Cover Image: Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Fake Dates and Mooncakes

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Member Reviews

This was the absolute sweetest story. I loved Dylan and Theo. Dylan’s family was an excellent supporting cast of characters. The food references, Chinese cultural details, and queer representation were top notch.
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes is the perfect book for rom-com and food lovers! The story follows Dylan and Theo, two boys from completely different worlds. A YA book reminiscent of Crazy Rich Asians.

Dylan works hard to help his aunt’s takeout restaurant make ends meet. No matter how hard they struggle, the bills seem to keep piling up. When an opportunity to enter the Mid-Autumn Festival moon-cake competition arises, Dylan decides to enter. Entering the competition is bittersweet. Last year, Dylan had plans to enter with his mom before she passed away. Winning the competition will bring much needed publicity to his aunt’s restaurant. And it will also be a way for Dylan to honor the memory of his mother.

The meeting with Theo Somers is completely by chance. Dylan meets him on a delivery run. Theo is cute,charming, and extremely rich. And somehow, their paths keep meeting. After helping Dylan with a huge favor, Theo proposes a trade: be his fake date to a family wedding. 

Dylan can do that, can’t he? But as the wedding weekend continues, their fake relationship starts to feel less fake and more real. Can two people from totally different worlds make it work?

This book was so good! I loved it. It’s always so fun to read books about food, and this book was no exception. I especially enjoyed getting to learn about moon cakes! I am so hungry for one now, lol. And of course, Theo and Dylan were adorable. This was a bit of an insta-love book. I normally don’t care for insta-love, but it worked in this one! I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a new romance!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very cute little mlm young adult romance that lost a couple points from me due to the insta-love. There were times I swooned, and other times where I was shouting in my head, "you just met each other! Why are we talking 'love' right now?"

The food descriptions were so well done that it made me hungry, though, so that gained it some points back. And I will never be mad about a cute dog, especially one featured on the cover, and most especially a corgi rescue! No offense to all the humans, who were compelling characters in their own right, but Clover is my number one favorite character in this book, now and forever.
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this was such a cute read! really enjoyed the relationship between dylan and theo. it often felt very insta lovey but it was such a cute and quick read. so if youre looking for something lighthearted and easy to read i highly suggest it.
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fake dates and mooncakes 🥮 was PHENOMENAL!! the way the author put so much care and love into each and line was heartwarming. i instantly fell in love with dylan and theo and aunt jade and megan and tim. the characters felt so real and i felt honored to be able to be with them on this journey. i love the fake dating trope and this book did not disappoint! also the attention to detail when it came to the food was astronomical! i was so hungry reading this and actually forced my sister to take me to our favorite chinese takeout a few times haha. i love reading and experiencing cultures outside of my own and sher lee just did amazingly at the detail and traditions that’s all throughout the book. i just loved this read!! now all i want is to go to my local farmers market and buy mooncakes 🥮 from this wonderful lady in my city who puts so much care and love into everything she bakes. she actually reminds me of aunt jade from the book! can you tell i am absolutely in love with fake dates and mooncakes?!
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Overall, this was a fairly quick and very cute book! I think that YA readers will be very happy with the representation, family wholesomeness, and romantic aspect of Fake Dates and Mooncakes.

It took me a little bit to get into the story, as I found that at first the characters were just explaining their background/purpose in a very obvious manner. There was almost a hint of insta love in the beginning, but it did take until the end of the book for the relationship to flourish, which I was happy with (I don't typically like insta love haha). Theo went to extraordinary lengths for Dylan, and if I was in Dylan's place, I think I would be wayyyy too caught off guard by it. But Theo's care for Dylan is evident, and by the end of the book, you're left with a very heartwarming, comforting feeling.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. This review reflects my honest opinions.
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Any book that brings together food and family hits a soft spot for me, and I loved Dylan’s story-arc with his family here. Really, Dylan’s family relationships were more compelling than the romance. Theo is a sweet kid but at the end of the book I didn’t feel I knew much else about him (aside from his gross amount of wealth obviously). The romance was cute and the Crazy Rich Teenager thing Theo had going on was entertaining, but the real gem of this book is Dylan’s adopted family: his aunt Jade who is training him to cook, the two cousins who embraced him as a sibling, and of course his rescue pup.

Amid his whirlwind fake romance that’s not actually fake, Dylan tries to piece together a lost recipe for his grandmother’s mooncakes. He is *committed* to these mooncakes - to honor the memory of his mother, to support his aunt’s restaurant, and to maybe even chase his own culinary dreams. The way Dylan remembers his mother is very touching and his relationship to his aunt is honestly incredible. Dylan is empowered by his love for his family, and that was heartwarming to read.

The pacing was a bit confusing for me but that may be because I was more interested in the mooncakes than the fake-dating. Dylan’s romance with Theo was the forward momentum of the book, so while their whole thing was going on for many chapters I was waiting to see what happened with Jade’s restaurant. It was still a very fun read even if a huge middle chunk of it is just seeing Theo’s rich extended family be ridiculous.

Reading this all from Dylan’s perspective was… I can’t say silly because the kid really does go through some sh*t but I was also rolling my eyes as his internal monologue a LOT. The sheer number of times that boy compares his heart to xiao long bao! Dylan’s a nice kid though - I never found him obnoxious the way YA boys can be.

Overall, I really loved this book! Definitely felt it had a five-star ending. (But I can’t say I felt all that close to Theo or Dylan.) Would recommend as a fun comfort read that I’m going to say is low stakes. Like, technically the stakes are high except that you’re so certain it’s all going to turn out okay from the beginning. And also there’s a corgi providing vicarious pet therapy - she truly earned her place on the beautiful cover.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book!
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This was so cute 🥺 You know I’m a sucker for the fake dating trope and this one definitely hit just right! The angst was just the right amount for these two pining over each other while they think the other person was really faking! I also really really loved learning so much about Chinese/Singaporean culture through the stories Dylan & his family told and I’m very interested in trying a mooncake now! One of my favorite things about this book was how important Dylan’s family was to him and I just really loved their dynamic and how quickly they accepted Theo into their fold. The only thing keeping me from giving it the full 5 stars is that something felt off as I was reading and I’m thinking it was the pacing of the story but I’m not 100% sure. Still not enough for me not to love it though!! 🥰
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes - Sher Lee
Rating: 4/5 star✨

“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?”

This was such a sweet, cute story! Definitely gave off gay Hallmark vibes. I loved that Theo was shown as having more depth than just a rich kid. Dylan’s relationship with his family was so tender and heart warming. I loved all the cultural references and I was absolutely dying to try some of the food that was referenced! The ending scene at the competition was just so, so perfect. 

Recommend if you like:
- Fake dating 
- Opposites attract
- Only one bed
- Food and cultural references
- Exploring grief
- HEA!

Thank you @netgalley, @randomhousekids and the author for this ARC! This one is out now! ✨
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Delight of delights!  If 'Crazy Rich Asians' was queer and written for teens, it would be this book.  It was top-tier adorable and had everything you could possibly want in a rom com.  Lovable characters you wanted to root for, witty banter, rich people's family drama, and a cliché message about the importance of love and family paired with a happy ending to send it off.  The plot doesn't deviate from formulaic devices at all, but hey!  They work for a reason.  The ups and downs were predictable, but it reads like your favorite warm blanket or flavor of tea: exactly what you look for when you know you want the comfort of familiarity.  I totally loved it.
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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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