Singapore author Sher Lee is debuting her romance novel Fake Dates and Mooncakes, which is a cross between Heartstopper and Crazy Rich Asians. This queer novel’s main trope is fake dating becomes real. Sher Lee is a lover of local street food, especially xiao long bao, which is a focal point in the story. For a wholesome sweet read for this summer, I recommend this for your TBR.
The Plot of Fake Dates and Mooncakes
Dylan Tang wants to help his Aunt, who’s struggling to keep their Chinese takeout place afloat. In honor of holding his Mom’s memory, he wants to win the Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs. His Brooklyn life turns sideways when Theo Somers enters the picture. Theo is charming and wealthy and has a killer smile that makes Dylan’s stomach flip. Their worlds are so different yet Theo keeps showing up, surprising Dylan. Theo convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons. As he’s introduced to the privilege and wealth of Theo’s world, their relationship is supposed to be fake, but Dylan finds himself enamored with Theo, for real.
My Thoughts After Reading Fake Dates and Mooncakes
I am a sucker for romances, and the fake relationship to real trope takes the cake, in this case, ‘the mooncake.’ Their romantic story was a wholesome one, not to mention very heartwarming. There were moments when it was obvious the elephant in the room for them was their social status. As Theo is wealthy and usually gets what he wants, Dylan has seen the more difficult side of Brooklyn, especially his Aunt, who is running their business.
What I really love about Theo as a character is that he is a bit spoiled but he has an open mind and doesn’t look down on Dylan. For example, Dylan’s restaurant is known for its xiao long bao soup dumplings. Theo immediately loved their food and kept coming back. As their friendship grew, so did Dylan’s feelings. As for Dylan, he has such a big heart and puts his family first. He doesn’t want to take advantage of Theo’s wealth or kindness, which is why he agrees to fake dating to pay Theo back.
The author’s passion for Chinese cultural stories, traditions, and street food is evident when describing the places in New York. When Dylan passionately explains to Theo about his culture and the meaning behind certain phrases, it brings them closer. Theo may be half-White, and half-Asian, but he is interested in learning. In addition to their closeness, they both have lost their Mothers, which binds them together in solidarity. But one thing they must tackle together, if they date or not, is having equal footing and understanding that they may have grown up differently, but that shouldn’t define a potential relationship.
I definitely recommend this adorable queer romance for those who want a quick read to make you ooh and aah.
Fake Dates and Mooncakes will be released on May 16, 2023. If you want to read more of Sher Lee’s work try reading Legend of the White Snake will be released in 2024. Preorder Fake Dates and Mooncakes on Penguin Random House.
Read more Queer Romance recs here.