Cover Image: Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

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Member Reviews

Although a minor point for some, I love that this tale of two queer girls of South Asian descent take place in Ireland (and not New Jersey, for example). It seems as though many stories, even when they feature QTBIPOC, continue to be U.S.-centric. Additionally, I appreciate the depiction of the diversity within/among South Asian cultures: important to remember and at the same time, just *is*, if that makes any sense. Plot-wise, the fake dating trope may be a little bit tired, but Jaigirdar's snappy prose made HANI and ISHU quite an enjoyable read.
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Rounding up from 3.25 stars.

Jaigirdar writes such sweet romances! We need more of these sapphic stories with well-developed characters and explorations of family and cultural identity. I liked the development of the relationship between Hani and Ishu as well as their own individual storylines. Both felt like different characters with unique voices, which I know some authors struggle to portray. It was hard to read about the homophobia and biphobia, but I think it was handled well. I will recommend this to my teens who crave contemporary romances.
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An extremely cute book. The more I read it, the more I loved it. You'll cheer for Hani and Ishu from the first page to the last!
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Adorable and sweet, this is the perfect middle or high school romance novel combining so many classic teen rom-com tropes but in a brand new setting with desperately needed diversity.
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This was a fun read, though I was underwhelmed by the ending - it felt like there were too many loose ends still. I did, however, love the exploration of what makes a friendship and what we owe our families and to ourselves, and the pacing and voice were great.
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Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating was one of the best LGBTQ+ books I read in 2021.  The relationships with their families made me happy and sad at the same time, and made the entire story hit that much harder.
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A fake dating story that satisfies all your needs if you enjoy this trope. 
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There are tough discussions about assimilation and toxic friendships. There is an equal balance of light and cheerful romance that warms your heart. 
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Hani and Ishu are both lovely characters that are dealing with the pressure of parents’ ideas and morals. 
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This also fits the bright bubbly character that falls for the grump!
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I had my doubts about a sapphic YA fake dating novel… but this was actually really well done. Even though it still felt young (characters are 16 and 17, I believe), it didn’t make it hard to listen to as an adult. All the issues were actually believable, and it dealt with a lot of big topics (racism, biphobia, family trauma) in a very nice and realistic way. I highly recommend for both younger and older readers.
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This book was absolutely delightful. I'm so happy it exists. I imagine it'll mean a lot to all queer girls of color, and especially young queer muslim girls.
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This was a cute middle school enemies to "lovers" trope that I enjoyed. Culture is important for these girls and it shows how that plays a part in their sexuality journey.
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Absolutely loved this book! This is truly the perfect recipe for a love story and the queer rep was incredible. Jaigirdar is firmly establishing herself to be a must-have voice in YA.
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Another skilful and heartwarming read from Jaigiradar, whose protagnonists have depth, nuance and charm in spades. A compelling read, with an admirable lightness of touch.
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This is a classic fake dating romance between two girls who weren’t exactly enemies before, but definitely fit into the “opposites attract” category. I liked how distinct their personalities were and how they end up complementing each other (but not before clashing first). While their romance is the focus of the plot, it’s Jaigirdar’s depiction of being a Bengali teen in a very white high school that caught my attention the most. Both Humaira and Ishita deal with everyday racism and microaggressions, but they deal with them in very different ways. Ishita seems to tune them out, or prefers not to consciously think about them. Humaira reacts with anger and frustration at the system. The school administration demonstrates blatant (racially biased) favoritism that made me angry just to read about, but that’s accepted as a fact of life.

One small note is that I appreciated that this book starts with content warnings, which I hope is becoming a more common practice. Overall, I thought this was even stronger than The Henna Wars. Both main character feel three-dimensional and fully-realized, and it was entertaining to see how they tried to adapt to each other and work together. If you’re a fan of fake dating or F/F YA, definitely give this one a try.
Thanks to NetGalley and  Page Street Publishing for the ARC.
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This trope-filled fake-dating teen romance featuring two queer Bengali girls is an excellent follow-up to Jaigirdar's debut novel, THE HENNA WARS.  The teen characters are funny, well-developed, and authentically teen.  With important, teen-centered dialogue about culture, religion, and identity alongside the swooniest rom-com moments, readers will find so much to love about this book.
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My first reaction to this book is Hani's friends are absolute jerks. My second reaction was "a win for the sapphics!"

This was a cute contemporary and I loved seeing supportive parents in a queer YA book. While I thought it was cute, I didn't think it did anything totally groundbreaking or exciting. It was just a nice, cute novel about women loving women. And honestly, you love to see it.
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Always a fan of YA reads and representation has been missing in this genre but it all seems to change. I've been able to read some Asian writers this year and Adiba's book here takes the cake for it!
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It is so wonderful to read a book where the characters come from an underrepresented group. I loved learning about foods, clothing and even getting a little dialogue from Bangladesh. It was also interesting to learn a little about the Muslim religion. 
But all of that was just the color for the story. The author did a great job developing the foundation of the story interesting. The two distinct personalities for Hani and Ishu meshed well for a relationship.. The supporting characters all brought out an emotional response in me whether it was anger, laughs or motherly love.
I will definitely will read more from this author.
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Disclaimer: This novel explores themes of biphobia, xenophobia, and racism. Stay safe and know your limits, because books can hit home sometimes <3

I binge-read this book. It was SUCH A LIGHT READ!! In the sense that it was a fluffy rom-com, though it dealt with some not-light topics. This book contained *many* of my favorite tropes, including enemies-to-lovers, fake dating, grumpy+sunshine, and pretty much all the fun stuff ever. You may think "all the fun stuff ever" isn't specific enough, but if you read the book, you'll understand *exactly*what I mean!!

You know when queer people say that having queer characters in classic tropes makes them twenty thousand times better? Yeah, this is one of those cases. OH MY GOD??? THE REPRESENTATION IN THIS BOOK???? First of all, the bisexual rep was absolute perfection. Truly. Some of the scenes hit painfully close to home, but it feels so good to see them on the page. Both of the main characters are Bengalese, and from the reviews by other South Asian people that I've seen, that representation is also great! Hani (one of the two main characters) is also Muslim, while Ishu (the other main character) isn't. BUT (!!!) Ishita is respectful of Hani's religion and practice (at least for the vast majority of the time). SO WE HAVE QUEER BENGALESE GIRLS, ONE OF WHOM IS MUSLIM, THAT ARE DIFFERENT IN SO MANY WAYS, ALL IN ONE BOOK??? Yes, my friends. Yes. We. Do. AND the author is a queer, South Asian hijabi!!! And let me tell you, it is *great*. There are also small passages in Sylheti! 

My favorite part of this book is the relationships the characters have with each other! We see supportive parents, the pressures that many teens have to deal with, toxic friendships, and a *very cute romance*. All these things create (at least in my opinion) a very relatable and authentic representation of the ✨teenage experience✨.

The plot was entertaining even if it wasn't a totally new concept (honestly, what is at this point?). But nothing has been sufficiently explored (or at all explored, if we're being honest) through a queer, Muslim, or Bengalese lens, so you don't feel it aside from the plot twists that I wasn't too surprised by (that might also be because I've read so many books). I also would've loved it if the time period during which Humaira and Ishita were falling for each other had been longer as it felt a bit rushed (I can't help it!! I love a slow-slow-slow burn).

THE WRITING WAS SO FUNNY. Jaigirdar's writing is hilarious and light, and very easily readable. I highlighted so many sentences that made me snort out loud or made me scream out of frustration. I am also partial to Ishu's chapters because I love her sense of humor.

In conclusion, I recommend this book to everyone (even those that, like me, don't read too much contemporary), and I KNOW you'll at least enjoy it and at most be absolutely obsessed with it till the end of the universe.
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Humaira aka "Hani"--aka "Moira" to her friends--and Ishita "Ishu" could not be more opposite: Hani is popular and easy-going while Ishu is intensely studious to the point of intimidation/unfriendliness. However, they have some interaction as their families are friends as part of the Bengali community in Dublin. When Hani comes out to her friends as bi, they laugh her off, but then she blurts out that she's, absurdly, dating Ishu. 

Ishu has always lived in her sister's shadow, but when Nikita says she's leaving school to get married, Ishu sees her chance to be better than her sister by being voted Head Girl. So when Hani, panicked, begs Ishu to go through with the plan, Ishu agrees as it may be a way to get her popular and, thus, the Head Girl votes she'll need. Their secret plan reveals complicated  dynamics that may be more than both girls could have anticipated. 

This book is written from Hani and Ishu's POV, switching off chapters. I absolutely loved this story...I could not put it down and finished it in less than a day...I thought this would be more of a middle-grade book because of the cover, but this is definitely YA with lots of profanity from Ishu.

Hani and Ishu are sympathetic characters and have the "opposites attract" chemistry going for them. I enjoyed reading about Muslim and Bengali families in Ireland and the pressures of trying to fit in. Hani stifles her Muslim identity and practices--prayer, not drinking alcohol, and a halal diet--from her friends so that she doesn't "make them uncomfortable" (her friends are trash). I love that Ishu gives Hani the confidence to be herself and not hide her identity. The friendship and romance that result from the fake dating is tenuous and delicate as they both begin to understand what it means to trust someone with your true self. This is a sweet book about coming out, being yourself, and learning to surround yourself with people who truly care for you. Abida Jaigirdar is now automatically on my "Want to Read" list!
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This was such a soft read and I am now ready to read everything Adiba Jaigirdar has to offer! Both Hani and Ishu captured my heart and I loved the way that they got to know each other and fall in love other the course of the book. I also always love dual POV books, especially when it comes to romance, I enjoy knowing what both parties are thinking and feeling. Both Hani and Ishu were such relatable and robust characters, I laughed with them, I cried with them, and I just wanted to give both of them big hugs. 

I also really enjoyed Ishu and Nik's relationship and their navigation of how their relationships with their parents impacted how they treated each other. I loved watching them figure out how to challenge the struggles they have had in the past and become closer. Nik's support of Ishu was so heartwarming and definitely made me think of my own little sister and my love for her. 

Adiba did such an incredible job highlighting Bengali culture and the community in Ireland, portraying both Hani and Ishu's different experiences with their families, cultures, and religions, while also examining their shared experiences in a predominantly white country. Adiba didn't shy away from portraying the realities of the racism and bigotry that Hani and Ishu face, and I appreciated that everything wasn't tied up neatly at the end of the book - there will be continuous challenges that Hani and Ishu will face, but they will face them together and with the love and support of the people who love them. 

TWs: racism, biphobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, toxic friendship, gaslighting, bullying, underage drinking, parental abandonment/neglect
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