Cover Image: Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Fake Dates and Mooncakes

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Member Reviews

This book is absolutely delightful. Combining the sweetness of Heartstopper and the issues of family obligation and economic inequity of Crazy Rich Asians, this is a welcome addition to queer YA. We need more books like this!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this!

The cover of the book is what immediately drew me to this book then the description said similar-ish to crazy rich Asians hooked me. 

The story follows Dylan and Theo in the Hamptons. I really enjoyed the Asian representation within the book as someone who is Asian and knows very little about my culture! I think their relationship was absolutely adorable and wish for a Dylan and Theo and Dylan’s dog for myself. I personally don’t think love at first sight is realistic due to not really knowing the kind of person they are by a look but over all, I really enjoyed this book!!

Highly recommend reading this!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

I really enjoyed how cute the story was! The book was incredibly charming, heart-warming, and fun. I loved seeing Dylan and Theo's relationship progress. I also really enjoyed the food and cultural elements of the story.

Overall, it was a super good read. Highly recommend.
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Fake Dates & Mooncakes

I feel a bit conflicted on how to review this because, unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wanted to. 

Fake Dates & Mooncakes is extremely *cute,* but there’s not much depth behind that façade. I constantly found myself at the end of a section wanting more - it never felt like any of the subplot points were fully fleshed out and they were just there to fill in the story gaps. This is blurbed as Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians, and the latter part is spot on. This has all of the unrealistic drama that annoyed me in Crazy Rich Asians. 

I liked the characters, both Dylan and Theo were incredibly sweet and I enjoyed learning more about them, but I wasn’t convinced that they *actually* liked each other? Especially Theo. He kept too many secrets the entire time and made these massive (and often unwanted) gestures that made Dylan feel uncomfortable. There were a lot of power imbalances between the two of them (where Theo and Theo’s family are literally responsible for keeping Wok Warriors in business), it made it difficult for me to think that these two could ever have a stable relationship. 

This was a very quick and easy read, however, and I had a good time, but I can’t see myself ever picking it back up. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Underlined for the advanced copy.
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“Fake Dates and Mooncakes” is a fantastic debut novel following Dylan Tang, a seventeen-year-old boy who helps run his Aunt Jade’s Wok Warriors, a family take out business in the brink of closure. Winning the Mid-Autumn mooncake-making contests is what Dylan takes a jab. The price to be featured in a famous TV show is a much-needed publicity to save it but time is running out.

 In one of his deliveries, he meets Theo Somers, rich and dapper, finds out about the straining business and offered Dylan help. He knows he must accept it but only if allowed to reciprocate. And what’s more fitting than to be Theo’s date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. Their chemistry is off the charts but while reeling in this whirlwind of emotions, rich-people drama also comes barging in hotter than a burning wok. With the impending mooncake-making contest, Dylan needs to put all his efforts and refrain from being distracted. But where do they draw the line when pretend seems all too real?

My usual track is around heavy themes, but a fluffy and adorable read is quite the pleasant surprise. I love Dylan and Theo’s immediate connection, their flirtations, and the sweeping “kilig” (no direct English translation but “romantic excitement” is a close one) they bring every moment they can. I appreciate how quite mature they handled things and how they understood the delineation of what is actionable and not. It’s not the cheesy you-and-me-against-the-world type of thing.

If there is an ask, that would have been to have seen more of Theo. I understand that it is written in Dylan’s perspective yet it’s almost as if Theo only served as the love interest in the story. I would have love to have a follow up book where we also see things unfold from Theo’s voice.

Although it utilizes the usual story tropes such as fake-dating, there’s-only-one-bed, and different-worlds/statuses, this book folds in endearing topics that would pull at the heartstrings. It also openly incorporated Eastern values which, in turn, breathed more authenticity to the characters. And yes, what also shines in this story are the side characters. Dylan’s cousins Megan and Tim with the teasing and playful banter; the understanding Aunt Jade; and supportive Terri. Even butler Bernard and not forgetting, Clover our barkfriend.

“Fake Dates and Mooncakes” is absolutely a meet-cute, romcom that champions culture and tradition while acknowledging the flaws of young love. There’s totally ono dodging all the abundant feelings this awesome debut is serving in a warm platter. Food and an adorable corgi just seal the deal tighter!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Dylan helps out at his aunt’s takeout, but they are struggling financially. The publicity from winning a mooncake making contest could help them save the shop. When he meets Theo, he also agrees to help the shop in exchange for fake dates with Dylan. 

I could tell that this book was a debut, but I thought it showed potential. Some of the dialogue felt stilted and a little unnatural for teenage boys. I liked the food and culture elements, but at times it sounded like a travel guide. The fake dating story line got more attention than the cooking competition for the majority of the book. The drama around Theo's wealthy family was a little over the top for me, but I did think Dylan and Theo were sweet together. 

While it was a sweet young adult romance, and I enjoyed some of the Singapore cultural elements, it felt a little clunky and overly dramatic overall.
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Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians is the perfect way to describe this story. Theo comes from wealth & Dylan is trying to win a baking contest to help keep his Aunt’s takeout business afloat. While some of the plot was far fetched and there are moments of sappy, cheesy young love, I really enjoyed these characters, their connection, and I learned a lot about Chinese culture. 

Sincere thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes has an adorable premise, and an even cuter cover. Unfortunately, I didn't find that the execution of the premise lived up to all that adorable potential. 

The prose and writing style was the weakest point - it felt flat and insipid, with dialogue that rarely sounded natural or like real people speaking in the real world. But the plot was a bit of a flop, too, being oddly paced with either nothing going on for too long or something suddenly dramatic happening too much. Both the marketing copy and the story itself promise Crazy Rich Asians-esque hijinks, but the escapades of the rich and famous are largely just some tacky wedding decoration choices and one young woman's unfortunate drinking problems, while every obstacle and conflict is solved easily and sentimentally. I just didn't really care about any of it, in the end, despite the delicious descriptions of food (usually surrounded by that unnatural-sounding dialogue educating me on an element of Chinese cuisine or culture) and the cutely romantic set-ups...that typically fizzled out. Ultimately, a cutely decorated mooncake with a bland filling. 

Thank you to the publisher for the advance review copy.
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Definitely a favorite read of 2023! I adored the characters and was all in for the romance plot. I’m also a sucker for stories that explore family dynamics, shared experiences, and fighting to keep everything afloat. Such a fun, beautiful read!
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I absolutely adored this witty, heartwarming, m/m romance!⁣
It has a beautiful covers, queer love stories, fake dating, rich culture, yummy food, lovable characters -and their adorable pets. This book is perfection and it's the book is for everyone. It's happy and beautiful...everyone will fall in love with Dylan, Theo and, of course, Clover!
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes was a charming read! It was just as cute as the cover. The characters were well written, and the story felt like a warm hug. The romance was sweet, and I especially enjoyed all the culinary aspects of the story. A pretty standard YA Rom-Com debut.
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I really enjoyed reading this! Dylan and Theo’s story was absolutely adorable and a treat to read. The writing read a little young for me, which is why I’m giving it a 4 star rating instead of 5, but I enjoyed it nonetheless! 

Not only was this book full of relatable queer representation, but it also featured fake dating! One of my favorite tropes. It was so well done in this book.
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Thank you Netgalley and publisher for this advanced copy.

This book was an okay for me. there was nothing special but still enjoyable. I would like to read more from Sher Lee
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If you love food, you need to pick up this adorable, fun, endearing book today! Fake Dates and Mooncakes is out in the world, and I’m so happy for Sher Lee getting to see all of her hard work to come to fruition today! 

This is a sweet contemporary YA romcom, with shades of Crazy Rich Asians, Heartstopper, and a serious love and respect for food. 

It is also a tender look at grief and how it can still unite us despite differences, an authentic look at Asian culture, and a sweet story of fake dating and opposites attract at its heart. I loved so many moments in this book, the writing was witty, snappy, and fun. I cannot wait for more from this author and hope this is just the start! 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an arc of this book!
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If I were to describe this book it would be if hallmark made a gay version of Crazy Rich Asian. It was a cute story and I really enjoyed reading it. Although the lack of communication between Dylan and Theo was a bit frustrating but was totally understandable especially for Dylan who didn’t feel like he belonged with Theo due to their difference in socio-economic standing. Also, I loved reading about the different cultural aspects shared in the books from the importance and process of making mooncakes to the Mid-Autumn festival. It was so interesting to read and learn about. Besides that I wish there was more focus on the Mooncake competition, especially when it is supposed to be super important to the family. It kind of felt like an afterthought in the plot and if it were not there it wouldn’t have changed the plot that much.
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A cute book with great culinary imageries, i enjoyed reading about Dylan and Theo and all their fake dating escapades and cultural displays. at the same time, i couldn't be invested in the story completely because the writing style was very straightforward and the typical insta love + third act breakup path didn't sit well with me.
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thank you to netgalley and getunderlined for an eARC of this book. all opinions are my own.

being disappointed by one of your most anticipated releases has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

i really wanted to love this book ever since it was announced, because it sounded right up my alley: queer crazy rich asians x fake dating x making mooncakes!! what's not to love! i thought it could be similar to CAFE CON LYCHEE by emery lee or THEY HATE EACH OTHER by amanda woody, another may mlm release with fake dating, a rich LI, and baking.

however, less than 20% in, i knew i was not going to enjoy this book unless something drastic changed. i honestly considered dnfing, but i thought i owed this book a full read-through since i was so excited for it before. i don't think my opinion would be any better if i had just stopped reading at the 20% mark, though.

the first thing that stood out to me was the dialogue. there are maybe two (2) natural-sounding conversations within the 272 pages of this book. except for those two conversations, which were both flirty and lasted around five lines, the rest of the dialogue is dedicated to exposition. this can be okay in some contexts, but when *all* the dialogue is that? and none of it is actual character- or relationship-building? it becomes so unnatural so quickly. because of these stilted convos, i did not buy the attraction between theo and dylan, which is bad because the entire book hinges on them caring for each other wayyy too much for two people who just met. i don't dislike insta love/insta lust because sometimes it can work, but it only works when the characters have chemistry. i don't think we get a single personality trait from theo other than "rich" for the whole book, and while money can be attractive, that doesn't create the strongest romance for a romance book.

dialogue and chemistry aside, the plot is also weak. we have two concurrent plots: theo and dylan fake dating at theo's cousin's wedding, and dylan preparing for a mooncake contest. even before reading, i was skeptical of how these two plots would intersect, and unfortunately, they do not really. theo gets involved in the mooncake stuff seemingly randomly, and its not believable that he wants to help dylan because again, no chemistry.

the fake dating was probably the most disappointing part, though. fake dating is probably my favorite trope of all time, and when it's executed well it can be life-changing. however, one of the big pitfalls of fake dating is that the characters need to have a reason to fake date. this can be to appease family members, friends, or a PR scheme, but it has to be believable. in this book, i thought the fake dating would be happening because theo's rich family was putting pressure on him to "settle down" or something. wouldn't be the most original fake dating plot, but it's reliable. instead, the reason we got was... nothing. there was absolutely no reason for theo to 1. bring dylan to the wedding as his date and 2. pretend that they were already in a relationship. at no point did any family member comment on theo's relationship status past "oh look you have a bf cool." it was just so frustrating to read because again, fake dating is my favorite trope and one of the reasons i was looking forward to this book.

there are other reasons i disliked this book, such as the bland side characters, poorly written classism, under developed daddy issues, racial tokenism, and casual moment of bi-erasure, but i think this review is already too long. if you want to read a well-written mlm fake dating book with a rich MC that actually addresses parental and class issues, please read THEY HATE EACH OTHER by amanda woody.
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I absolutely adore this book. I loved the characters and the storyline! Definitely recommend to all my friends and followers
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I wanted to love this book a whole lot but was able to get my expectations down so I don't get too disappointed (I do that with every book) 

Started it, and from the very first page was glued to the story of Dylan and Theo. 

I adored Dylan and his character, his t-shirts, his love for his family, and the way he is as a person, I was able to connect with him with his grief. 

His Aunt and his cousins were just so lovely and it was so nice to see the interactions with them and Dylan as well as Theo. 

Theo though is a whole other kettle of fish. This boy is just up there trying to be the best book boyfriend and is probably succeeding in a lot of ways because how the hell could I not fall in love with this boy 

Dylan's and Theo's love and relationship blossoming was so so lovely!! 

I was not expecting this book to also make me cry!!! I was just bawling my eyes out near the end. 

Clover the Corgi was the star of the show, I would have loved more of that doggo. 

I loved finding out where mooncakes came from and other bits and pieces of the culture and language.

5 outta 5 stars
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From the moment I started reading 'Fake Dates and Mooncakes', I was hooked on the heartwarming love story between Dylan and Theo. Sher Lee has crafted a delightful romantic comedy that is sure to put a smile on your face.

“Dylan Tang, a teenage chef who dreams of winning a mooncake-making competition in honor of his late mother and to bring attention to his aunt's struggling Chinese takeout restaurant in Brooklyn. However, his plans are derailed when he meets Theo Somers, a charming and wealthy customer who convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. Dylan begins to fall for Theo, but as Theo's true colors are revealed through his wealthy and dramatic family, Dylan must navigate his feelings and remain focused on the competition”.

The characters are lovable and relatable, and their chemistry is palpable. I especially appreciated the way the author handles themes around identity, the Asian American diaspora, and the challenges of navigating a new relationship. This book is a perfect blend of swoon-worthy romance and sweet humor, with a dash of delicious food descriptions thrown in. If you're a fan of 'Heartstopper' and 'Crazy Rich Asians', you won't want to miss this charming novel.
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