Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating (ARC Review) // A beautiful tale of identity, belonging, and acceptance

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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First off we have to talk about exactly how damn cute this book is. It’s got a lovely flow and there are so many heartwarming scenes. My one reservation was that I felt the relationship between Hani and Ishu sped along a little quickly, and more time could’ve been taken to develop the early stages.

The characters were well-written and contrasting, which made it all the more satisfying when Adiba Jaigirdar explored the relationships they had with each other, especially how there can still be high points amongst the complicated mess that family can be. I absolutely adored the dynamic between Ishu and her older sister Nik; so many of the themes explored in the book played out in their interactions, and I think the most successful aspect of this book is the deeper meaning of everyday scenarios, all the subtext that lay behind Hani and Ishu’s school lives.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a story about identity, belonging, and acceptance, finding your place in a world that isn’t always happy to receive your true self. As an Asian who grew up in a predominantly white country, there’s a lot I could relate to in Hani’s friendship woes, and similarly the pressure Ishu places on herself is commonplace amongst immigrant communities. The intersection of these two stories is a powerful thing indeed; bring me more.

~I received an e-ARC from NetGalley and willingly reviewed it~

Recommend me some books that tackle the difficulty of being a minority living in a predominantly white area? Who are your favourite characters that fight their feelings for each other?

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4 thoughts on “Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating (ARC Review) // A beautiful tale of identity, belonging, and acceptance

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