Review: Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen
Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together.
After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve have had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time—and then they’ll be free.
The only problem is, maybe Jake and Mia don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…
This was yet another excellent young-adult book with the fake relationship trope. Complete with the short-term pining, oblivious characters, and scheming overly-enthusiastic third-parties, this was an absolute delight to read. Needless to say, fake-dating or the fake relationship trope is superior in my books, so it’s pretty hard to mess it up. I’m biased like that and I advise you proceed with that in mind.
The relationship between the male and female lead was very cute. They had been shoved together right from childhood by their mothers—whom may probably go down as the most meddlesome parental figures in fiction ever. From birthday parties, to customary Sunday dinners, they were constants in each other’s lives. Their mothers held out hope that their affection for each other would be evident if they were in close proximity for a long time.
Mia, the female protagonist, reached her boiling point when her mother, once again, botched an attempt to flirt with a waiter by insinuating that she and Jake, the male protagonist, were in a relationship. Tired of their mothers’ antics, they hatched the plan to date and then break-up, forever cementing their incompatibility in their parents’ eyes.
Of course, they fell in love quick and privately wrestled with their new-found feelings. I can’t imagine how chaotic it would be to wake up one morning to discover that the hate you’ve supposedly festered for years isn’t actually hate at all. Epic.
I liked how interconnected their lives were. This isn’t me supporting or romanticizing codependency—far from that, as a matter of fact. They cultivated so many endearing habits over the years, and complemented each other in all the ways that mattered. The inside jokes, eating habits, and other tidbits of knowledge about the other person made this so romantic to read.
I particularly enjoyed how easy their relationship became when they finally gave in to their feelings. The transition was super easy because of their background, and, although it’s quite easy to look on the surface and dismiss their relationship because of how different they seemed, on closer inspection, it’s evident why they fell in love with each other.
That said, I really enjoyed this book. It has Asian rep, and although the book doesn’t delve too much into their racial identities and their place in community as a result of their race, it’s evident how much they try to incorporate their heritage into their daily lives.
It almost seems like I’m rambling, but I didn’t think I would enjoy this book as much as I did. The writing was fluid and soft, with the sentences flowing into each other. This made for a very smooth reading experience.
Although I would have appreciated a bit more depth to the characters, I’m aware of character limits and feel this was properly executed.
1. You like books with Asian rep.
2. You want to diversify your reading list.
3. You enjoy the Young-Adult romance trope.
4. You like the fake-dating trope.
5. You enjoy the antics of meddling matchmakers.