makes bad choices in a way that's really understandable and kinda relatable. Despite all the lying she does within the pages, she has an honest feel to her, and you get why she's doing what she's doing even as you're shouting GIRL NO. It's hard to pull that off, I think, so I'm thrilled it worked for me here. When someone does something that's clearly Bad Idea Central, it's really hard to make that relatable and understandable, rather than making the audience dismiss them as TSTL, so serious props to that. Also, she's Iranian, which is awesome (it's so cool that in a week I've read four books with Iranian MCs when I don't think I'd ever read one before). Mariam's a freshman in college (so happy to be getting college books in YA now—nothing really was said about it but they're just magically appearing and holla so happy), but she hasn't been living her first few months of college life to the fullest. She's been depressed and lonely, mourning the loss of a three year relationship because her boyfriend Caleb dumped her citing distance (he's in California and she's at NYU). One day, on a whim, she decides to use a discount coupon for HEAVR, a dating app with a virtual reality component. When she does this, Mariam is totally not over her ex, but it's such a real impulse. She wants to feel hope again, to believe she can move on and find love, so she signs up. Unfortunately, Caleb shows up as one of her top three matches, so she dates him using an avatar and fake name. This is #badideabears, but it's hard to deny that people would totally give into that curiosity. Mariam's struggling partially because she doesn't understand really why they broke up, so seeing that they still have amazing chemistry means something to her. Caleb doesn't interest me tbh, but I think that relationship's handled in a really believable way, absurd circumstances aside, and it's a really good look at the emotions accompanying a break up and the way that relationships change. Also the way that we change and no longer fit relationships. What I particularly enjoyed was the way that her relationships with others developed. In an odd way, even though she was clinging to the past, finding interest in her life again still helped her connect with her present. She wants to talk about how freaking ridiculous and random her life has been, so she makes friends with people around her: her coworker, her roommate. She also bonds more closely with her siblings. The only thing I feel a bit iffy about on this one is the actual VR stuff. It flirts with being a sci fi and having an actual plot built around that aspect but doesn't go far enough, so it's just a mildly menacing company but then the book just ends in classic rom com style, and you're like "okay but what about HEAVR?!?!" This is one of those books where I'd love to see how the book started out and changed from first draft to publication, because I'm so curious about whether the VR was added for a hook or if it was more about that and removed in later drafts. Anyway, ultimately, I felt like the book started to say something about virtual dating/online dating but then really didn't, and it comes down a bit anti-online-dating, but I don't really think it meant to. If you're looking for a rom com or a great character arc story, definitely check this one out. If you're more intrigued by the science fiction-y aspects, pass or adjust expectations because it's really not about that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    nick

    3.5/5 I've been a fan of Sarvenaz Tash since her debut novel, Three Day Summer. Virtually Yours sounded so unique, I was very eager to read it. Mariam is a freshman at NYU still dealing with the heartbreak of breaking up with her high-school boyfriend, Caleb. She's finding it hard to move on from the relationship, so when the opportunity arises to give virtual dating a try, she takes a leap. This all sounds like a great idea until one of her three top matches turns out to be Caleb. She decides to 3.5/5 I've been a fan of Sarvenaz Tash since her debut novel, Three Day Summer. Virtually Yours sounded so unique, I was very eager to read it. Mariam is a freshman at NYU still dealing with the heartbreak of breaking up with her high-school boyfriend, Caleb. She's finding it hard to move on from the relationship, so when the opportunity arises to give virtual dating a try, she takes a leap. This all sounds like a great idea until one of her three top matches turns out to be Caleb. She decides to use a fake name and an avatar to date Caleb in the hopes of getting back with him together. Mariam was a relatable young woman. She is obviously feeling very down from her breakup, but she remained hopeful and optimistic. Even though she was practically catfishing Caleb, she wasn't doing it out of mean intentions. She was just a girl hopelessly in love with him. I'm not usually one for the catfishing trope so it was hard for me to swallow Mariam's actions, but we do see her repent her actions. I also liked that she was the one that revealed the whole truth to Caleb. I will say that I didn't particularly care for Caleb. I wasn't exactly sure what Mariam saw in him. I don't think his character was as developed as Mariam was. He was a decent guy, I just wasn't into him as I would have liked. What I did really like about Virtually Yours were the different relationships Mariam had. I adored her bond with her elder sister, in particular. Her sister was much more pragmatic than her, but she still encouraged Mariam to be optimistic with limits of course. Mariam also had a great friend in her roommate, Hedy, and we see their friendship grow a lot stronger as Mariam hangs out with her more often. Mariam makes a new friend in Jeremy, who also happens to be her top match in the virtual dating app. Jeremy was a sweet kid, but like Caleb, I felt like we didn't particularly get to know him and I would have liked to. In summary, Virtually Yours was an interesting read with a great cast.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andi (Andi's ABCs)

    This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Way back in 2015 I came across a book called Three Day Summer and I was instantly hooked on how Sarvenaz Tash tells a story and the characters she creates. I knew immediately after finishing it I was going to eagerly anticipate all her releases and I wasn’t wrong. I have been waiting for something new since 2016 This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Way back in 2015 I came across a book called Three Day Summer and I was instantly hooked on how Sarvenaz Tash tells a story and the characters she creates. I knew immediately after finishing it I was going to eagerly anticipate all her releases and I wasn’t wrong. I have been waiting for something new since 2016 when A Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love (an all-time favorite) and when I heard about Virtually Yours I was beyond thrilled. It had been so long and the anticipation was killing me. I am happy to say that it lived up to every expectation I had and was 100% worth the wait. Virtually Yours is about Mariam, a freshman at NYU who had her heart demolished when her boyfriend of 3 years broke up with her. Not wanting to be stuck in her room she decides to try a virtual reality dating site. Mariam is given 3 matches to pick from and to her surprise one is her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, she selects him in starts dating him in secret and things start to go well. Then enter Jeremy, a guy at work she immediately hits it off with. The two of them are on the fast track to being best friends. There is just one catch, he was also one of her 3 matches. Now Mariam must decide between what her head thinks she wants and what her heart actually needs. At first glance, this book sounds like a love triangle. It is not. It is really the story of Mariam and her figuring out what she wants out of life and out of love which is what being 18 should be about. She is a freshman in college and she doesn’t have all the answers. She doesn’t have any of the answers so she does things that she thinks are right but might not be right for her. That’s what I loved about this story. By re-dating Caleb she found out she was a different person than she thought she was and found out what she truly wanted and what would make her happy. I can’t explain enough how much I love this author and the stories she tells. Tash seems to have a great grasp on the teenage/YA emotion and I can’t get enough of her stories. I’ve been a fan since 2015 and Virtually loves just cemented that love. If this one isn’t one your TBR it should be.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This was a quick and easy read, but it's more a coming of age story than a romance. Which is fine, of course, but it wasn't what I was expecting so that threw me a little. I liked Mariam a lot, but the deception with regard to Caleb went on too long and then their storyline got dragged out even further when I was much more into her friendship with Jeremy. But as I said, this isn't really a straight-up romance and Mariam's doubts and feelings did feel accurate for her age and what she'd been thro This was a quick and easy read, but it's more a coming of age story than a romance. Which is fine, of course, but it wasn't what I was expecting so that threw me a little. I liked Mariam a lot, but the deception with regard to Caleb went on too long and then their storyline got dragged out even further when I was much more into her friendship with Jeremy. But as I said, this isn't really a straight-up romance and Mariam's doubts and feelings did feel accurate for her age and what she'd been through up until that point. The story had definite pros too, such as the fact that it happens over the course of a year and there are some truly excellent family and friendship dynamics, and I felt that New York as a setting (as far as I'm any judge) was quite well done. Overall, though, I just wish the focus had been more on her actual college life in NY and less on the whole ridiculous virtual dating experience thing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Hewitt

    This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction When I saw the concept for this book, I couldn’t decide if virtual reality dating was a completely crazy idea or a highly likely one. Or maybe both? Either way, it was definitely intriguing, and I knew I wanted to read this book. I loved the focus that this book had on the adjustment from high school to college—a topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. This book is actually less about the romance and more about This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction When I saw the concept for this book, I couldn’t decide if virtual reality dating was a completely crazy idea or a highly likely one. Or maybe both? Either way, it was definitely intriguing, and I knew I wanted to read this book. I loved the focus that this book had on the adjustment from high school to college—a topic that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. This book is actually less about the romance and more about Mariam finding herself apart from her boyfriend (and her home and family). But, of course, I was invested in the romance as well. There is a definite love triangle here, so if you really can’t stand those, you might need to stay away, but honestly, I thought it was incredibly well-drawn, and I completely understood Mariam’s struggle to decide where her heart should lead her. I was also a fan of the friendship between Mariam and her roommate (and the roommate’s girlfriend). There were a few moments with the virtual reality itself that had me scratching my head (Why would they have a VR environment when you sit in a chair and move around by “walking” with your fingers?? And would kissing via VR be at all pleasant??), and Mariam makes some bad choices when it comes to Caleb. Still, overall, I found myself really enjoying this sweet story of self-discovery. (And I was happy that Tash gave me the ending I was hoping for!!) ***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Rating: 4.5 Stars Mariam had NOT been making the most of her freshman year of college. This was a time for her to try new things, meet new people, and start looking towards her future. But, she was doing none of that. Instead, Mariam was floating in and out of each day, missing opportunities, as she nursed her broken heart. With encouragement from her roommate, she signed up for a virtual reality dating service, which just so happened to match her with the source of her heartache - her ex, Caleb. Rating: 4.5 Stars Mariam had NOT been making the most of her freshman year of college. This was a time for her to try new things, meet new people, and start looking towards her future. But, she was doing none of that. Instead, Mariam was floating in and out of each day, missing opportunities, as she nursed her broken heart. With encouragement from her roommate, she signed up for a virtual reality dating service, which just so happened to match her with the source of her heartache - her ex, Caleb. Seeing it as sign from the universe, Mariam embarked on a virtual relationship with Caleb using a false persona. Though she saw this as a second chance with Caleb, it may really have been her chance to find herself. People are clamoring for more books like this. Books set in college, where the focus is more on the adjustment from high school to college. Tash gave me that and so much more with this book. Mariam may have been young, but she was definitely going through a sort of identity crisis. She spent the last three years being part of a couple. She had lost some friends over those three years, and made many things in her life secondary to her boyfriend. It was not a quick process, and watching Mariam navigate her emotions and self-discoveries was sometimes frustrating, but I was truly happy about all the progress she made. Once she started seeing things in a different light and stopped clinging to her past, she found a fabulous group of friends. Hedy, Geneviève, and Jeremy were all very special, and brought something wonderful to Mariam's life. I loved all the movie watching, coffee drinking, and reality show based conversations they shared. But, they also shared some really meaningful moments, which paved the way for Mariam's journey. This book was on the lighter side, but I won't pretend that there weren't some really emotional moments in there. There were a few of Mariam's big a-has, that were accompanied by my tears. Some were happy tears and some were sad tears, but all were important moments I was glad to share with Mariam. And the ending! That ending left me like Overall: This was a heartwarming, hilarious, and honest tale of one young woman's journey to rediscover herself, which was entertaining and throughly enjoyable. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    OH GOD I WANT THIS NOW. Talk about a situation you've been in!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steff Pasciuti

    Honestly, I feel like Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash had a pretty interesting premise and a fantastic start. Overall, I was really enjoying the read as I began. After a little while, though, I began to slowly lose interest until I realized that I didn't actually care about any of the characters in the story. Virtually Yours follows Mariam Vakilian, a Freshman at NYU as she navigates the world after her breakup with long-time High School boyfriend, Caleb. In an attempt to move past her first lo Honestly, I feel like Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash had a pretty interesting premise and a fantastic start. Overall, I was really enjoying the read as I began. After a little while, though, I began to slowly lose interest until I realized that I didn't actually care about any of the characters in the story. Virtually Yours follows Mariam Vakilian, a Freshman at NYU as she navigates the world after her breakup with long-time High School boyfriend, Caleb. In an attempt to move past her first love, Miriam decides to give virtual dating a try since all of the college students were given a coupon for the dating service at the start of the year anyway. Amazingly, much to both her surprise and perhaps targeting her lack of self-control in this case, Miriam soon finds out that one of her top three matches is none other than her ex-boyfriend. So, as any heartbroken girl might feel tempted to do, Miriam decides to try and convince her ex that they belong together by secretly dating him under a pseudonym and with a virtual reality avatar. Meanwhile, her number one match actually happens to be the guy she works with at the gym. I really liked the idea for this story to begin with. It was cute, it was futuristic, and while I did feel certain I knew how the book would end (I was right) I was excited to give it a try. And to give credit where credit is due, Virtually Yours was off to a great start. I was intrigued, I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I really felt like this was a story I could see happening in the future. I even recall commenting on how much I loved it at the beginning. And, wonderfully, the book was culturally diverse, which I appreciated. I think it was just an excitement over the premise and the belief that the story would just keep getting better. Unfortunately, Virtually Yours fizzled out about halfway through the novel and it had everything to do with the fact that none of the characters really seemed to have any chemistry with each other. I just couldn't keep myself interested when I felt that there was very little reason, barring the fact that they had somehow held a relationship for two years, for Miriam to love the love interests and for them to love her. I didn't like the relationship with Caleb as there was nothing about the pair that made me feel they worked as a couple. I didn't like the relationship with Jeremy at all, largely because it often felt like the only thing Miriam and Jeremy talked about was her relationship with Caleb. I don't know how we're expected, as readers, to think that these two characters have gotten to know each other well enough when 99% of the subjects they talk about are Miriam's cat-fishing of her ex-boyfriend. It pretty much ruined it for me. There was no slow get to know you period, there were no moments where I felt that Miriam had genuine feelings for him and so all of the tension that was supposed to exist as a result of having feelings for him were present within the novel at all. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the supporting characters, either, as they all felt very flat, almost caricatures of their personality traits. It was unfortunate, but I genuinely didn't feel like I got to know any of them well at all and several felt like there were solely there for plot purposes. And I hate when characters only exist to serve a plot purpose. And I think this book basically just fell really flat when it came to getting to know its characters and actually having its readers care about these characters. It's a real shame, I think, since I do genuinely believe that this book got off to an amazing start. After a while, unfortunately, reading Virtually Yours simply felt more like a chore than anything else. I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. | Twitter | Reader Fox Blog | Instagram |

  16. 5 out of 5

    Krystianna

    I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was super excited to have been approved for this title on Netgalley. I read and loved Sarvenaz Tash's The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love back in 2016, and absolutely loved it. It was super geeky and nerdy and was all about Comic Con, which is one convention I've always dreamed of going to (besides BEA of course, which I still haven't gone to!). I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was super excited to have been approved for this title on Netgalley. I read and loved Sarvenaz Tash's The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love back in 2016, and absolutely loved it. It was super geeky and nerdy and was all about Comic Con, which is one convention I've always dreamed of going to (besides BEA of course, which I still haven't gone to!). So, I knew that anything else that Tash wrote, I'd need to get my hands on.  I actually really enjoyed Virtually Yours. I found the whole synopsis really interesting. Like, just imagine living in a world where there is virtual reality dating. With the way that things are going now, with Bumble and Tinder, I feel like it won't be long until VR dating is actually a reality for us. It really doesn't seem that far off! I think that's what intrigued me so much about the concept of a main character who joins a VR website, HEAVR, in order to find herself a new match after still grieving over her ex-bf Caleb. Of course, she ends up matching with her boyfriend, even though he is her number two match. But I mean, I can't judge her for choosing to try it out with him again under a pseudonym... it was her first relationship, and honestly, I might've done the same had I been given the chance! Some people might think this is catfishing which makes it completely wrong, and I will agree that it is catfishing, but it's just so hard to analyze because I get where she is coming from! Getting over your first breakup is always the hardest, though that might just be my opinion. So, needless to say, the concept of this book was great. I also really liked Mariam. She was a pretty multidimensional character, and I loved the diversity in this book, since her parents were immigrants, and same with her soon-to-be friend Jeremy's family. To be honest, Caleb was the only character who got on my nerves sometimes. He threw Mariam away pretty quickly with the first breakup, and then his feelings just seemed all over the place, especially after finding out that Mariam was using a fake name. At least Mariam's were straight forward the whole time! In the end, I loved this book and really flew through it. If you're looking for a different take on a contemporary for this summer, then definitely check out Virtually Yours!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Grade: B- An e-galley was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: It's always interesting to watch romance blend with other genres. Virtually Yours could be considered contemporary, in a way, because the only new technology seems to be virtual reality for dating, and VR already exists. However, it didn't quite feel like 2019 to me. I really liked how the author built Mariam's family and friends. Her family felt fully-formed, Grade: B- An e-galley was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: It's always interesting to watch romance blend with other genres. Virtually Yours could be considered contemporary, in a way, because the only new technology seems to be virtual reality for dating, and VR already exists. However, it didn't quite feel like 2019 to me. I really liked how the author built Mariam's family and friends. Her family felt fully-formed, and I liked that Mariam had her roommate, as well as the friend from home that she needed to repair things with. There was a scene later in the book, where Mariam goes home for a belated Eid lunch with her parents and siblings, and it felt so lovely to me. It helped build the world and breath...I want to say humanity...into a story that didn't always feel like it was set in our world. Virtually Yours is pretty much a love triangle story, and I definitely rooted for Jeremy more just because I could see how blah Caleb was. Often in stories like this, the older option is never the better one, just because of how characters grow throughout the story. There's a break-up scene, and it honestly felt like it needed more build-up in the moment. It was too rushed with not enough fallout. Content warning: catfishing (of sorts), swearing, references to sleeping together The Verdict: Worth a read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received an ARC of Virtually Yours from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was just released on June 4th. I don’t have a whole lot to say about Virtually Yours, but I did have a lot of fun reading it. I liked it a lot and breezed through it. I liked the characters and all of the new friendships. I especially liked Mariam and Jeremy’s friendship the most. I liked the relationship Mariam had with her siblings and I liked the Iranian culture that was included in the s I received an ARC of Virtually Yours from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was just released on June 4th. I don’t have a whole lot to say about Virtually Yours, but I did have a lot of fun reading it. I liked it a lot and breezed through it. I liked the characters and all of the new friendships. I especially liked Mariam and Jeremy’s friendship the most. I liked the relationship Mariam had with her siblings and I liked the Iranian culture that was included in the story as well. I thought the virtual dating service was pretty interesting with the virtual reality dates. It also got a little creepy at times with how much the AI system knew about you. Throughout most of the story Mariam is trying to get back with her ex-boyfriend Caleb so she jumped at the chance when he was chosen as one of her matches on the app. Overall, I thought Virtually Yours was a fun, cute, and quick read. Even though the story didn’t blow me away, I still liked it and it kept my interest. I liked the characters, friendships, and family dynamic. It was interesting and worth the read, especially if you’re just looking for a quick fun read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    *Thank you so much Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing me with an eARC of this to review. DNF- at 52 percent I will be reviewing this because I did read over half of this book and I did skip around some after the halfway point to see if I wanted to try to finish. Virtually Yours follows Mariam, a NYU freshman, during her first year of college. Mariam feels pressured to find a new relationship that will be more successful than her previous one that ended in unexpected heartbreak *Thank you so much Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing me with an eARC of this to review. DNF- at 52 percent I will be reviewing this because I did read over half of this book and I did skip around some after the halfway point to see if I wanted to try to finish. Virtually Yours follows Mariam, a NYU freshman, during her first year of college. Mariam feels pressured to find a new relationship that will be more successful than her previous one that ended in unexpected heartbreak. Mariam is still pining over her ex-boyfriend Caleb, who is now living halfway across the country. When Mariam decides to seek help in having a more successful relationship, she decides to try a virtual dating company. Mariam must go directly to the company to make her potential matches. Unexpectedly Mariam finds herself able to rekindle her relationship with Caleb as they are matched together, but trouble ensues as she must remain anonymous to maintain this new connection. I’ll admit that I enjoyed the first 20ish percent of the novel. The writing was not great but it was entertaining enough to continue on. The plot for this novel is so unreasonable and extreme to the point that it just makes it all in good humor. I knew the plot was unreasonable going in, but I thought it all would be better made and cute. I am not sure what the author’s purpose is towards this plot but if the author made this to poke fun at this form of story and situation it is a bit genius. As I read on, I am not sure if that is the case or not. The questionnaire for the matching was so off topic at times and read as satirical to me so I kind of enjoyed it. It is so unbelievable for this character to matched with her ex-boyfriend as well as her new co-worker. I still did not mind this inclusion at first because it was humorous in the beginning. Over time I did not feel that way anymore, and like I have previously mentioned I am not sure what the author’s real purpose is towards these inclusions and plot. If it is satirical then I can greatly appreciate the beginning at least. If not, yikes. I also appreciate the diversity of the characters. While this is not explored too much from what I have read, skin color is mentioned as well as some inclusion of culture. I wish this was a bit more fleshed out and more prevalent. Overall, this story is very juvenile and the characters do not act like they are 18+. This story reads more like juvenile YA. I cannot recommend this, despite how cute it all sounds.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madison C.

    The book isn't bad; it could arguably be called a light and fun read. The reason I'm giving the book two stars instead of three is due to the protagonist. Half the time I really like her. The other half I find her completely irritating. *SPOILERS COMING UP* She tricks her ex-boyfriend into sort of dating her again, and tries to justify it by "what if's" and "meant to be's." Trying to reach some sort of closure doesn't justify or excuse harmful (and toxic) behavior. Also, throughout a large portio The book isn't bad; it could arguably be called a light and fun read. The reason I'm giving the book two stars instead of three is due to the protagonist. Half the time I really like her. The other half I find her completely irritating. *SPOILERS COMING UP* She tricks her ex-boyfriend into sort of dating her again, and tries to justify it by "what if's" and "meant to be's." Trying to reach some sort of closure doesn't justify or excuse harmful (and toxic) behavior. Also, throughout a large portion of the book she is so hung up on this ex, and on being the person she thinks he wants. Eventually she sees the light and decides to just be who she is, and she gives herself the chance to grow--but to me, it seems as if that part of the story is rushed through. I would have loved to see more of her growth without it centering around or being dependent on some guy. I will say that I did love her interactions with her roommate and siblings. Those sections of the book were the most thrilling and captivating. I felt that I was able to see her character better in those moments.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susie Chavez

    If you had the chance to start your relationship over again, would you? In a fun, futuristic world very like our own, Mariam does just that. Be ready for twists and turns befitting a Hallmark movie - you won't regret it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna Priemaza

    VIRTUALLY YOURS is such a fun, heartfelt, introspective story. I got swept up in Mariam's complicated love life, realistic family, lovable friends, and sometimes questionable decisions, and finished the book in a single day!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katey Psencik

    A cute, quick summer read! Other reviews have mentioned the characters in the novel spoke & behaved like high school students and not college students, but they were extremely young college students, and that can be such a difficult age! I liked that this was a pretty realistic look at what it's like to transition from high school to college and say goodbye to childhood friendships, relationships and more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I enjoyed this book based on two main things. One that is realistic in nature of college students. Two that it is culturally diverse a reflection of our society. We love who we gravitate too regardless of where they come from or how they look. Virtually Yours is a wonderfully fun book that older young adults will enjoy just as much as 16 to 18 year olds. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the E-arc copy of this novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Coriander

    DNF This book is stupid and I really hate the trope of girls mooning over their high school boyfriends and who can't move on from it. We all know its going to happen. You’re eventually going to get over him and find someone else. It shouldn't take the whole first half of the book before she realizes this..... just UGH. Really was looking forward to this book, I love the cover and the concept but using virtual reality just to fool your old boyfriend into falling in love with you again. That's mess DNF This book is stupid and I really hate the trope of girls mooning over their high school boyfriends and who can't move on from it. We all know its going to happen. You’re eventually going to get over him and find someone else. It shouldn't take the whole first half of the book before she realizes this..... just UGH. Really was looking forward to this book, I love the cover and the concept but using virtual reality just to fool your old boyfriend into falling in love with you again. That's messed up. And really, really, really BORING.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (kmc_reads)

    3.5 stars Thanks to the publisher for my free copy. This was a cute, YA rom-com. If you're not a YA fan, I'd skip. Was it predictable? A little (ok, a lot) but the story was enjoyable overall and a quick read. Interesting look at online dating/virtual reality dating. YA romance fans will enjoy this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I fell head-over-heels in love for this college-set YA. Virtually Yours is my favorite kind of contemporary story: it's hilarious, heartwarming, and beautifully real; from the first page to the last, I felt every emotion alongside Mariam, and I completely related to her dilemmas, whether she was trying to move on from her first love or enjoying the nervous excitement that comes from discovering someone new. Her voice is utterly endearing. Each relationship in the book felt true to me, from the te I fell head-over-heels in love for this college-set YA. Virtually Yours is my favorite kind of contemporary story: it's hilarious, heartwarming, and beautifully real; from the first page to the last, I felt every emotion alongside Mariam, and I completely related to her dilemmas, whether she was trying to move on from her first love or enjoying the nervous excitement that comes from discovering someone new. Her voice is utterly endearing. Each relationship in the book felt true to me, from the technology-assisted love triangle that brings a fresh and original perspective to online dating and second chances, to the freshman roommates getting to know each other (it WILL make you nostalgic for dorm room movie nights), to the snarky but loving siblings, to the estranged high school bestie. I felt as though I were friends with the characters. I loved spending time with them, and I missed them when the book was over. Guess my only option is to read it again. And again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    hpboy13

    Virtually Yours is pretty much the platonic ideal of a rom-com: fluffy, funny, and full of great characters. In the great tradition of rom-coms, the fancy premise is mostly window-dressing for a traditional story where a girl has to pick between the ex that she’s still hung up on and the boy-next-door (or next-dorm in this case). In the process, Mariam finds herself and positively develops all the other relationships in her life. The story is exactly what you want it to be, and Tash executes it p Virtually Yours is pretty much the platonic ideal of a rom-com: fluffy, funny, and full of great characters. In the great tradition of rom-coms, the fancy premise is mostly window-dressing for a traditional story where a girl has to pick between the ex that she’s still hung up on and the boy-next-door (or next-dorm in this case). In the process, Mariam finds herself and positively develops all the other relationships in her life. The story is exactly what you want it to be, and Tash executes it perfectly. There are so many things I loved about this story. I loved that all the characters were genuinely good people trying to do right by each other. Rather like its protagonist, this book is shockingly optimistic – I can’t remember the last time I read a book so wholly devoid of cynicism. It was such a refreshing change of pace, particularly in this day and age – I think Virtually Yours is escapism of the best kind. This book was also one of the truest depictions of New York City (the obvious setting in the rom-com genre), and NYU specifically. There were specific references written in the way New Yorkers talk – trains, streets, and the slang surrounding NYU schools and dorms. It really made it feel like the characters were talking organically, instead of reciting dialogue. Any New Yorkers, and NYU alumni in particular, will have an absolute blast reading this book and recalling their own late nights hanging out in the Village. This book also explores a hitherto unwritten part of people’s lives: the first year of college, without any epic sexual awakenings at the hands of the professors (which seems to be the only thing New Adult books write about). It’s such a distinct time in our lives – the first taste of independence, yet still totally relying on family for money. The way you struggle to carve out an identity apart from the family and friends you’ve known all your life. Tash also captures aspects of the college experience endemic to NYU, like the fact that it’s a giant overwhelming school with a million things to do, but you have to seek out people to do them with. In particular, Tash does a perfect job capturing the weirdness of coming home from college. How easily you fall into old patterns. How weird it is that you’ve changed, but your home barely has. Connecting with your former best friends after months apart and visiting old haunts. Virtually Yours is such a perfect slice-of-life book, it’ll just bring all those half-forgotten feelings bursting back to the surface. I loved the emphasis on friendship, how that was a really important aspect of the story instead of being background fodder for the romance. This book goes into the dynamics of blowing off friends for relationships, and how that’s not kosher – everyone who’s every lost a friend that way will find this book so incredibly relevant to their own friendships. The premise of virtual reality dating is portrayed very humorously, a gentle satire that nevertheless makes its point. There was one thing that I didn’t really understand, that I’d be very eager to discuss with fellow readers. (view spoiler)[ When Mariah finds out that the VR company created a virtual version of her for other people to date, she totally flips out about it. I genuinely don’t understand why that’d be such an issue? If someone wants to date a virtual me, I’d say have at it! It’s no trouble for me, and it makes someone else happy, so seems like a win-win. So what’s the hubbub about? (hide spoiler)] So yeah – I love the premise, the writing, the characters, the romance… I love everything about this book. It’s a feel-good standalone story that I’ll gladly revisit again and again whenever I need cheering up, or even just a palate cleanser from more intense fare. It’s just a shame I didn’t have quite as much swoon-worthy romance during my own days at NYU!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    VIRTUALLY YOURS was a fun, fast, and sweet read. It didn’t give me fireworks or butterflies, but it was still a solid YA romance. Mariam Vakilian is a freshman at at NYU who has a coupon for a virtual-reality dating service called HEAVR. Her high school boyfriend of three years broke up with her, and she is ready to try out something new to get her mind off him. After going through the initial questionnaire supported by HEAVR’s happily ever after guarantee, Mariam sees her results: her #1 match VIRTUALLY YOURS was a fun, fast, and sweet read. It didn’t give me fireworks or butterflies, but it was still a solid YA romance. Mariam Vakilian is a freshman at at NYU who has a coupon for a virtual-reality dating service called HEAVR. Her high school boyfriend of three years broke up with her, and she is ready to try out something new to get her mind off him. After going through the initial questionnaire supported by HEAVR’s happily ever after guarantee, Mariam sees her results: her #1 match is her coworker Jeremy, and her #3 match is her ex-boyfriend, Caleb. So, Mariam does what any heartbroken teenager might consider - she chooses Caleb and concocts an avatar with a fake name that looks nothing like her, and asks Caleb on a virtual date. The catfishing plot bothered me much more than I thought it would. A few movies and books lately have done spins on the same thing, the recent movie SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER coming to mind. There’s something that’s just so wrong about these tropes, from the lying and deception to the level of obsession and conviction that it takes to keep the ruse up. It especially bothers me when the person being lied to comes to totally accept the lies and deception with very few questions asked. It’s so unrealistic! (For a better version of how this story can go, see any spin on Cyrano de Bergerac.) It took way too long for Mariam to see the error in what she did, and even in the end, her excuses of “I was heartbroken! I thought it was fate!” still win the day. Her friends and family are also pretty complicit in this, which is a little gross. The chemistry between Mariam and Jeremy was really sweet and fun, but it was too few and far between to really ignite a love for the two characters together. Honestly, I think this book could have been longer and drawn out the interactions between them more, making it more of a pining-on-both-sides story. The ending is really rushed and doesn’t give you more than a ten-second glimpse into the happy ending as promised. One aspect of this book that I loved was Tash’s integration of Iranian culture and family dynamics. Mariam and her family are Iranian Muslims, and it’s clear that her culture is a big part of her personal life; Tash brings in Iranian foods, sibling and parental relationships, and familial norms. It was a great way to make Mariam a more rounded character and to tell the story of a nonwhite female protagonist. Caleb is black and Jeremy is Mexican; Mariam’s college roommate Hedy is lesbian. And you don’t feel like any of these characters or their diverse traits are just thrown in as a token. Yay for diversity in YA and romance! Overall, this was a solid and cute story with an interesting premise; I could have gone for a little less catfishing and a little more fun and flirty romance. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    What did you like about the book? Mariam is an Iranian American college freshman at NYU who signs up for HEAVR (Happily Ever After Virtual Reality) from a free coupon given out at orientation. She's never tried online dating let alone virtual dating, but after seeing her ex-boyfriend Caleb's newest profile picture on social media, she decides it's time to try to move on. Then one of her three recommended matches is Caleb -- despite the fact that thousands of people are in the database and he liv What did you like about the book? Mariam is an Iranian American college freshman at NYU who signs up for HEAVR (Happily Ever After Virtual Reality) from a free coupon given out at orientation. She's never tried online dating let alone virtual dating, but after seeing her ex-boyfriend Caleb's newest profile picture on social media, she decides it's time to try to move on. Then one of her three recommended matches is Caleb -- despite the fact that thousands of people are in the database and he lives in California! Mariam makes the decision to start dating Caleb in the virtual world as Sienna and hide that it's really her. When Mariam has to eventually tell the truth about who she is, Caleb rejects her once again and she is devastated. Meanwhile, Mariam has made good friends with her roommate, Hedy (who is a film major and already in a serious relationship with her girlfriend Genevieve), along with her co-worker Jeremy who also happens to be one of her other two recommended matches through HEAVR. Mariam's siblings Mina and Mehdi are supportive of Mariam but concerned about her choices. Her high school estranged friend Rose helps Mariam see that her identity was too tied up in her relationship with Caleb, which is particularly important when she and Caleb start long distance dating again after he reconsiders. Solidly YA fiction, Virtually Yours appears to be a light romance novel, but has deep issues simmering beneath the surface. There is mention of racism and fears of immigrants in America (Jeremy is half Mexican and Mariam's parents immigrated from Iran), as well as questions about ethics as it relates to the digital world. Conversations between characters feel realistic and the romance unfolds naturally. Recommended for grades 9+. To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like books about self discovery with a splash of romance may like this one. Anything you didn’t like about it? I couldn't get completely absorbed in the book until nearly halfway through because of inconsistent pacing. I was also confused by an unexplored plot line that involved Mariam's father; he presents as highly anti-social and obsessed with playing poker, but unable to gamble because of his Muslim beliefs. I wanted to know more!

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