What a cute book! A quick and easy read if you want something that doesn't stress you out but also focuses heavily on the importance of remembrance and family. The central romance is queer, which is normalized and not challenged in this story, and I have to appreciate that because I don't think I could handle any additional conflicts when I was in the mood for something soft to read. Thank you to Sher for including me on her FDAM street team and allowing me to see the behind the scenes leading up to the release of this book! I didn't expect to get teary eyed in so many places :')
What I loved: our main character Dylan is motivated for honorable reasons: win a baking competition in memory of his mother and hopefully bring in more customers to the family restaurant and hopefully launch them into a better life. He is driven by love and the support of his family, and asks for nothing in return. I think we need more stories about how boys can be soft and this just warmed my heart so much. While Theo's motivation started out as spiting his father and served as the spicer conflict in the book, the boys' love for each other was truly the highlight, and watching them fight for each other made my heart ache a little.
Say hello to my top read of January! I’ve been quiet this month since some of the book that I’ve read so far was boring that I dnf them.
But this one, I was hooked on the page one. I finished it within a day! It was so fun packed with fun, romance, family and great food.
It was cute and easy to read. I adored reading about Dylan and his family relationship. My heart ache for Theo and his father’s relationship. I love that there’s development of the characters. The supporting characters were also so good!
The complex were a good touch and ended with a nice finishing.
To think that this book was from a debut author!
Thank you so much Sher for this arc, I enjoyed reading it so much.
🚨 Do not read this book in the middle of the night it will make you go hungry.
I really enjoyed this rom com. It was a buddy read with a friend so that always makes reading a little more fun. I think the comparison to Crazy Rich Asians was spot on but Heartstopper was a little bit of a stretch. I found Heartstopper to be more of a coming of age story while Fake Dates and Mooncakes had older characters who faced different challenges.
Things I Liked
Fake dating trope
Food, recipes, and cooking competition
One thing I wasn't crazy about was the way that the wealthy characters had a tendency to "throw money" at problems. I was expecting that to be one of the central issues that was resolved by the end but it seems that even in the end, large sums of money or grandly expensive gestures "fixed" the problems.
This was a cute debut! I did think that Theo was a bit difficult to root for because of the people he surrounded himself with and how easily he let them off the hook for things, but I think that would've bothered me less if I were a teen reading this. I do think this book, like many current YAs, does suffer from way too many pop culture references that will make it feel so dated so soon.
Fake Dates and Mooncakes delivers just what it promises: warmth, joy and enough delicious food references to make you hungry the entire time you're reading.
This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint! The romance was sweet, the scenes were sweet and the food was sweet! A triple threat! Perfectly interweaving culture, family and love whilst exploring the tentativeness of a budding relationship.
I DEVOURED this. From start to end this relationship had me captivated, it was quick paced and flew by but held so many memories and special moments. There were so many of my favourite tropes interweaved as well: fake dating, only one bed and reality TV competitions, what more could you need?
I wish I could have this book all over again, with a mooncake by my side whilst I read. Also, Clover is an angel - we do not deserve book dogs.
The only criticism I have is less criticism and more personal preference, the book itself is very linear, what you see on the tin is what you get which isn't a bad thing! I was just looking for something a little bit more, something unexpected.
Regardless, I'm excited to see what this author does next!!
I love this book to the moon(cakes) and back.
Actual rating: 4.25
A aspiring chef who finds himself trying to figure out the recipe for love and his grandmother’s long lost moon cakes as he enters into a competition to save his family’s business... and go on fake dates with a handsome new customer. Dylan Tang wants nothing more than to save his family’s restaurant and pursue his dreams of being a chef. He wants to win the Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teens, in memory of his mother who had passed away and had wanted to do it with him before she passed... and to bring publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout. Cue Theo Somers, a handsome, wealthy, and charming guy who just happens to meet Dylan on the worst takeout delivery night of his life only to show up the next day and give him the biggest tip. Theo and Dylan are from completely different worlds but for some reason Theo keeps showing up, offering to take Dylan out on food tastings, helping him... and even giving him $5000 to help his aunt’s restaurant. Dylan is baffled, he doesn’t want to owe Theo anything... so Theo compromises: if Dylan promises to be his fake date to his cousin’s wedding they’ll be even. What was suppose to be fake soon starts to feel a little too real, Dylan can’t tell if they are just pretend or if its real as he finds himself falling into Theo’s world of wealth, privilege, and crazy rich drama. While dealing with this Dylan is also trying to find a way to win the mooncake competition but finds himself getting distracted by the rich-people drama. Dylan will soon have to ask himself if he can find a way to not only save his family business and follow his heart or if he can only have one and not the other. This was the absolute SWEETEST AND MOST ADORABLE ROM COM EVER. The way Theo and Dylan had me just gushing overing how sweet and precious they are. They have amazing chemistry and are just so sweet and caring. I absolutely adored this book so much and the food in it sounds AMAZING. The way I was craving mooncakes after eating this though, this book is absolutely charming and romantic in all the right ways. Theo was such a wonderful love interest for Dylan and they both were so cute. Dylan and Theo’s love for their families was beautiful and the lengths they would go to for one another? Amazing. Seriously add this book to your TBR immediately!
*Thanks Netgalley and Random House Children's, U
There is so much to fall in love with in this story about two boys from wildly different socioeconomic stratas: the sweet and wholesome romance, the endearingly flawed characters, the OTT lavish luxury, the very real family dynamics, and THE FOOD. The food descriptions were fantastic and had me drooling - being of Chinese-Malaysian heritage means a I grew up with a lot of this cuisine, so reading this book really felt like coming home.
The book tackles some big themes. It addresses issues around class, grief, and loss in a way that never feels forced or heavy-handed. I appreciated the way that the author explored these issues without slowing down the narrative or detracting from the overall lighthearted tone. I highly enjoyed this read!
I mean you had me at the cover! How bloody cute is it?!
This was such a fun read! I devoured it in almost one sitting. I loved so much about this book: the fake dating, the chemistry between the two leads, Dylan and Theo (swoon), the cultural references, the cooking references—OMG, the cooking references! This part was just fabulous. Fair warning though ... don't go into this book hungry.
I look forward to Sher Lee's next work as this debut was everything a rom-com should be! Highly recommend!
ARC was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and and Sher Lee for sending me an advanced E copy of this book in exchage for an honest review, you all helped kick this year off to a great start!
Fake Dates and Mooncakes was one of my most anticipated books of 2023 and I couldn't believe that I had the chance to read it before it officially came out. I was also nervous because I was afraid that I had hyped it up so much in my mind that there wasn't any way it could compare. However, I'm happy to report that I had just as much fun and enjoyed it as much as I had hoped.
In this touching romantic comedy we follow Dylan Tang's mission to win a mooncake festival to honor his recently deceased mother and to help his Aunt Jade keep her restaurant open. In the process he meets and falls in love with Theo, a rich boy from a world that feels miles apart from Dylan's. Through a series of touching and sometimes hilarious ups and downs their relationship is tested.
Fake Dates and Mooncakes is truly a wonderful mixture of romance and comedy that doesn't only focus on the blossoming relationship between Dylan and Theo, but also highlights the importance of family and heritage. Some of my favorite moments in the book were when we were together with Dylan's aunt and cousins learning about the history of Singaporean Chinese food. I love the message of food being so powerful that it brings people together from all walks of life and how food is an universal bridge to one's past.
I also appreciate that the romance felt fleshed out and healthy especially given that the two main characters are 17-18. I know many young, queer people will be picking this book up and to know that they'll see a healthy relationship depicted makes me really happy.
A wholesome romance between two young men from different socioeconomic brackets, this book has pretty much everything that's trending in YA right now. Between the fake dating trope, the baking competition, the AAPI and LGBTQIA+ rep, and the themes of privilege, family, and self-worth, this should check all the boxes for a YA novel. While I loved the representation and the premise (and the gorgeous cover), the dialogue felt stilted to me. Many of the conversations between the main characters felt unnatural and not like how teenagers, even smart, mature ones, would speak to each other. I also felt that some of the moments of impact were heavy handed; discussions of big corporate business and capitalism are important, but this book made them feel cheesy and forced.
Overall, this was middle of the road for me. While I loved the characters and the premise, I just didn't feel that this is something I'd recommend on merit.
Oh my - I am in love with this story and with Dylan and Theo! This ended up being so much more than I expected, and it's got this beautifully executed love story that's so much deeper than the cover might suggest. This story was funny, heartfelt, and just plain fantastic.I laughed, I cried and I hoped with these amazing characters.Highly recommended!
A CERTIFIED SLAY
Today’s *spoiler free* review is brought to you by YZ🍀
📌 𝑶𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝑽𝒆𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒄𝒕: A WordWanderlust’s ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Read
📁 𝑮𝒆𝒏𝒓𝒆: Young Adult, Romance Comedy, LGBTQ themes, BL
📚 𝑻𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒔: It is not everyday a Singaporean author reaches out to you with a brilliant pitch for her debut novel - a Young Adult Romance Comedy that promises to be a crossover between Heartstopper and Crazy Rich Asians. And it is also not everyday where I can proudly and confidently that Sher did just what she had promised! Taking a step further, I think this is a Singaporean version of Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue - one of my favourite YA Romcoms of all time.
I am not exaggerating when I say FDAM’s first chapter pulled me out of a massive reading slump that lasted for a couple of months. If you have seen our IG story a few days back, I was drawn by Sher’s ability to storytell. Detailed and dramatic, the way Sher set up the opening scene immediately caught my attention. The following chapters until the very last one were a breeze - increasingly captivating and vivid. This is a feel-good romcom, something that plunged me into a reading frenzy as I sat down after lunch and completed the entire novel in a 4 hour sitting. The characters are diverse. It is not everyday you see Asian characters in English LGBT BL novels, and certainly not ones with a Singaporean heritage and background. Sher did Singaporean cuisine due justice and she shared glimpses into Singaporean Chinese heritage and culture - I am sure foreign readers will be increasingly intrigued by this little red dot!
Characters were flawed but properly developed by the end of the book. They showed depth of emotions and Sher crafted such an innocent yet mature relationship between Dylan and Theo while remembering to develop the main character’s relationships with side characters as well. There were no redundant characters nor details present in the book, as each individual and scene added depth to the story. Dylan and Theo were the cutest ever! One small quip, however, was that I wished that Sher unpacked the trauma of loss Dylan and Theo both had even further - I feel that this would allow us readers to appreciate the innate connection Dylan and Theo shared even further and reveal more about each character’s past! Maybe this can be something to consider for a sequel?
FDAM also took me by surprise at how open and progressive the characters were. Reading FDAM provided for me an escape from the harsher nature of reality. In Asian societies, especially Singapore’s conservative one, queer relationships are not always so readily accepted nor embraced. Yet in FDAM, Sher chose not to emphasise on discrimination and prejudice. In FDAM’s world, Dylan and Theo’s relationship was just as natural and romantic as any other - something I hope society can progress towards. FDAM comes just in time as Singapore finally repealed the discriminatory Article 377A (the criminalisation of sex between men) and it is for me a symbol of progress towards greater equality. For this, I thank Sher for allowing me an escape, no matter how momentary, and a strong reminder of how much more beautiful society can be if everyone celebrated love.
Here at WordWanderlust, we are always actively supporting local Singaporean literature. Works such as Sher’s FDAM depict the talent inherent in Singaporean authors and literature. I believe that FDAM, as a Young Adult LGBT Romance Comedy, pushes the boundaries of Singaporean literature further and I hope to see more works such as FDAM in local bookstores. I strongly encourage everyone, especially our Singaporean friends, to give FDAM a read and I hope Sher’s masterpiece inspires more lighthearted LGBTQ positive works in Singaporean literature.
Fake Dates and Mooncake is available for request on Netgalley! Go request a copy now!
🖋️ 𝑭𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝑸𝒖𝒐𝒕𝒆: It’s as if the storm outside has electrified the invisible molecules in the air, forcing them to collide and creating an imbalance that’s waiting to be discharged somehow
This has been a highly anticipated read since the cover dropped back in November. I have been at the edge of my seat waiting to get hands on this book. Having the arcs get distributed this month was a dream come true. I was beyond ready to dive into the world of Dylan and Theo.
They were beyond lovely. I am a sucker for a wholesome romance and they gave me exactly that. Wholesome was served on a platter alongside with strong positive family dynamics and dysfunctional family dynamics. Having rich families go crazy cuckoo bananas will never fail to entertain me. Theos family was a hot mess and I thoroughly enjoyed that. It was a bit cheesy and almost too much at times but I still ate it up.
I do wish the flow in the storyline was smoother. There were a few things I didn’t think were necessary since they didn’t contribute to the story. Sometimes irrelevant details surfaced while some events could’ve used more details. But overall this was a lovely ya read. It gave romance and food like it said it would. It was cutesy and I have been needing that.
A fun and exciting debut that's as adorable as its cover, and can easily be devoured in just one sitting!
Sher Lee provides an amazing debut with Fake Dates and Mooncakes!
This book is not only adorable, but fully lives up to its name, with a fun plot driven story that had me swooning on more than one occasion.
Although it can be clichéd at times, they are done in the best possible way, with lovable characters that you root for since the very beginning to the very end, the rom-com vibes for this book are there from the get go, while also giving an amazing insight into asian culture.
It truly does live up to the description of being Heartstopper combined with Crazy Rich Asians, and with a debut such as this, I cannot wait for more from Sher Lee!
Aww, look at this cover. Isn’t it stunning? I adore it so much, and it made me want to read the book badly. So my heart beat a little faster when I found the ARC in my email. Because what if my expectations were too high?
I shouldn’t have worried, though. Fake Dates and Mooncakes is as optimistic as Heartstopper, as fluffy as A Little Bit Country, and as vivid as Lose You to Find me (Erik J. Brown, not out yet). When I started reading, a smile grew on my face. Butterflies whirled through my belly when Dylan and Theo were in The Hamptons, and that first smile never left my face. Those two boys were so adorable together! I loved Dylan's bond with his family, but my heart ached at times because of Theo’s relationship with his dad. I wanted to hug him at those moments and I was so happy Dylan’s family welcomed Theo so warmly. What made this story extra special was the presence of Chinese culture, especially the food. All those descriptions made me drool!
Sher, I swooned over your perfect debut and am eagerly waiting for your next book. I need it now! Thanks so much for letting me read Dylan’s and Theo’s story early!
'Fake Dates and Mooncakes' was such a delightful book! It tells the story of Dylan and his family as they work together at his aunt's Chinese takeout restaurant in Brooklyn. Dylan lives and works with his aunt and two cousins. Their family dynamic is so special. It was beautiful to read about the love and support that they gave to each other, and no matter what, they had each other's backs.
The restaurant is struggling, and Dylan enters a mooncake contest to try to help the restaurant gain some more customers. As he works with his aunt to perfect the family recipe, he begins to see how important family and cooking are to him. The author, Sher Lee, had such amazing descriptions of the food, and it made me so hungry! I felt like I was in the restaurant with them.
Enter Theo. Theo is a rich, attractive boy that Dylan happens to meet on one of his food deliveries. Theo asks Dylan to be his fake boyfriend/fake date for an upcoming family wedding. Theo agrees, but he sees that he doesn't fit in with Theo's rich family. Dylan and Theo are fake dating, but could their feelings for each other be real?
Dylan and Theo kept showing up for each other, and their dynamic made me smile so much.
I loved everything about this book! Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children's for an ARC of this book.
A really fun, lovely book that left me drooling. Sher brings it with the incredible food descriptions, and they're not even the best part! I loved watching the growing relationship between Dylan and Theo, the wholesomeness of Dylan's entire family dynamic, and all the snippets of Chinese culture I should know about as part of my heritage but don't (I related too hard with Theo on that point!). I also appreciated how the book was based on communication and not MIScommunication, and how everyone actually talked to each other to resolve issues! A fantastic book I thoroughly enjoyed and read far too quickly because I couldn't stop!