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HANI AND ISHU'S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING by Adiba Jaigirdar Kirkus Star


by Adiba Jaigirdar

Pub Date: May 25th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64567-257-9
Publisher: Page Street

Pretending to like one another turns into something more in this charming take on love, family, and personal integrity set in Dublin.

The only two brown girls in their year, Hani and Ishu, while both Bengali, are hardly friendly—and worlds apart. Hani is Bangladeshi Irish and in with the popular crowd, her Muslim faith brings comfort, and she is out to her family as bisexual. Ishu is Indian Irish and a studious, prickly misanthrope; an atheist from a Hindu family, she’s queer and closeted. Being friendless and living in the shadow of her perfect older sister, Nik, are difficult for Ishu. Hani’s two White best friends, Aisling and Dee, make her feel like she must hide her true self or be rejected. When Nik announces, to their parents’ horror, that she’s leaving medical school and getting married, Ishu seizes the chance to score points by running for Head Girl. Meanwhile, Hani comes out to her friends, who disdainfully dismiss her bisexuality as theoretical. Distressed, Hani blurts out that she is dating Ishu—who agrees to go along with the ruse if Hani helps her become popular enough to win the Head Girl vote. Deception, reflection, revelation, and hard-won growth ensue. Jaigirdar’s layered exploration of the many identities and relationships that make up our messy, complex, lovable selves is handled with a deft touch against the background of a delightfully romantic storyline enhanced by perfect pacing and well-rounded characterization.

An intelligent, insightful, and utterly swoon-y coming-of-age story.

(Romance. 12-18)