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Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

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Everyone likes Humaira "Hani" Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita "Ishu" Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of H Everyone likes Humaira "Hani" Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita "Ishu" Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl. Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.


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Everyone likes Humaira "Hani" Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita "Ishu" Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of H Everyone likes Humaira "Hani" Khan—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita "Ishu" Dey. Ishu is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl. Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

30 review for Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

  1. 5 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    Me: I have high standards in books. Book: so lesbians/bi girls ~ Me: okay it's meeting all my standards! Give it to me. Me*after finishing the book* :- it is the cutest and most relatable thing I have read this year and I can go on and on about how much I related to this but you know it's not gonna happen. Bottom line :- I loved this but some things irritated the hell out of me. So 4 stars yeah! Me: I have high standards in books. Book: so lesbians/bi girls ~ Me: okay it's meeting all my standards! Give it to me. Me*after finishing the book* :- it is the cutest and most relatable thing I have read this year and I can go on and on about how much I related to this but you know it's not gonna happen. Bottom line :- I loved this but some things irritated the hell out of me. So 4 stars yeah!

  2. 4 out of 5

    may ➹

    love the gaysians but I’m conflicted on how to feel about this rtc! —————— fake dating sapphic Asians..... this is everything I have ever wanted........

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jananie (thisstoryaintover)

    ONE OF MY NEW ALL TIME FAVES 😭💗 Not only was this the cutest thing on the planet but it was so validating to see queer south asian in love and also seeing the very varied experiences they had despite having similar backgrounds 💗 this book had some of the most frustratingly real antagonists and I really appreciated seeing Hani's struggle with her friends, and also Ishu's struggle with her parents' expectations. Also can I just say that Ishu & Nik's sibling relationship was one of the most relatab ONE OF MY NEW ALL TIME FAVES 😭💗 Not only was this the cutest thing on the planet but it was so validating to see queer south asian in love and also seeing the very varied experiences they had despite having similar backgrounds 💗 this book had some of the most frustratingly real antagonists and I really appreciated seeing Hani's struggle with her friends, and also Ishu's struggle with her parents' expectations. Also can I just say that Ishu & Nik's sibling relationship was one of the most relatable ones I've read. If you haven't already, GO PICK UP THIS BOOK!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating was an utter joy to read. Jaigirdar perfectly balances rom com hijinks and all the fluttery feelings of first love with a nuanced exploration of family and social issues to create an adorable, relevant story. Jaigirdar’s sophomore novel is a must read for all fans of her debut, The Henna Wars, and any and all contemporary lovers. I flew through Hani and Ishu in just a couple of days and loved every minute of it. With characters so full of personality they leap Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating was an utter joy to read. Jaigirdar perfectly balances rom com hijinks and all the fluttery feelings of first love with a nuanced exploration of family and social issues to create an adorable, relevant story. Jaigirdar’s sophomore novel is a must read for all fans of her debut, The Henna Wars, and any and all contemporary lovers. I flew through Hani and Ishu in just a couple of days and loved every minute of it. With characters so full of personality they leapt off the page, the absolute sweetest romance and a really interesting and well developed storyline that delved into complex issues, such as familial expectations, biphobia and connections to culture, this book was just unputdownable. Reading both of Jaigirdar’s novels back to back really emphasised to me how cleverly written they are to strike a balance between dealing with tough issues while remaining overall lighthearted romance novels and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. Additionally, I have to praise how accessible Jaigirdar makes these issues for her readers, without ever condescending to younger readers or coddling those not from a South Asian background (especially white readers). Despite being lumped in together as the only two South Asian girls in their school, Hani and Ishu could not be less alike and this is made clear right from the beginning. Both girls’ perspectives have incredibly distinct voices and personalities, as we shift between human sunshine and people pleaser, Hani and intense, grumpy overachiever Ishu. I really loved the distinction between our two narrators and their circumstances and the focus this book puts on the problems of ignoring this. Additionally, Hani’s character arc and the narrative around fitting in, even at the expense of yourself and your connection to your culture, was brilliantly written and one I’m sure will resonate with many readers. The two girls’ individual developments and the way they each played into this was expertly written and such a pleasure to read. I adore the grumpy / sunshine dynamic and it was perfectly executed here, with both girls learning from the other while remaining true to themselves. I especially loved watching Ishu soften for Hani (and only Hani), as hard as she tried to fight it. Speaking of tropes, Hani and Ishu gave me everything I could ever ask for from the fake dating trope, from the awkward tension to begin with, the fluttery crush feelings and all of the adorable complications it brings. I really just adored reading about Hani and Ishu’s relationship, with all of its rom com clichés (kissing in the rain, anyone?) and a deep connection and empathy for the other. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating’s narrative of learning to put yourself first and refusing to hide essential parts of yourself to make other people more comfortable was brilliantly written and one I’m sure will resonate with many readers, especially teenagers from similar backgrounds to Hani and Ishu. This novel expertly combines all the adorable rom com goodness you could ever want with a poignant look at family, friendship and social issues to create a heartwarming, impactful story. Adiba Jaigirdar is a force to be reckoned with whose work deserves a space on every shelf. Want some sapphic adorableness in your life? Check out my reading vlog ft. The Henna Wars I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *Thank you Hachette Kids for sending me a finished copy. This has not affected my review.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adiba Jaigirdar

    Hi everyone! We're less than 2 months until the release of this book, and I can't wait for everyone to read it! If you pre-order a copy, make sure you fill out this Google form, in order to avail of some pre-order goodies, including a signed bookplate, bookmarks, an exclusive digital short story that takes place after the events of the book, and an art print! More info on my Twitter! The content warnings for this book are printed at the front, but they're also available on my content warnings pag Hi everyone! We're less than 2 months until the release of this book, and I can't wait for everyone to read it! If you pre-order a copy, make sure you fill out this Google form, in order to avail of some pre-order goodies, including a signed bookplate, bookmarks, an exclusive digital short story that takes place after the events of the book, and an art print! More info on my Twitter! The content warnings for this book are printed at the front, but they're also available on my content warnings page Pre-order links are available on my website, along with excerpts, blurbs, and a spotify playlist!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    I just couldn't stop reading this book.... And it gave me so much happiness! *Some relatable lines: "Right now, all men seem overwhelmingly unattractive - except the ones on the Netflix shows I watch." "Sometimes I think that maybe I like guys more as a concept than a reality." "My desk has a pile of unreturned and unread library books that is half as tall as me." "I have resting b face, I can't help it." "Family is complicated. Everyone has a different relationship to their family." And yes, no matter I just couldn't stop reading this book.... And it gave me so much happiness! *Some relatable lines: "Right now, all men seem overwhelmingly unattractive - except the ones on the Netflix shows I watch." "Sometimes I think that maybe I like guys more as a concept than a reality." "My desk has a pile of unreturned and unread library books that is half as tall as me." "I have resting b face, I can't help it." "Family is complicated. Everyone has a different relationship to their family." And yes, no matter how repetitive this line is everywhere else: "People aren't always who they seem to be." And the stereotypes: "We are culturally similar and, therefore, must be meant for each other. Never mind the vast differences in our language or our religious beliefs." "To most white people, just having brown skin is going to mean we're one and the same." I felt pain while reading this: "I mean, like ... I don't want to be too ... Muslim. I don't know where the line is that you cross over to be too much. Once you cross it people start acting like you're different and weird, and then you're the outsider." . . . The humour in the writing! All the emotions! I am so glad this young adult isn't cliché at all. Thank you! And most importantly the family vibes, the sibling vibes; the mother-daughter relationship and the sister-sister bond and the chemistry between the main characters. It's so feel-good. I needed these! I love the writing. It's just something that went so fast and good that I was really wishing the book never ended. The characters have a different, unique personality of their own and I really appreciate it whenever books offer such realistic writing and stories. The story deals with cultural differences and being judged or criticised for it, peer pressure, family traditions, friendship (the fakeness and the reality of it) and identity. I liked how everything wrapped up well in the end. Feeling so warm and loved you know! When a book makes you feel like this, just embrace it and make it yours. This is a special feeling you don't get everytime. I just love Hani's parents so much. Everyone deserves parents like them. I love the book so much more than I had anticipated. Easily one of my favourite new releases. Just one thing though, author. Kindly translate the conversations that were not written in English right there and then. That would be quite helpful. Thank you. *People, young and old, can we please stop EVERYTHING what we are doing and listen to this: "Why is she friends with people who don't let her be who she is? Who make her feel uncomfortable and embarassed of who she is?" Let's answer this honestly. Not for anyone but for ourselves. And yes, some people will never change no matter what. It's more difficult to accept especially when they are your family. And this story let's you see it. Well done.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    sapphic !! asians !! fake dating !! (also, this is everything) Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch sapphic !! asians !! fake dating !! (also, this is everything) Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

  8. 5 out of 5

    emma

    fake dating will forever hit different

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    So, I actually have a hate-love relationship with fake-dating tropes (i know, i just keep getting more scandalous by the minute). I mean, they're cute, and awesome, and amazing, but there's precisely two reasons why I cannot just fully love them- (1) It mostly always comes with the enemies-to-lovers trope (like a buy-one-take-one deal or sum), like the characters tend to hate each other from the very beginning and that's cool but it kind of gets old, yknow? and (2) At some point of the story, th So, I actually have a hate-love relationship with fake-dating tropes (i know, i just keep getting more scandalous by the minute). I mean, they're cute, and awesome, and amazing, but there's precisely two reasons why I cannot just fully love them- (1) It mostly always comes with the enemies-to-lovers trope (like a buy-one-take-one deal or sum), like the characters tend to hate each other from the very beginning and that's cool but it kind of gets old, yknow? and (2) At some point of the story, their cover's going to be blown in the midst of all the drama and that just sucks (i was actually reading a fakedateau fanfic the other day and i literally almost threw my phone when their cover was blown for like, one chapter before the ending along with all these conflicts that suddenly popped up for no reason whatsoever). This is why I precisely like this book- Hani and Ishu weren't exactly people who hate each other or hold much hostility to account for them to full-on being out for blood. They were pretty much almost strangers, like the closest association you can ring on them is that they're merely classmates. That's literally awesome! Like, that's such a refreshing angle to frame their relationship because not only is it that common (at least from the stuff i read) but the im-prideful-af-so-i-will-convince-myself-i-hate-you-and-not-communicate-my-feelings-like-a-normal-person-for-like-10+-chapters is out the way. (view spoiler)[Also, their cover didn't get blown at all- yes, Hani's parents (which Hani actually confessed on her own will) and Ishu's sister (this one was by accident) know but the act was put out for Hani's friends and to not have that revealed to Aisling and Dee 'til the very end for them to use it against them and ensue more drama, I dig it! (hide spoiler)] I do have one TEENY TINY issue with this book- the author already warns from the very beginning that there's going to be racism in this but that wasn't really enough to brace myself for the horrors these characters went through just because they go to a predominantly white racist school. (view spoiler)[So basically wanting to fit in, Ishu lets Aisling cheat off of her biology test and Aisling then makes a report to the principal on how Ishu cheated off of her. The most annoying part of this is how the principal didn't even consider that Aisling was flunking tests left and right while Ishu was literally the top of her class and just went on to punish Ishu and basically make her more of a social outcast and damage her academic standing. What's more is that when it was proven that it was actually the other way around, Aisling actually got away with it scot-free and the school even went as far as to protect her by telling Ishu that the truth may damage Aisling's rep and that the school is a zero bullying tolerance zone so it'll be better if she shuts up about it. So, even after that- Ishu is still on the short-end of the stick. (hide spoiler)] How it all went down honestly sucked. Like, maybe the message was that that's just how cruel the world is- that it's just that unfair and I can understand that (i think, i'm trying) but that honestly frustrated the eff out of me (just because i'm trying to understand it doesn't mean i can't dislike it). Like, at some point, I freaking cried because it's just that freaking unfair (and i came here to have a good time okayyy). (view spoiler)[I mean, it wasn't even resolved at all. Like, they just all came into terms with it because there's little they can do about it and if you think about that, that's just freaking sad and it sucks like 100000000x times more. (hide spoiler)] Aside from that, there were actually a lot of issues this book covered. From the top of my head there's toxic friendships, gaslighting (this one can be a real trigger (i should know **nervous laughter**)), culture and race issues, academic pressure and upholding family expectations (this book really like hitting close to home), bisexual erasure, and identity vs role confusion. These made the book very hard to read but all things considered, I think the way it was handled wasn't all that bad and I feel like it'll drag if it was given more pages so I don't really know what to make of it but I honestly felt like it's a bit loose. Overall, if you can stick through all that- this was actually a very nice read. Ishu and Hani were so, so healthy and good together (i'm a sucker for healthy relationships okayyy (also, using healthy is so weird)) and reading their relationship develop page after page is honestly so fulfilling. I especially love the little things they do for each other and them just validating and raising one another's confidence- that's the dream, bruhh. PS. Ishu and Nik's relationship is just goals. Like, obviously not the competition part (as someone who knows, trust me, it's def not (why can't i have a sister like nik??)) but the way they stick with each other to the very end is just so sweet that it's honestly making me jealous.

  10. 5 out of 5

    mishi

    I picked this book up hoping for a fluffy f/f fake dating and while it was that, it was also much more. This was such an emotional read. It didn't start out as such but gradually it got hold of my heart and started squeezing so hard that I was sobbing by the end. The Muslim representation is amazing here. No other piece of media has ever made me feel seen as much as Adiba Jaigirdar's book have. I love the sense of community and culture in her books. I cannot describe how wonderful the characteriz I picked this book up hoping for a fluffy f/f fake dating and while it was that, it was also much more. This was such an emotional read. It didn't start out as such but gradually it got hold of my heart and started squeezing so hard that I was sobbing by the end. The Muslim representation is amazing here. No other piece of media has ever made me feel seen as much as Adiba Jaigirdar's book have. I love the sense of community and culture in her books. I cannot describe how wonderful the characterization in this book is. It amazes me how much connected I always feel to this author's characters. They always feel so realistic. They are flawed and lifelike. I am unable to articulate how seen Hani's relationship with her religion made me feel. How I cried over her friends treatment of her during the party scene. And how I connected with Ishu to the point that every offence to Ishu felt personal to me. What frustrated me to the point of tears was this. (view spoiler)[ Aisling, an underachieving student accused Ishu, the top student of cheating off of her and the teachers believed the underachiever. This whole thing made no sense to me. Plus Aisling faced zero consequences for her numerous evil actions throughout the book. (hide spoiler)] The romance was lowkey grumpy x sunshine. The slowburn was amazing and Hani and Ishu were adorable together for the most part.. But the romance kinda lost me when (view spoiler)[Hani didn't choose Ishu over her friends even though she knew they were at fault. Her homophobic, Islamophobic, racist friends treated her horribly and in return she bended over backwards for them, again and again. It was infuriating. I know she finally stood up to Aisling but it felt too little, too late to me. Maybe I am judging Hani too harshly but I waited the whole book for her to confront Aisling and Dee but when it finally happened it felt underwhelming to me. Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth deals with toxic friendship better IMO. (hide spoiler)] The sibling relationship here was my most favourite thing. Nik was the only person who was truly in Ishu's corner and supported her against Aisling's false allegations. Ishu deserved much better then her unsupportive parents, her racist school and even Hani's 'I'm so confused' attitude. All in all, while this book is by no means perfect, I would 100% recommend it. If only for the myriad of emotions it instilled in me. It took me from smiling to crying to feeling so angry I could punch a wall. And it was all thanks to the author's exceptional writing. Copy provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mrinmayi

    I read the surname "Dey" and I was like, "Ohhh..BENGALI girl!!!!" Don't ask me how I knew it Well.. I have a talent where I can tell which state the person belongs to... based on the surname(I am right most of the times *flips hair*) It's probably the only talent I have xD BUT back to the review... BOTH the MCs are Bengali!! Sooo..there will be Bengali food rt???!!!! *screams in happiness * Its been a while since I've had Bengali food *sighs* (I haven't eaten Bengali FOOD in a while.. I do eat Bengali I read the surname "Dey" and I was like, "Ohhh..BENGALI girl!!!!" Don't ask me how I knew it Well.. I have a talent where I can tell which state the person belongs to... based on the surname(I am right most of the times *flips hair*) It's probably the only talent I have xD BUT back to the review... BOTH the MCs are Bengali!! Sooo..there will be Bengali food rt???!!!! *screams in happiness * Its been a while since I've had Bengali food *sighs* (I haven't eaten Bengali FOOD in a while.. I do eat Bengali sweets quiet often tho) No one asked me..but my favorite Bengali sweet is Ras malai !! I HIGHLY recommend this sweet!! I should REALLY concentrate on writing the review *bangs head* Soo from the description I KNOW this book will have 🎆 Fake Dating 🎆 Opposites attract 🎆 Grumpy/sunshine trope 🎆 This trope: 🎆 Mrin trying to adopt both the MCs trope 🎆 Mrin crying when those two girls are having troubles trope 🎆 Mrin drooling over the food trope 🎆 Mrin going mama bear over the villain who tries to separate them trope

  12. 4 out of 5

    katie ❀

    i love this sm <3 rtc!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    my heart is full. RTC

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peyton Reads

    4.5 stars

  15. 4 out of 5

    dezzy

    4 stars. omg.....i rly finished this entire book in less than a day......love that for me :)) this book reminded me of why i love YA contemporaries so much, maybe i haven't outgrown the genre after all 👀 seriously though, once i picked up Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, i could NOT put it down. this was such a quick, sweet, and fun read and my heart feels so full with alllll the emotions <3 i loved so many characters and hated so many others, and let me just say, i love when books can evoke 4 stars. omg.....i rly finished this entire book in less than a day......love that for me :)) this book reminded me of why i love YA contemporaries so much, maybe i haven't outgrown the genre after all 👀 seriously though, once i picked up Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, i could NOT put it down. this was such a quick, sweet, and fun read and my heart feels so full with alllll the emotions <3 i loved so many characters and hated so many others, and let me just say, i love when books can evoke such strong feelings out of me :') the characters were so well-developed and i loved how three-dimensional and real they felt. Hani was such a compassionate, outgoing, and kind person, always willing to help others, while Ishu was more reserved, but very confident and self-assured, never caring what others thought of her. i saw myself in both Hani and Ishu, and i loved that, despite how different they were, Hani and Ishu were still able to help each other grow. experiencing both of their journeys of self-growth and realizing their worth - realizing that they're allowed to take up space in the world as themselves - was very empowering. Hani's character arc especially resonated with me, and i was so happy when she finally realized what she deserved (which is the WORLD 😌) by the end of the book <3 while the romance is a huge aspect of the book (Hani and Ishu are SO adorable ahh 💓), i really appreciated how Adiba Jaigirdar portrayed so many other relationships as well. Hani's amma was actually the BEST, i honestly teared up over how Hani's amma was always so so supportive of her daughter 💗 i want more supportive parents in queer books pls. and Ishu's relationship with her sister made me surprisingly emotional over how much i could resonate with it - it's honestly the first time i've ever felt like i could relate to a sibling relationship in a book. Ishu and her older sister had a very rocky relationship, but at the end of the day, they were still there for each other. just because you're sisters doesn't always mean you're close, but you show up for them when it matters. i really appreciated how the author depicted the complexity and messiness that sibling relationships can be :') lastly, i literally spent 99% of this book screaming over how Hani's friends (if i can even call them that 😤) were the absolute WORST, ugh honestly i'm still so mad at them sldkfjsdlkjf anyone who has read this book, please scream with me 😭😭 the writing was so easy to fly through - let's all thank Adiba Jaigirdar for singlehandedly pulling me out of a reading slump 😩 especially compared to the disaster that was my last read, this book really felt like the rainbow after a storm (lol i'm not salty at all about the last book i read a h a h a h a h a what are u talking about 🤭) but anyway, i really did enjoy the writing in this book, it was very understandable and easy to digest :) this book is set in Dublin, Ireland, with Bengali main characters, and i loved learning more about Bengali culture and life in Ireland! i spent a lot of time googling specific terms pertaining to Ireland which was fun haha overall, i had so much fun reading this book (as you can tell by the fact i finished it in less than a day haha). the only reason it's not a 5-star read is because i feel like everything got wrapped up a lil too quickly in the end, and i wish we got to see more scenes of Hani and Ishu's relationship developing :') (they're truly the cutest ok <3) i definitely highly recommend this book if you're looking for a lighthearted, adorable YA contemporary sapphic romance, with beautifully developed characters + relationships and queer Bengali & Muslim rep :) this book was a literal serotonin boost - truly the best way to start off pride month 🥺

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mads

    i wanted to give this book 5 stars but the scene where they first kiss made me so deeply uncomfortable that i just can’t do that. effectively ishu just kisses hani, without even asking if it’s okay, when hani is literally crying. i’m so tired of the “kiss without consent” trope because it triggers some very bad memories for me, so if you’re going to read this book just be aware of that please. also just for the record; if aisling or dee were real, then i would 100% fight them (and i think we ALL i wanted to give this book 5 stars but the scene where they first kiss made me so deeply uncomfortable that i just can’t do that. effectively ishu just kisses hani, without even asking if it’s okay, when hani is literally crying. i’m so tired of the “kiss without consent” trope because it triggers some very bad memories for me, so if you’re going to read this book just be aware of that please. also just for the record; if aisling or dee were real, then i would 100% fight them (and i think we ALL know they wouldn’t be able to fight).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maëlys

    i absolutely fell in love with Adiba Jaigirdar's debut The Henna Wars and this was such a cute read<3 rtc! Youtube ☆ Twitter i absolutely fell in love with Adiba Jaigirdar's debut The Henna Wars and this was such a cute read<3 rtc! Youtube ☆ Twitter

  18. 4 out of 5

    aashna

    babe wake up new comfort read just dropped! i finished this book in less than two hours and i loved every second of it. i've never really been that into fake dating as a trope but i loved how this book was written. i saw myself in hani as she tried to mold herself to meet her friends' expectations even if they were outright disgusting to her and smiled through it all; i saw myself in ishu as she tried desperately to live up to her parents' expectations at the cost of her social life; and i saw m babe wake up new comfort read just dropped! i finished this book in less than two hours and i loved every second of it. i've never really been that into fake dating as a trope but i loved how this book was written. i saw myself in hani as she tried to mold herself to meet her friends' expectations even if they were outright disgusting to her and smiled through it all; i saw myself in ishu as she tried desperately to live up to her parents' expectations at the cost of her social life; and i saw myself in nikhita as she tried to be the best elder sister she could be despite her and her sister's circumstances. the descriptions of desi culture made me feel warm and at home and, like adiba's debut, the henna wars, gave me a window into bengali culture and customs. as i mentioned before, i really connected to both hani and ishu and their relationships with those around them. the romance was built up really expertly and it was really cute to see the relationship bloom from both hani and ishu's perspectives. all the characters were fleshed out and their arcs beautifully crafted and written. (view spoiler)[getting to see two south asian girls, one of them muslim, stay true to their cultural, religious, and personal values was something i really loved about this novel. hani and ishu truly made each other better by helping the other break out of their comfort zones while also teaching them to love the little things about themselves. (hide spoiler)] i felt so seen throughout this book and it was really the desi sapphic romcom i needed right now!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    May 13, 2021: I had almost given up on the possibility of reading this early but guess who has an e-arc now! Watch me read this cuteness over the weekend. October 21, 2020: OH MY GOD THE COVER! The almost-touching-hands theme is common with The Henna Wars cover and I'm crying this is so cute. August 12, 2020: After giving away my heart to The Henna Wars, I'm RIGHT HERE FOR ANYTHING ADIBA JAIGIRDAR WRITES but also, queer South-Asians fake dating would be so perfect especially after the author has May 13, 2021: I had almost given up on the possibility of reading this early but guess who has an e-arc now! Watch me read this cuteness over the weekend. October 21, 2020: OH MY GOD THE COVER! The almost-touching-hands theme is common with The Henna Wars cover and I'm crying this is so cute. August 12, 2020: After giving away my heart to The Henna Wars, I'm RIGHT HERE FOR ANYTHING ADIBA JAIGIRDAR WRITES but also, queer South-Asians fake dating would be so perfect especially after the author has promised 'romantic scenes in the rain' I MEANNN OMG!

  20. 5 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

    Fake dating=Happy Pelumi Slow burn romance= Happy frustrated Pelumi Queer CHARCTERS= Extremely happy Pelumi In summary, there's no happiness till i read this book!!! EDIT: Welcome y'all. This is the point where I have a full on mental breakdown because my request for an arc of this got declined so join me. Let's cry together!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭😭🤧😭🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭🤧😭😭🤧😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭🤧🤧😪😪😪😪😪 I did get to read an extract and that's just cruel because now I Fake dating=Happy Pelumi Slow burn romance= Happy frustrated Pelumi Queer CHARCTERS= Extremely happy Pelumi In summary, there's no happiness till i read this book!!! EDIT: Welcome y'all. This is the point where I have a full on mental breakdown because my request for an arc of this got declined so join me. Let's cry together!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭😭🤧😭🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭🤧😭😭🤧😭😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧😭😭😭🤧🤧😪😪😪😪😪 I did get to read an extract and that's just cruel because now I want it even more!!!🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

  21. 4 out of 5

    human

    hi, i'm screaming. nice to meet you, you gorgeous looking book. hi, i'm screaming. nice to meet you, you gorgeous looking book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    literarylesbian

    (4.5 stars, rounded down) In the end I really enjoyed this book, and I'm a really big fan of Adiba's writing style. My only 'qualms' (if you could even call them that) was that the story seemed to drag on a bit in the middle. I think this is a common concern in a lot of slow burn books, so I wasn't exactly surprised by this. After I hit the 50% marker, I literally couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed how this book made me care so much about pieces of paper. I literally had to pace around (4.5 stars, rounded down) In the end I really enjoyed this book, and I'm a really big fan of Adiba's writing style. My only 'qualms' (if you could even call them that) was that the story seemed to drag on a bit in the middle. I think this is a common concern in a lot of slow burn books, so I wasn't exactly surprised by this. After I hit the 50% marker, I literally couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed how this book made me care so much about pieces of paper. I literally had to pace around my room at some moments so I could refrain from taking out my anger on my innocent book. I was also really glad with how Hani's relationship with her friends was resolved (ambiguity here for the sake of maintaining a spoiler free review). I would've been so pissed at the book if things had gone differently, and there were some moments where I was a little worried, but all is well. I really enjoy when any book features aspects of the author's own culture and identity, because it allows me to be able to listen and learn in a way that doesn't force marginalized people to serve as a teacher for me. I loved learning about little pieces of Bengali culture along the way as I was reading and thought it was really interesting as well! I 100% recommend this book to any lover of contemporary romance. And it hits on all the best tropes; fake dating and there was only one bed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    OH my god

  24. 4 out of 5

    Holly | The Caffeinated Reader

    Thank you to TeamBKMRK for sending me an early copy for review! I absolutely loved The Henna Wars, so when I found out the author's next book would not only centre around fake dating (a classic trope that never gets old) but also feature a bisexual main character, I was beyond excited! And let me just say, this book lives up to the hype. Sidenote: Whilst I can't speak on the South Asian representation, I do have South Asian friends who have read advanced copies and only had positive things to sa Thank you to TeamBKMRK for sending me an early copy for review! I absolutely loved The Henna Wars, so when I found out the author's next book would not only centre around fake dating (a classic trope that never gets old) but also feature a bisexual main character, I was beyond excited! And let me just say, this book lives up to the hype. Sidenote: Whilst I can't speak on the South Asian representation, I do have South Asian friends who have read advanced copies and only had positive things to say about this book! I don't know about anyone else, but I find it so extremely difficult to find books with bisexual rep, and even more difficult to find books with good bisexual rep. So much so, that the first time I felt seen and validated by a book was a few months ago when I read Perfect on Paper . Yep, that's right. The first time I saw my bisexuality portrayed on page in a way that felt accurate and validating, was at the age of 24 (boy does that make me feel old). And sure, while that is a pretty depressing thought, it has a positive flipside, because whilst I didn't get the representation I needed, teenagers and young people today are. This sentiment is exactly how I feel about Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating . I thought the bisexual rep was so well handled, and there were a couple of times where it felt like the author had pulled thoughts directly from my own mind. 'Sometimes I think that maybe I like guys more as a concept than a reality. And girls more as a reality than a concept. I cannot put into words how much I adore this line and how it shows that preference exists on a spectrum not a binary. Not only did I love how Hani's bisexuality is represented, but I also appreciated how biphobia was handled, particularly with Hani's friends. It shows that biphobia and prejudice don't just come from outside forces, but also from the people who are meant to know and love us most, and oftentimes, in ways they won't even realise are harmful. This also expands to cover the book's exploration of microaggressions. I thought the book did such an excellent job of examining how phrases that may not appear harmful outright, have connotations and implications behind them, regardless of intent. And once again, it shows that these don't just come from overt racists who intentionally want to spread hatred, but are often weaponised by friends due to a lack of understanding - or lack of want to understand- about cultures that differ from their own. As for the characters and the plot, I loved both. I really enjoyed both main characters and absolutely adored how the fake dating trope played out. The relationship never seemed forced, which is an impressive feat considering the two are complete polar opposites, and whilst the book does revolve around the fake dating scheme, their personalities were fully fleshed out through their individual struggles outside of the plot. I truly cannot recommend this book enough and it's definitley one that should be on everyone's '2021 must reads' !

  25. 4 out of 5

    Unknown Reviews

    The Henna Wars was a warm, pleasant debut last year and I'm intrigued to see what this has in store. Or maybe I'm just tempted because it has two girls on the cover? :) The Henna Wars was a warm, pleasant debut last year and I'm intrigued to see what this has in store. Or maybe I'm just tempted because it has two girls on the cover? :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittany (whatbritreads)

    *Big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this eArc!* AHHHHH THIS WAS SO CUTE. I literally loved every second of this book, it was a pleasure to read. If you want a fast paced, fake dating little contemporary read to keep you company – this is the one. It was so well written and honest – it made me laugh while also having engaging and important conversations about culture, religion, sexuality and relationships (both familial and friendships). Our two main characters were so loveable and yo *Big thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this eArc!* AHHHHH THIS WAS SO CUTE. I literally loved every second of this book, it was a pleasure to read. If you want a fast paced, fake dating little contemporary read to keep you company – this is the one. It was so well written and honest – it made me laugh while also having engaging and important conversations about culture, religion, sexuality and relationships (both familial and friendships). Our two main characters were so loveable and you can’t help but root for them individually and as a couple. At some points they were a complete disaster but I loved them so it’s fine. I read this so quickly, it was un-put-downable. It did a great job of portraying characters as not just being their cultural/religious/sexuality stereotypes but as their own person. I feel like this book is going to help so many young readers. It’s the kind of romance I wish I had been exposed to growing up – Hani and Ishu were just so lovely. I can’t even articulate how happy this one made me, and how well it dealt with several key topics throughout. A book I’ll recommend forever and ever. My only criticism and main reason it wasn’t a full five star is that some of the descriptions were repetitive and I would’ve liked a slower build up at the start of the book. A tiny annoyance but I couldn’t read the words ‘coconut shampoo’ any more I am sorry. Also shoutout to the fact that this book had content warnings at the start. I love seeing that!

  27. 4 out of 5

    ale ♡

    i've read many great reviews of this book!! i've read many great reviews of this book!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[racism, coming out, bimisia, lesbomisia, islamomisia, alcohol consumption discussed, disownment, toxic friendships (theme)< bullying, and false allegations of cheating in a school test (hide spoiler)] . ▷ Representation: Hani (mc) Bangledeshi Bengali-Irish, Muslim & bisexual; Ishu (mc) Indian Bengali-Irish & sapphic. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[racism, coming out, bimisia, lesbomisia, islamomisia, alcohol consumption discussed, disownment, toxic friendships (theme)< bullying, and false allegations of cheating in a school test (hide spoiler)] . ▷ Representation: Hani (mc) Bangledeshi Bengali-Irish, Muslim & bisexual; Ishu (mc) Indian Bengali-Irish & sapphic. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  29. 4 out of 5

    cossette

    the cutest thing !!!!!!! trigger warnings: racism, homophobia (specifically biphobia and lesbophobia), Islamophobia, toxic friendship, gaslighting, and parental abandonment

  30. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Balancing the softness of falling in love and a serious exploration of racism and toxic friendships, Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating is a delightful young-adult romance with great emotional depth. - Follows sunshine/grumpy pair Hani, the sunshine and popular girl who blurts out that she's dating a girl when her friends invalidate her bisexuality, and Ishu, the grumpy and studious girl who Hani ropes in - and accepts because she wants to be head girl. - I liked how the fake-dating in this, and Balancing the softness of falling in love and a serious exploration of racism and toxic friendships, Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating is a delightful young-adult romance with great emotional depth. - Follows sunshine/grumpy pair Hani, the sunshine and popular girl who blurts out that she's dating a girl when her friends invalidate her bisexuality, and Ishu, the grumpy and studious girl who Hani ropes in - and accepts because she wants to be head girl. - I liked how the fake-dating in this, and I enjoyed the emotional beats where Hani and Ishu not only start to fall for each other, but the other girl brings out the better parts of the other. - I loved how the story explores family - that there's nuance to family dynamics, especially desi families. Ishu's parents are strict and have expectations of their daughters, whereas Hani's parents are accepting of her bisexuality. - The story does explore racism that brown girls face, and how white girls are often framed as victims, even when they are perpetrators. It also explores toxic friendships. Content warning: racism (challenged), anti-bisexual rhetoric (challenged)

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