Member Reviews

Do you love books with food descriptions that are so good they make you hungry?

Do you like Food competition shows like the Great British Bakeoff?

Fans of Red White and Royal Blue and A Pho Love Story
will fall in love with this opposite attracts, fake dating ,
book where they may have more in common than they thought

"We have the destiny to meet across a thousand miles." ( swoon)

Dylan wants to help his Aunt save her Takeout delivery restaurant , An aspiring chef his chance is to enter and win the Mid Autumn Mooncake competition. Theo Somers with a crazy rich Asian family needs a plus one to his cousins wedding .They could help each other right?
I am a huge fan of Chinese and Korean Drama, and I could see inspiration from Meteor Garden directly in this book, right down to the name of the character Dylan Tang ( Wang Hei De / Dylan Wang) who played the main character.) I believe he still would be the perfect fit if this was optioned for film! I love how we both got to see each character grow in this book because of the influence they had on each other. Troy found his family in Dylan's and the grand gesture flying across the globe to get the needed ingredient for the moon cakes, and stopping to see Dylan's grandparents was truly priceless.

I will definitely be reading the authors upcoming book when it releases! Thank you to Underlined press for my gifted copy!

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This was such a sweet YA LGBTQ+ read! The way their main character’s family and culture was woven through the whole this was really beautiful and gave me a list of foods i want to find asap.

Its hard to go wrong with fake dating!!

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This was really magical. Cosy but modern - a beautiful balance between traditional romance and queer issues. I often ask if the book would be exactly the same if it was written with a hetero couple, and a lot of this on e would but the nuances of possible repression or discrimination would definitely not - I think they are done exceptionally well. Having said that, the beauty of the characters and place shines through, with reflections on lore from different heritages and a varied cast.

Not sold yet?

ONLY ONE BED TROPE.

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I was so tempted to read this book because the cover was so cute. This book was a super cute and fun read. I think the fake dating part was my favorite and the end was really heartwarming. If you just want an enjoyable cute and sweet story with a fun and interesting plot I would definitely recommend this book.

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My Thoughts:

If you have been paying attention to my reading over the years, there are book tropes that I will always fall for, whether I like the cover, know the artist or even like the title. My go to tropes when I want to forget about whatever deadlines I have looming is: fake date romance (any - hetero, gay, multi ethnic, mono ethnic - love is love) AND rom coms with FOOD involved. If the characters are Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander, or even not American at all, better yet. I find the generational cultural clashes more interesting.

Fake Date and Mooncakes fits into all my categories for the perfect recipe for cuddling up and reading. What makes it different is that it has a rich/poor trope in the vein of Crazy Rich Asians where the economic difference for Theo Sommers' family is more egregious than Theo being gay. Dylan Tang, the other main character and fake date material is so lovable and his values are so solid that it is hard to understand Theo's families worries. Dylan is easy to root for and if he just walks away, I would still cheer for him.

As for the food part, Dylan has lost his mom and is living with his aunt. He is trying to keep their restaurant open and sees a local Mooncake contest as an opportunity to help his aunt keep her restaurant open. After delivering food and getting a horrible review from someone that seems like Theo's boyfriend, Dylan doesn't think twice about Theo despite the little spark. But Theo comes to the restaurant the next day to apologize and Dylan snags him with xiao long bao. Now that is a great reason to fake date someone. "You had me at xiao long bao." In addition, once Dylan decides to enter the mooncake contest, he chooses a mooncake his grandmother made. The recipe is one he and his mother were going to make together, but when she dies, the recipe is gone and he needs to recreate it. This is just one example of how Ms. Lee weaves in real emotion and heart to a rom com that could have stayed light and funny. Be prepared to cry.

If your readers like this, try:
Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho
Fires on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
A Phò Love Story by Loan Le
An Appetite for Miracles by Laekan Zea Kemp

From the Publisher:
Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs—in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn.

Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan’s stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons.

In Theo’s glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo’s relatives reveal their true colors—but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can’t risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems.

Can Dylan save his family’s business and follow his heart—or will he fail to do both?

Publisher Information:
Author: Sher Lee
Publisher: Underlined (May 16, 2023)
Paperback length: 272 pages
Grades 7-9

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While I got through this one quickly, I wasn't really into the couple. Theo was laughably rich and didn't seem to take into account how different his and Dylan's lives are. The story and couple didn't feel fully fleshed out, and I just found that I wasn't moony eyed over the couple, as I usually am with romances. Still, I did enjoy the mooncake plotline and found the family aspects to be sweet.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

This was a cute romance that had me smiling throughout the book, and very cliche but that’s what I enjoyed about it. I can’t wait for the authors next book.

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A cute book! Fake Dates and Mooncakes is a quick and cozy read, full of real life problems and love, as well as grief over the loss of a mother, all under a sham relationship. The feelings are described in a very real and believable way and the mooncakes sound so amazing that I wanted to eat them all. This book is a quick and wholesome read. Teens will surely enjoy this queer book and it will make an excellent addition to any school library.

Though I usually hate the love at first sight trope, the way it was handled here made it more enjoyable. Dylan just thinks Theo is hot, but then Theo's not-boyfriend gets in the way, interrupting a good vibe. They come from different families and social strata, and so struggle to connect in that regard. This part is easily overcome as their feelings grow and they learn more about one another. I love Dylan's family. They own a Chinese takeout and every dish made me so hungry, especially the mooncakes! The way he supports them and they support him is enviable.

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ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a cute book and it was also one of my most anticipated books of 2023.

The second I heard Crazy Rich Asians meets Heartstopper I was immediately sold. As you probably know, Heartstopper is one of my favourite books and so I was almost certain I would adore Fake Dates and Mooncakes. Not to mention, I was promised food and corgis!

The plot centres around Dylan who just lost his mum not too long ago. He enters a mooncake competition featuring a traditional recipe his mum used. Meanwhile, he becomes the fake date of Theo, a customer of his aunt's takeaway business and is thrust into a world of wealth and privilege.

I really liked all the characters although I must admit I was second guessing Theo all the time, genuinely wondering if he was just leading Dylan on. There didn't seem to be a purpose for his character apart from being Dylan's love interest. I blame that on the fact that there were a few missed opportunities to expand on his characterisation. I think if we got to know Theo deeper as a character, the chemistry between him and Dylan would've grown and then we would've seen that Heartstopper comparison we were told in the blurb.

Family was what made this whole book rather than the romance. I loved Dylan's family's dynamic and I liked the glimpses we got into Theo's family too. Overall, this was a good book. Not a perfect one, there was definitely room for improvement, but there was a lot of heart.

ACTUAL RATING: 3.6 STARS

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

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This was adorable! I loved the tropeness of it all. Thank you so much for the early copy! A great read for Lunar New Year.

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Fake Dates and Mooncakes was my first novel by this author. And I absolutely LOVED it! This was so beyond adorable and I could totally read twenty more books like this. Highly recommend!

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Fake Dates and Mooncakes (eARC) — 4 ⭐️

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐝 —
🥰 Feel-Good Story
🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQIA+ Rep
🥸 Fake Dating
💒 Wedding Related
🔐 Closed Door Romance
🍽 Foodie Inspired
🔥 Slow Burn Romance

𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐢𝐟 —
📺 You enjoy cooking shows
👩‍🍳 You’ve worked at a restaurant
👚 You like punny t-shirts
👰‍♀️ You’ve crashed a wedding
🛍️ You like shopping at markets

𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 & 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰: I saw a review that said “Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians,” and I couldn’t agree more! This adorable, short rom-com will have your heart bursting! The whole story was cute, wholesome, and predictable, but isn’t that the charm of YA romance?! Also, I enjoyed learning about the history of mooncakes, and I could totally see this book making a great movie.

Can we talk about how this book cover is EVERYTHING!?!?! 😍😍😍

𝐓𝐖: drowning, alcoholism, abandonment, death of parent (past), grief

Thank you, NetGalley and Random House, for providing me an eARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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3.75 ⭐️ rounded up

This was super cute and a quick, easy read! It was predictable and a very cliche fake dating plot but I still enjoyed it! My main gripe was it was very hard to believe high schoolers would be doing some of these things. Staying in a hotel together at 17 years old for entire weekend? I can't even imagine 🤣😆

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This book has been a highly excited and antipacted book all throughout book instagram. A lot had to with the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous. The overall book is a sweet and fluffy romance that can draw a lot of readers in. The faking dating was definitely strong and exciting to read.

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3.5/5 stars

This was such a sweet, feel-good romance. It seems like a lot of the gay YA romances I read are super focused on identity and coming out (which are very important!) but it was nice to read a YA gay romance that was focused on other themes, like friendship, love, and grief. I really enjoyed this one!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy.

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Had really high hopes on this book because I’d love a good Chinese queer romance.

Unfortunately Fake Dates and Mooncakes doesn’t have the cute fake date moments I’m looking for, the romance part was a bit weak, and overall cliche. There were some Chinese saying referencesbut I’m not sure they’re best used in this story.

Did not hate it but it wasn’t a memorable book either.

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i adore this book so much, the setting was perfect (i was in nyc while reading this!!) and both the main character and the love interest are written soo well + the plotline/cuisine/culture >>>

Overall had decently written main characters and it worked really nicely together! Would recommend for a fast and fun read.

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Loved this story and how it weaved characters, culture, and contests! A great "window" book for my students!

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mm - contemporary romance - Asian MCs - Asian author - young adult - no steam - pov: first single - autumn vibes - holiday romance (Mid-Autumn Festival) - food industry - class gap - celebrity - fake date - only one bed - ARC - 5 stars. This book is the closest to casually queer I have ever seen in a contemporary romance. The story was so sweet and heartwarming, the class gap and celebrity aspects were really well done. It was such an immersion in Chinese food and culture!

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