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#Faking Reality by Sara Fujimura #YA #Contemporary #Romance @Tor Teen

Happy Publication Day to Faking Reality by Sara Fujimura!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Some Kind of Wonderful meets Kara McDowell’s Just for Clicks with diverse characters, perfect for readers looking for feel-good YA romance and those who like “clean teen” reads

Dakota McDonald swore after “The Great Homecoming Disaster” that she’d never allow her romantic life to be a plot line in her parents’ HGTV show again. But when the restaurant run by the family of her best friend (and secret crush), Leo, is on the line, Dakota might end up eating her own words.

Leo Matsuda dreams of escaping his small town Arizona life and the suffocating demands of working in his family’s restaurant, but the closer he gets to his goal—thanks to the help of his best friend (and secret crush) Dakota—the more reasons there are for him to stay.

My thoughts:

Faking Reality is a clean YA romance with sweet protagonists, lots of delicious Japanese food and Asian representation.

Dakota McDonald has been a star of a reality TV show (something to do with DIY?) ever since her parents found out they were expecting a child. She seems oddly at ease with this lifestyle- perhaps, anyone would, if they happened to grow up on a set. She might not be sure who she really is or what she wants -let’s face it, it goes with the territory when you’re a teenager- but she has time to figure it out and very soon she’ll be free to do it, as the season the TV company is filming now is the final one. One thing she is certain about is that she wants her best friend Leo Matsuda to finally notice her. Friends-to-something more? (remember it’s a clean romance) is one of my favourite tropes. How do you get yourself out of the Friend Zone when the person who is absolutely perfect for you in all respects doesn’t want to risk your special relationship and understanding?

Leo’s family own a Japanese restaurant (he is half Japanese, Dakota is quater Japanese)and allhis life revolves around it. How are you supposed to have social life, fall in love, date, make mistakes that will let you figure out what matters in life, if all you get is just an occasional half an hour with your parents’ friends’ daughter who happens to become your best friend. That is until her secret crush stops being secret, and suddenly things are a bit weird, and you get a chance to work your feelings out.

This isn’t a double POV book, the story is told from Dakota’s perspective. Usually, I’m all for it – in real life we don’t have the advantage of knowing what other people think or how they feel about the events. This time I couldn’t help wondering if seeing Leo’s side of the story could have made it more interesting.

In case you’re wondering why the blurb referenced My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it does have the same kind of attitude- despite the dilemmas and limitations imposed on them, the protagonists know their families have their best interests at heart and they can always count on their support.

Pick this book if you like food in general and Japanese food in particular, if you like clean romance and don’t mind slightly slower pace, if you are into Japanese culture or like learning about different cultures, and if you think your family is important in defining what and who you are, although, ultimately, it is up to you to choose your own way in life.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Tor Teen for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

About Sara Fujimura

SARA FUJIMURA is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is the American half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raising bicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, and Mothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. She is the author of the National Public Radio Best of the Year young adult novel Every Reason We Shouldn’t, in addition to self-published young adult novels Tanabata Wish and Breathe. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.

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