My Mechanical Romance
Alexene Farol Follmuth
Published May 31, 2022
About My Mechanical Romance
Opposites attract in this battle-robot-building YA romance from the NYT best-selling author of THE ATLAS SIX.
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 made more than just a combat-ready robot for the championship: they’ve made each other and the team better. Because girls do belong in STEM.
In her YA debut, Alexene Farol Follmuth, author of THE ATLAS SIX (under the penname Olivie Blake), explores both the challenges girls of color face in STEM and the vulnerability of first love with unfailing wit and honesty. With an adorable, opposites-attract romance at its center and lines that beg to be read aloud, MY MECHANICAL ROMANCE is swoon-worthy perfection.
My favorite part of MY MECHANICAL ROMANCE is how unapologetically weird Bel is. I loved her sense of humor and the funny way she would put things. I also liked that she keeps that same off-beat weirdness through the whole story– it’s just who she is, and not something she ever really tones down to try to fit in.
Teo had to grow on me. At the beginning, he’s kind of a jerk. Really focused in on himself and not very able to see things from anyone else’s perspective. I liked the way he began to see things in a new way and that his journey had a lot of layers. It was important for him to recognize Bel’s giftedness and expertise, but I feel like if the story had stopped there, he would still have been a pretty shallow guy. Instead, he has to go a lot further to think about how his behavior and views impact the rest of the team and when those things, even if they’re well-intentioned, cause harm to the rest of his team.
I really enjoyed the team and competition aspects of the story, too, which surprised me. Robotics isn’t something I’ve ever been personally interested in, but I loved reading how Bel and Teo worked together to problem-solve different parts of their designs. And I had a great time reading the scenes describing the competitions. I felt like those really put me on the edge of my seat. They were so great!
All in all, this one was a big win for me. I love that it celebrates women in STEM and romance at the same time. Both those elements worked well together and made the story twice as enjoyable.
I think fans of TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon will enjoy this smart, funny book.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Bel is Filipino American. Teo is Mexican American and Jewish.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl.
References to praying before dinner.
Robots battle each other in competition.
Teens drink alcohol at a party at Teo’s house.
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