Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba JaigirdarHani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar is a wonderful queer young adult love story that gave me all the feels.

Humaira “Hani” Khan is the epitome of the “girl-next-door” and everyone likes her. She’s amicable and helpful and she is a very popular girl at school. But everything begins to fall apart when Hani comes out to her closest friends as bisexual—they don’t believe her and they think she is confused because she has never dated a girl before. Hani wants to show her friends that she knows what she wants and she says that she is in a relationship with Ishita “Ishu” Dey—a girl her friends hate with a passion.

Ishu’s grumpy and plain-talking personality is the complete opposite of Hani’s cheerful and people-pleasing one. Ishu spends most of her time on studying for exams and she believes that becoming head girl will help her to get into a prestigious college. But Ishita will go along with Hani’s fake dating scheme if Hani will help her become more popular so that she will become the best candidate for head girl.

Despite their well-made plans, they begin to fall in love with each other before they even realize what is happening.

Will Hani and Ishu achieve the happily ever after they’ve always wanted or will Hani’s friends drive a permanent wedge between them?

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Adiba Jaigirdar has created a fabulous fake dating love story that has lovely Muslim and South Asian representation. I’m a die-hard foodie and I am not ashamed to admit that I got really hungry while I was reading this story because the author teased me with a lot of delicious descriptions of Bengali food. Hani and Ishu were so easy to love and I could totally relate to some of their struggles because as a person of color, I know exactly how it feels to be the odd girl out and fitting in with the crowd was something I was never able to do no matter how hard I tried.

This story has definitely earned its place among my favorite books and I truly enjoyed going through the ups and downs with Hani and Ishu as they tried their best to deal with their unexpected feelings for each other. I also fell in love with this beautiful story because it was told through Hani and Ishu’s points of view and their unique personalities came through loud and clear and I could easily understand what made them tick.

Cons And Heads Up

There were a couple of scenes that had vivid descriptions of toxic friendships, Islamophobia, biphobia, homophobia and racism.

The Conclusion

aprils favourite booksThis heart-tugging coming of age story will hit all the right notes with many readers because Adiba Jaigirdar has skillfully blended family life, cultural differences, friendship and social issues with a complicated fake dating plot. I devoured this book in one night because it was just so good and I couldn’t get enough of this author’s highly entertaining writing style. If you enjoy emotional and unforgettable young adult stories that have flawed and endearing queer South Asian teens, then this is the perfect story for you!

Excerpt from Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

“Did you tell your friends the truth?”

“Not yet.” I sigh. “Sorry…I mean. I was just going to.” That probably doesn’t make me sound any better, considering I leapt out of my seat as soon as Ishita appeared.

“Don’t.” Ishita’s voice is stern. “I mean, look. I was thinking, and maybe we should give your plan a try.” She shrugs, her voice sounding so casual that it makes me suspicious.

“And what made you change your mind?”

“I just had a change of heart. I want to help you out.” She looks at me like she’s doing me a huge favour.

If it was anyone else, I would believe that they were doing it out of the goodness of their heart. But Ishita?

“Right.” I scoff. “Cough up the real reason. Come on. What’s in it for you?”

She finally drops her arms to her sides and says, “I need to be Head Girl.”

It’s so unexpected that I can only blink at her for a full minute. “What?”

“Head Girl. I want to be Head Girl.”

“Since when? You’ve never cared about that stuff.”

“Yeah, well. I care now. And…people…like you.” She frowns at me, like she doesn’t quite understand why they do but she’s willing to entertain it. “You’re like, friends with everyone. So if we pretended to date and you put in a good word for me…?”

“And you would play along with my friends?”

“Yes.” Ishita nods. “Totally. Like, whatever you—well.” She stops herself before she can finish her sentence. “Not whatever you want. Within reason, obviously.”

“You know you’re going to have to pretend to like me, right?” I ask. “And…if you want to be Head Girl, you’ll also have to pretend that you like other people.”

Ishita scrunches up her face as if she’s in pain. “Yeah,” she grunts. “I know.”

I want to ask her more, but I doubt Ishita will answer. She looks like she barely wants to be having this conversation with me now.

“Should I…come over after school? We can figure out all the logistics, and—”

“No.” Ishita cuts me off. “I mean…maybe I should come over to yours? You said you’re out to your parents, right?”

“You know we’re just going to talk, right? Figure this out? Not—”

“Just give me your address.” Ishita is already taking her phone out of the pocket of her shirt. She looks up at me expectantly.

I sigh, wondering for a moment if this is worth it. Ishita Dey is not exactly a ball of sunshine. We’re so far from friends that I’m not sure how we’d go about doing this thing together.

I rattle off my address anyway.

This may be the only way to convince everyone that I know who I am, and what I want.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9781444962253

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Adiba Jaigirdar Online

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