You can’t tell me fake dating + Adiba Jaigirdar and not expect me to fall heads over heels in love. You just can’t. Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a pure delight. I read it in almost one sitting! All the love, squeals, heart warming scenes and more. Keep reading this book review to hear my full thoughts!
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: racism, homophobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, Islamophobia, toxic friendship, gaslighting, parental abandonment
Give me anything fake dating. It’s seriously one of my favorite tropes. So when I first heard about Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating I was hooked. I loved Jaigirdar’s first book, The Henna Wars, and was just over the moon, no over the galaxy excited for the next. Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a story about calling out our friends, about even realizing that some behavior isn’t acceptable. It’s hard to realize that people we’ve known forever, that we hear their voices in our head, but are actually hurting us. To put a name to that gut feeling in our stomach, to that moment of hurt. This element of friendship, and toxic friendships, is one of my favorite elements of Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating!
Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a win on so many levels. It discusses feeling like our identity marks us as being ‘too much’, the struggles of our immigrant parents, and the ways we can feel like we aren’t enough. Emotional from start to finish, there’s not only romance, discussions about friendships, but also conversations about family and expectations. I instantly loved Ishu, the ways she feels guarded and a bit prickly, but felt so relatable. But I also fell in love with Hani, the ways she feels “too” much and the ways she is able to give a voice to that feeling of their lives, and cultures, which don’t register to others. The ways they’re almost seen as “buts” and “allowances”.
To be honest, I was expecting to love Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating, but I had no idea how much it would carve a place in my heart. All these soft, hidden spots that Jaigirdar would be able to capture. Don’t even get me started on how emotional, close to tears, I was about Ishu and her relationship with her sister. It’s a book that will deliver fake dating, figuring out if our friends are worth it, and what we will do to fit in. What will we end up sacrificing for what we want? What about for what we think we want??
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