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?
Title: Fake Dates and Mooncakes
Author: Sher Lee
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
I loved that the author provided a lot of insight into the Asian culinary world and Chinese culture. Lee shared a lot about Chinese culture (which worked well since one of the characters is half Asian, but doesn’t know much about the culture) throughout the book, especially when it came to cooking. There were brief history lessons on why this food is used or the reason behind this symbol and so forth. I loved getting more insight into a culture that is not my own in a way that wasn’t too informative or dense.
The title of this book was very accurate. The first half of the book focuses on fake dating, and the second half on mooncakes. It was a little more integrated than this with talk of mooncakes at the beginning and some fake dating bleeding into the second half, but that was the gist.
The grand gestures in this book were so cute and so grand that I was mad I wasn’t Dylan!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sher Lee writes rom-coms and fantasy novels for teens. She lives in Singapore and has an abiding love for local street food (including an incredible weakness for xiao long bao).
FAKE DATES AND MOONCAKES, pitched as Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians, is her debut YA rom-com coming Summer 2023 from Penguin Random House.