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.
Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee is available now and you can pick up a copy of your very own here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!