Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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.
I read Adiba Jaigirdar’s previous book The Henna Wars last year and adored it. So, when I found out she had another book on the way I was excited. My excitement grew when I found out it had a fake dating trope which is one of if not my favourite trope. Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a joyous book with adventures, fake dating and lots of love. I absolutely adored it.
Hani and Ishu get lumped together as the same at school and throughout their life due to their race but in reality they couldn’t be more different with their personalities and cultural differences. Ishu is organised, methodical, grumpy and her sarcasm is off the charts. Hani is a literal ray of sunshine, adorable and all-round wonderful. Both of our main characters have unique and distinctive voices and personalities which is wonderful in a dual-narrative book. Even if you flipped to a random chapter and hadn’t seen the chapter heading you would easily know which character is narrating.
I adored the narrative of this book. We get to watch two completely different characters fall for one another and learn to love who they are at the same time. Hani and Ishu learn to not hide who they truly are from anyone and become more comfortable in themselves and it was truly beautiful to read.
This book has an adorable romance storyline whilst also delving into complex issues. These included biphobia, culture and familial expectations. Adiba Jaigirdar has written a note at the beginning of the book whilst lists all trigger warnings for the book which I highly appreciated. The author has done an incredible job of balancing discussion of complex issues aside a light-hearted romance storyline. Adiba Jaigirdar has done an amazing job of making this book and its cultural representation accessible to all and her writing is never condescending. I cannot review this book without mentioning the fact that it has bisexual representation which is few and far between in YA books I have found.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating combines the need for light-hearted romance with an important look at friends, family and social issues. This book really packs a punch and is well worth a read.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something sweet that tackles complex issues at the same time. Adiba Jaigirdar is an astonishing author that writes beautiful and captivating stories. I cannot recommend this and her previous novel enough!