Fake Dates and Mooncakes

Random/Underlined. May 2023. 272p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780593569955.
Gr 9 Up–Brooklynite Dylan Tang has a lot on his plate—between keeping his grade point average up in hopes of a scholarship and working at his aunt’s takeout restaurant, he barely has time to think about a relationship. That all changes when a delivery mistake introduces him to Theo Somers. Theo, a rebellious yet charming rich kid, convinces Dylan to take part in a fake dating scheme at an opulent family wedding in the Hamptons. Dylan finds himself struggling to suppress his growing feelings for Theo while figuring out a way to prevent the family restaurant’s impending eviction. Winning a mooncake-making contest could be the answer to his problems—that is, if he can figure out the secret ingredient in a treasured family recipe. This book injects the classic fake dating trope with a heavy dose of drama, which borders on unbelievable at times. While best suited for readers who can stand a little spectacle, the book also contains strong family themes, romantic moments, and cultural discussions surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival and the history of mooncakes. Dylan is Singaporean Chinese while Theo is biracial Chinese on his mom’s side with a white father.
VERDICT In a heavily saturated market of fake dating and food-themed YA romances, consider this a secondary purchase where titles like Loan Le’s A Pho Love Story or Adiba Jaigirdar’s Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating are popular.

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