Cover Image: Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Fake Dates and Mooncakes

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Member Reviews

i have been looking forward to reading fake dates and mooncakes since i found out about it and i’m so glad i got the chance to! the cover was so freaking cute and so was the love story!! the familial relationships were so well written and sometimes tense between one of the boys and his dad, but it made it all the more interesting to see how things work out for them.
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This was such a sweet and adorable book that filled me with all the gooey feelings. Was it very realistic? Absolutely not. But it was a heartwarming book that you’ll read with a big goofy grin on your face. 

This book inspired me to try my hand at a book collage for the first time, swipe through to the third slide to see!

Other books with similar vibes: Spell Bound - FT Lukens, The Charmed List - Julie Abe, The Tea Dragon Society - Kay O’Neill

+ Theo and Dylan were so so cute together! I totally see the Heartstopper comparison in that regard. You’ll spend most of the book wanting them to just notice how in love the other is with them. Especially Theo and his romantic gestures will have you swooning.
+ Some of those gestures, and the rich guy trope gave me K-drama vibes, I’m interested to see if anyone else thinks so. 
+ I loved the food descriptions, though beware, you’re likely to be craving everything they mention in this book as you’re reading it. My current biggest goal in life is to eat mooncakes.
+ There were also a lot of great bits in there filled with Singaporean and Chinese culture. I loved reading about sayings, myths, customs etc, which were all woven into the story. 
+ I really enjoyed the writing too, even though I don’t enjoy very descriptive writing, something about the way Sher Lee writes really made it easy to picture everything described, which made all the food descriptions even more drool-inducing.
+ While this isn’t a book where emotions and characters are deeply delved into, I did enjoy many of the characters in it! The two very selfless boys, their (mostly) loving families…
+ Overall I loved this joyful, wholesome, positive queer Asian romance. 
+ Also featuring: bespoke suits, a Corgi named Clover, a fancy benefit at the Met, a baking competition to save them all, and some dastardly characters

Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Thank you to Underlined, Random House Children's and NetGalley for the eARC!
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Exceedingly cute!! This was exactly the light confection of fluff, pining, family, cooking, and sweet romance that I needed. Dylan is too good for this world and deserves all the nice things! I love how close he is with his aunt and cousins, and how they all work hard to support each other and keep the business going. Theo is incredibly kind and has a good head on his shoulders; yes, he can be extravagant and sometimes oversteps, but he never tries to make Dylan change. Their fake dating leads to real feelings, as well as some real family drama, but no matter what, Theo never gives up on Dylan. My favorite part of the book is the representation of Chinese and Singaporean culture and traditions. Theo grew up feeling alienated from his mom's family and culture, but Dylan and his family are quick to welcome him in and share their stories, food, and knowledge with him. I loved getting to see their bond grow deeper as they worked together to make mooncakes. From start to finish, this book is a delight! I think the cover perfectly captures the vibes of the story and the characters -- fun, sweet, and diverse. Highly recommend!
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I loved this book, all the charcters were great, loved the friends and family even the villains were well drawn the the two leads, I  really enjoyed. The rich kid wasn't a jerk but he was pretty clueless aboiut his great wealth may come across to his less wealthy love interest!  he's also a teenager so maybe he'll learn but I loved this and will recommend it!
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Dylan helps run his aunt’s Chinese takeout, and he encounters Theo for the first time while he’s on a delivery. From there, they keep running into each other and the cutest friendship-turned-romance blossoms 🤭

The shy boy x flirty boy dynamic was everything to me 🤌 Theo was so unapologetic about his feelings for Dylan, and I ate it up! Him being a shameless flirt, and Dylan barely knowing how to act around Theo was just the CUTEST. I love how they always noticed every little thing about each other, and Theo was always doing the most amazing things for Dylan 🥲 Aside from the swoon-worthy moments, there were also hidden struggles that Dylan & Theo were dealing with, but I love how they both didn’t let any of that affect their feelings for each other and made them want to support each other more. It was so wholesome and amazing to witness 🤧 

I also loved the cooking/baking aspects of this book! I suggest that you don’t read this book when you’re hungry because I kid you not I was craving every food that was mentioned in this book 🫠 And as an Asian person, I enjoyed learning so many more things about Asian culture that I didn’t know 🫶

Overall, everything about this book was perfect! I think everyone should read Dylan & Theo’s adorable story 🥹 I was constantly smiling or shedding tears at so many moments, whether they were happy or sad. This book made me feel so much and also brought me lots of joy. I can’t wait to read more from Sher Lee, and to also re-read this book in the future 💙

Thank you so much to NetGalley & Underlined / Penguin Random House for an e-ARC of this book! 💌
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Thank you so much to NetGalley, Random House Children's and Sher Lee for sending me this e-arc for an honest review!

This was such a CUTE quick read that had me obsessed within the first few chapters. I was so intrigued with the culture and Dylan's family history. And my mouth was literally watering anytime food was mentioned. I loved how comforting and supportive Dylan's family was throughout the whole book, it felt like I was welcomed with a warm hug.

Dylan and Theo's relationship is very intsa-lovey with their fake dating arrangement, but I didn't mind it all that much. I do wish there was a bit more tension in the beginning with their arrangement and between both of their families. 

It was giving Heartstopper and Crazy Rich Asian vibes and I enjoyed every second! Fake Dates and Mooncakes is out now and if you're looking for a cute, cheesy queer read, I definitely recommend this!
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3 Stars 

Fake Dates and Mooncakes first captured my attention because of the cute and beautifully designed cover. I was even more on board to read this story once I heard it was a romance that also included baking, which is one of my favorite selling points.

Dylan was an enjoyable main character to follow as he works to support his family but also struggles to feel that he will ever fit into Theo’s world. Dylan’s family dynamics were fun and supportive of each other especially shown through how Dylan would do anything for his aunt.

Now let’s talk about the romance, which had lots of potential but ultimately fell flat. Unlike Dylan, Theo doesn’t get nearly as much character development, and it was difficult for me to describe his characterization. It was hard to know what his purpose was besides being Dylan’s love interest.

There are some nice moments like how Theo helps Dylan save his aunt’s restaurant and encourages him to balance his dreams while honoring his mother’s legacy. Additionally, Dylan helps Theo connect to his Asian heritage and through his troublesome family challenges. Regardless, the relationship doesn’t quite work for me but may work for other readers.

The descriptions of the food sounded delicious, and I loved learning how different dishes were made. Now after reading this story, I want to try mooncakes as I’ve never had them! With how many times food is mentioned in this story, I was surprised that the mooncake competition was of little focus in the overall story. Fake Dates and Mooncakes was overall an enjoyable read, but at times I just wanted more from the story.
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes has easily become one of my top reads this year so far! I adore Theo and Dylans relationship so much. I loved all the characters (with the exception of some of Theo's family and friends maybe), and found myself falling in love with learning more about each of them (especially Clover, the best girl in the whole world like come on). Spent so much time giggling and blushing and kicking my feet to this book that I ordered a physical copy before I even finished the eARC (thank you netgalley and Sher Lee for gifting me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!)

Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes and I already knew i would love this book, but the execution was just so perfect. Dylan and Theo come from opposite worlds, but never once did it feel like it - Theo never made his privilege feel superficial, and he was very aware of himself in my opinion. Even in times where it very obviously was uncomfortable for Dylan, Theo was sure to do anything he could to make it less uncomfortable. I also absolutely adored how Theo was so invested in learning more about the culture every time Dylan said something, and never made jokes about them or called anything "silly traditions" like we so often see in novels.  

Also, HALLELUJAH to the miscommunication trope in this book and it being well done! I am so sick of dumb, avoidable miscommunications, and this book was absolutely not that. I loved how it was done!

Overall, recommend this book to anyone who has eyes and wants to giggle about fictional characters being adorable as heck for an entire book. 5/5 stars hands down!
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"Because every story can have a different ending. It all depends on which one you want to believe in."✨

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: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan's stomach do backflips. 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.

This was just such!! A lovely read. It may be because I was in a romance drought after finishing two long fantasy series, but this was such a relaxing, fun read.

I'm slowly discovering that YA contemporaries about cooking/competitions are MY THING. Do I have any experience with cooking competitions? No. Do I know how to cook or how to bake very well? Also, no. But to quote Prince Henry: "They're just so soothing. Everything's pastel-colored, and you learn so much about the different types of biscuits, Alex. So much" (but in this case, it's not biscuits, it's mooncakes!!!)

And the food descriptions?? My god. I was starving reading this. I was desperate for a mooncake like the one Dylan and Theo make because they sound fantastic. What made this story extra special was the presence of Chinese culture, especially the food.

Crazy Rich Asians is one of the comp titles, and it fits this book so well. Though it doesn't have the excessive obscene wealth of Crazy Rich Asians. Still, it does have the same chaotic energy, with family members scheming to ruin others' relationships and so much drama.

All that drama, mixed with the adorable fluff that was Dylan and Theo's romance (oh, and the corgis!!!), made this an excellent read to prevent a reading slump. Oh, and I read this in two days??? Which is very rare for me nowadays, so bonus points for that.
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I adored this story to the moon and back, no pun intended. It is such an inspiring yet adorable story that Sher Lee weaves beautifully with family and culture.

The relationship between Dylan and Theo is so wholesome yet at the same time explorative and not without its hardships. I loved watching how much each of these boys gave to each other and how much they really meant their love.

Sher Lee also did such a fantastic job at weaving in the culture. I loved her bits of explanations but at the same time it never felt forced or too much. It flowed perfectly with the story line and I personally LOVED learning about it all. It was just another wonderfully added element to already great book.

Overall, SO worth a pick up. I adored this story and could not get enough of it!
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This is a difficult book for me to review because it's an enjoyable enough story, but the writing and pacing felt especially weak to me. I also found the love interest quite unlikable, and some of the events in the last 20% of the book felt cartoonishly cliche to me. Part of me wonders how seriously I should rate it knowing it's YA and a debut, but as it is, I have read stronger debuts this year (Chlorine by Jade Song, for example) and I have read better YA contemporary romances (Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert). 

Because of this, I feel like I have to rate this book two stars, unfortunately. That being said, I see a lot of potential in this book, and will check out this author's next upcoming book as well!
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This is an adorable queer YA romance. The beautiful cover art draws you in, but you stay for the struggling restaurant, the family dynamic, and of course the budding romance.
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Anyone who knows me knows that Crazy Rich Asians is one of my comfort movies. So it should come as absolutely no surprise that a book pitched as “Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians” is an absolute must read for me. Add in a gorgeous cover and the CUTEST little corgi…I ALMOST don’t have to read it to tell you that I’m going to love it (but I'm definitely going to read it anyways).

When Dylan Tang spots a flyer for the Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition, he knows that this could be the thing that could help save his family’s struggling Chinese takeout and honor the memory of his mom. One day, Theo Somers struts his way into his life and is exactly what Dylan wants - and absolutely doesn’t need. Even though their lives are as different as apples and giraffes, Theo keeps showing up, even convincing Dylan to pretend to be his boyfriend at a family wedding. Their romance is supposed to just be pretend, but Dylan starts to fall for real until Theo’s rich people problems start to threaten everything Dylan is working for.

I was so right. I loved this book. The Crazy Rich Asians vibes were there, so much so that the story even directly references the film and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at how meta it felt. In fact, I found myself laughing out loud at several parts of the book! The characters were just so casually funny and relatable, even though Theo and his family are outrageously rich. 

I am not usually a slow burn girlie. I prefer it when our main characters get together quickly and I quite enjoy the third act breakup. You can say it’s overdone, I don’t care, I love it. But when a slow burn is done right, it’s absolutely delicious. Watching two idiots who clearly have feelings for each other but won’t admit it for one reason or another makes it easier to wait for that flame to ignite because they are just being so stupid (in the best way!)

Speaking of delicious, all the food talk had me drooling - and I was eating while I was reading! Not only was there so much food that I’m familiar with, but we also got some insight into how it’s all made. Maybe it wasn’t the intention, but this story felt to me in part like it was a love letter to authentic Chinese food and I always love some good rep for my culture.

One thing that I absolutely loved (and this may be exclusive to me and/or other Chinese speakers) was the differentiation between Cantonese and Mandarin. The two Chinese dialects sound distinctly different to my ears, but it wasn’t until Everything Everywhere All At Once took over the film world did I realize that was not the norm. The fact that it was discussed on the page made my heart irrationally swell with pride.
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“I think if fate brings two people together, nothing can keep them apart.”

Thank you Sher Li, Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

“Fake Dates and Mooncakes” is a beautifully written debut novel. I not only enjoyed the story of family and young love, but also learning more about Chinese culture. I loved the way the author incorporated so many different aspects of Chinese culture into the story. Readers not only get to learn about Chinese folklore and sayings, but also about different cultural cuisine and their historical significance. 

While this is a YA novel, this book was still mature in the way it talked about loss of a family member as well as cultural identity. I think these are two themes that many young adults and older adults will be able identify with. Personally, I was able to relate to Theo in the fact that we are both biracial. Growing up biracial comes with its own challenges and I definitely related to wanting to know more about my culture; specifically my Filipino culture that wasn’t always as abundant in my life as it is now.

If you’re looking for a book that has positive LGBTQIA+ representation, that is easily relatable, and gives you a chance to learn more about another culture, you need to read “Fake Dates and Mooncakes”!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
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Rating: 3.75; quick, delightful, sweet. Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee is exactly what it says it is: there’s fake dates, mooncakes, two boys, and a really cute dog. 

Dylan is a teen working at his aunt’s takeout in NYC and hoping to be the next Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake contest winner; Theo is a rich, private school teen who needs a fake date to his cousin’s wedding in the Hamptons. There are a lot of food descriptions, fun (and not so fun) family members, and fancy rich folk events (a gala!).

This was a choose-a-book-by-its-cover pick for me; I didn’t read a synopsis, I just saw a cute dog and clicked. It’s truly a teen romance, with the cheesy cuteness of YA tied together with classic tropes you know and love. I always say I don’t read romance until I do, and this book had me hooked from the start.

This is a book that I could see; Lee has a background in screenwriting and you can sense it throughout the pages. The locations felt fleshed out and the food descriptions were like that one mouth-watering cooking scene in Turning Red (the scene when the father’s glasses fog up cooking, you know the one). 

I was really happy that every character was out, and there weren’t any negative comments or related drama so it freed the novel to be cute and fluffy in the romance department. The drama came from themes of grief and class differences (not too unlike Tiana and Naveen from Disney’s Princess and the Frog). I think the New York City setting helped showcase Dylan and Theo’s differences, yet allowed them space to explore what also makes them similar. Sometimes the plot felt a little too easy, but it felt true to the romance genre (it’s a tough balance and it really just depends on how much conflict you want to read in a romance).

I’m really happy I read this debut from Sher Lee, and I’m excited to see what she comes up with next. If you enjoy Singaporean and Chinese culture, Heartstopper, Crazy Rich Asians, Red, White, & Royal Blue, food and cooking descriptions, New York City romances, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, A Cinderella Story, and/or cute teen romances, this is a read for you.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Content warning: death of a parent (in the past, but brought up often); alcohol abuse (a side character struggles with it, mostly off-page); possibility of drowning (ocean, no deaths); flooding (no injuries).
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.    Thank you NetGalley.

First off, how cute is this cover?!
Fake Dates and Mooncakes is a YA rom-com.   The author did an amazing job with the character development and world building.   The characters were SO likeable and relatable.   I found myself rooting for their budding romance from the start.    I adored Dylan SO MUCH.

This was a really cute read.    Check it out.
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I really liked this book right from the start. The cute cover grabbed me immediately and it didn’t take long for me to fully invested in these characters. I liked all the family drama and the food descriptions. Dylan is sweet and had me cracking up so many times in the story. It was a cute love story I didn’t want to end.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC.
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Fake Dates and Mooncakes is a sweet book packed with an adorable romance (with fake dating!), an exploration into Chinese culture, family ties, the most mouthwatering descriptions of food, and the best corgi™. This one is pretty short too, so it’s one that you can read in a couple of sittings when you need something sweet as a pick me up. Not only is Fake Dates and Mooncakes filled with heartwarming moments, though, it also discusses grief and how difficult some families can be.

Warning: do not go into this on an empty stomach! I made this mistake and I don’t think I’ve ever been so hungry in my entire life. Dylan’s aunt owns a Chinese takeout restaurant and oh my gosh, the descriptions of the food are amazing. They are so detailed that I could practically smell the food. My poor stomach was desperate to try the different dishes. I’ve also never had a mooncake before and I feel like I need to remedy this immediately.

As for the story itself, I really enjoyed it! Dylan and Theo are drawn to each other pretty much right away. Usually, that’s not my favorite, but the fact that Dylan and Theo’s circumstances are so different and keeping them from acting on their feelings added that extra bit of tension that I’m always looking for. Both Dylan and Theo are super sweet with the perfect amount of chemistry. I love the fact that they’re also awkward with each other. It makes the fact that they’re teenagers exploring a relationship feel all the more real and genuine.

Additionally, I love the family ties in this book! First of all, Clover is the best girl and deserves all the treats. Second of all, I’m very excited to finally meet a character named Megan who is not a horrible person. I may not be into K-Pop, but Megan and I are definitely very similar with her love of K-Pop and my love of metal bands. (Her trying to get tickets for BlackPink reminded me of how stressful getting Bad Omens tickets is recently haha). Also, I just love the way Dylan, Megan, Aunt Jade, and Tim all support each other. They bicker like family, but when push comes to shove, they’re going to show up.

It was an interesting contrast to see Theo’s family dynamics versus Dylan’s. His relationship with his father is really strained, and while he’s close with some cousins and aunts, overall, his family situation is really rocky. I loved this because it shows that while some of us are lucky to have our family from birth, others have to find their family elsewhere. Just because we’re related to someone doesn’t automatically mean we have to be close or have a relationship with them. We have a choice. Just like Theo has a choice in Fake Dates and Mooncakes, even if that’s something he has to learn along the way.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fake Dates and Mooncakes! The exploration into Chinese culture was wonderful, and while I was familiar with some of it already, there was still lots for me to learn!

If you’re looking for a light and fun book, I definitely recommend you check this one out!
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What a sweet and charming debut filled with delicious food, family, tradition, and competition. An absolute delight!
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I picked up Fake Dates and Mooncakes, hoping for a light-hearted read, and that is exactly what I got. This book is fluffy and sweet - with the exact right amount of family drama to spice things up.  

Also, after reading this book, I am incredibly hungry. The main character describes many dishes in wonderful detail, which is amazing and sad for me because I live in a place where I am unable to locate any authentic Singaporean food. :')

The characters are all so loveable (with the exception of a few...) and realistic. I adore the chemistry between Theo and Dylan. And their friends and family were also so much fun to read about. I looooved Theo's cousin, Terri. She's just a great character. 

Honestly, I don't really have anything critical to say, other than I wish their trip to the Hamptons had been longer. The juicy family gossip and rich person parties were quite fun to read. This book delivered exactly what I wanted it to.

I would highly highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet, romantic book to read. 

4.5 stars
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