Caught in a Bad Fauxmance

Random/Joy Revolution. Dec. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593645796; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593645826.
Gr 7 Up–Rose’s debut novel is a wonderful and witty rom-com. It’s smartly written with funny, memorable scenes and the swooniest romantic lines. Devin Baez and Julian Seo-Cooke have been enemies forever. Every winter break their families meet up at Lake Andreas, but there have never been any happy campfire moments between them. These families have been rivals ever since Julian’s dad stole an idea from Dev’s father that made them rich and the Baez family was left struggling. And to add insult to injury, the Seo-Cookes cheat to win the town’s Winter Games every year. Now it’s finally time for the Baez family to have some revenge. They bet their cabin ownership that they will win the games this year. It’s a big gamble, but the perfect opportunity to spy on the Seo-Cooke family occurs when Julian asks Dev to be his fake boyfriend to deflect an unwanted suitor’s attention. Of course, chaos and love ensue. Dev wants to learn the Seo-Cooke family’s secrets to use against them during the games; but Julian is so different from the person Dev thought he was all these years. As barriers and misunderstandings start to crumble between them, Dev begins to learn a lot about the dysfunction behind the Seo-Cookes’s perfect family image and also learns about forgiveness, empathy, and love.
VERDICT Innocent camp high jinks, siblings who care deeply for each other, family loss, Latinx and Asian representation, and a sweet hopeful LGBTQIA+ love story—this is a must-have for teen libraries everywhere.

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