Book Title: Fake Dates and Mooncakes
Author: Sher Lee
Release Date: May 16, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians in this heartfelt, joyful paperback original rom-com that follows an aspiring chef who discovers the recipe for love is more complicated than it seems when he starts fake-dating a handsome new customer.
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?
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!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a physical ARC and a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
And a huge thank you to Sher Lee for including me on your street team! I’ve absolutely loved promoting this book and working with you has been fantastic!
Check out my last Blog Post: Margo Zimmerman Gets the Girl (ARC Review)