It was a bit of a week of rhyming titles last week – one in YA and one in cozy crime, so it’s probably fitting that I chose one of them for the Book of the Week today. And in the end I’ve gone for the Young Adult romance – partly because the cozy crime isn’t out until next month and also because the cozy is the tenth in a series and I can’t break those rules two weeks in a row. But mostly because Sher Lee’s novel came out last week, it was a lot of fun and it made me really hungry!
To the plot: Dylan spends his spare time helping in his aunt’s Singaporean Chinese takeout, Theo lives in a mansion and drives a Ferrari. Their first meeting is less than optimal but when Theo turns up at the restaurant sparks fly. And soon Dylan is pretending to be Theo’s boyfriend at a family wedding. But Theo’s family is nothing like Dylan’s and neither is the life he leads. Dylan isn’t sure whether he can fit in in Theo’s wealthy, gala-attending life – or if it’s even worth trying.
This is a sweet YA romance with two heroes with completely different lives. The blurb describes it as Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians and I think that’s not a bad one as far as it goes but it’s not quite as exact as that might sound. Yes Theo is Rich and Dylan is not – so that’s Crazy Rich Asians-esque, but you actually spend a lot of the time in Dylan’s world rather than Theo’s – which is not very CRA. As far as Heartsopper goes, yes it has got two young queer protagonists, but it isn’t mostly set in or around school and there’s not really any story line around coming out here the way that there is in Heartstopper. So basically, stop smashing vaguely similar books together as comparators please publishing.
We all know that I love a fake dating story – so that was great and I loved Dylan’s tight knit family too. It’s got some Insta Love going on here – and your mileage may vary with that. I’m not entirely sure that Theo ever really stands up for himself against his family properly and the solutions to the problems the duo face are a little easy in the end – but then it’s a YA and that’s how it goes. But the romance is lovely and all the food that is written about sounds delicious and it all made me hungry. It’s a really nice way to spend a few hours, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll have you off googling the various bits of the food you’ve never tried before.
My copy of Fake Dates and Mooncakes came from NetGalley, but it’s out now in Kindle and Kobo, and Amazon say they have the paperback in stock too, but I’m not sure how much I believe them given my recent late arriving pre-orders. I’ll take a look for it in a big bookstore YA department next time I go into one – which may or may not be this week!
Happy Reading everyone.